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When I do ifconfig on my Mac, I get a list of the following interfaces:

lo0
gif0
stf0
en0
fw0
en1
vmnet8
vmnet1

I wonder what each interface is. Also, which of these is the IP interface ? I don't see eth0 anywhere, which I assume is the standard interface name used by linux systems.

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up vote 29 down vote accepted

I wonder what each interface is.

  • lo0 = loopback
  • gif0 = Software Network Interface
  • stf0 = 6to4 tunnel interface
  • en0 = Ethernet 0
  • fw0 = Firewire
  • en1 = Ethernet 1
  • vmnet8 = Virtual Interface
  • vmnet1 = Virtual Interface

Something like that.

Also, which of these is the IP interface ?

There hasn't been "the" IP interface since many years ago. All of them can have IPv4 and/or IPv6 configured and running. The default one to use is defined by the routing table (in particular the default or 0.0.0.0, ::/0 entry).

I don't see eth0 anywhere, which I assume is the standard interface name used by linux systems.

Mac OS X is BSD, not Linux.

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Thanks very much. – euphoria83 Apr 7 '11 at 6:12
2  
+1 Nice answer. Also, sometimes you'll see ppp0, which is also used for some VPN tunnels. – mehaase Apr 8 '11 at 0:59
    
Also, the osx VPN client creates a utun0 interface. – Dan Pritts Dec 1 '15 at 4:09

On older Apple portables, en0 is Ethernet and en1 is Airport(WiFi).

Older Mac Pro's, with Ethernet jack, will have en3 as well as they have two Ethernet NICs and Airport(WiFi).

In newer MacBooks without an Ethernet jack, en0 is Airport(WiFi).

vmnet# is usually created by VMs(Parallels/VMWare)

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protected by JakeGould Oct 16 '15 at 6:14

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