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Linux Commands For Ethernet Network Configuration And Troubleshooting

The ifconfig and ethtool are two of the commonly used Linux commands for configuring Ethernet network card.

Although these two commands are provided by different packages, but seems to me that both are installed by default on RedHat Linux (RHEL).
Note, user accounts other than root might have to specify the full path of these two commands unless the /sbin directory is added to $PATH environment variable. In additional, non-root user accounts are restricted from performing modification and might be limited to view only certain parameters or settings.

For example, to check Linux machine IP address, you just have to execute ifconfig or /sbin/ifconfig (don’t type ipconfig, which is an equivalent command for Windows system).

Type ifconfig eth0 if you only want to view IP address and miscellaneous settings of the first network card (NIC).

To disable or enable the first NIC, type ifconfig eth0 down or ifconfig eth0 up.

For more information, execute man ifconfig for reference right on Linux command prompt.


The ethtool command is more powerful than ifconfig, i.e. if something that cannot be found in ifconfig command output, you might able to get hold of them using ethtool command.

For example, ethtool eth0 can tells the supported link mode (100baseT/Half-duplex or full-duplex, etc), auto-negotiation capability, link status, current link speed, etc.

Again, to get more information and reference of this command, just execute man ethtool at Linux command prompt.

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