Network Basics – The ip Command

Network Basics – The ip Command

Article from Issue 221/2019
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Network commands like ifconfig and route are still popular with users even though they are far past their prime. Their successor, ip, provides the capabilities of several legacy tools with a single, unified syntax.

Humans are creatures of habit: We like to perform sequences of tasks in a familiar order with familiar tools. Given the human desire to stick with what is known, it is little wonder that outdated commands continue in common usage. For instance, many users still rely on the ifconfig, route, and arp network utilities from the net-tools package, even through a capable successor existing in the form of the ip command, which is part of the iproute2 package [1]. The ip command was introduced in 1999, along with the .NET4.0 framework, which included support for the IPv6 network protocol in Kernel 2.2.

Current distributions like Ubuntu 18.04 no longer install net-tools [2] by default. If necessary, you could set up the familiar net-tools collection with sudo apt install net-tools on a Debian-based system. But before you do, consider whether this might be the perfect time to get some experience with ip instead. The old tools use the same libraries that ip uses, but they will not see any new features. The future belongs to ip.

Getting an Overview

The ip command has the following syntax:


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