I've installed Debian 6.0.6 running on kernel 2.6.32-5-amd64 and after the installation I assigned a static IPv6 address to the eth0 interface.
This is how my /etc/network/interfaces file looks like:

auto lo
iface lo inet loopback

auto eth0
iface eth0 inet6 static

 address fe80::a:1
 netmask 64
 gateway fe80::1

This is what the output of "ifconfig eth0" looks like:

eth0 Link encap:Ethernet HWaddr 10:1f:74:c6:27:5f
inet6 addr: fe80::121f:74ff:fec6:275f/64 Scope:Link
inet6 addr: fe80::a:1/64 Scope:Link
RX packets:45 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0
TX packets:48 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
collisions:0 txqueuelen:1000
RX bytes:6427 (6.2 KiB) TX bytes:7969 (7.7 KiB)
Interrupt:20 Memory:d0700000-d0720000

As you can see there are 2 IPv6 addresses;
One automatically generated IPv6 address
One static assigned IPv6 address via /etc/network/interfaces

Now my question is how do I disable the automatically generated IPv6 address ?
Most sites tell me to add the following lines into file /etc/sysctl.conf:


But nothing happens after a reboot of the system. So I removed the first IPv6 address manually by running command:

ip -6 addr del fe80::121f:74ff:fec6:275f/64 dev eth0

and indeed the first IPv6 address got removed but after a reboot the address comes back.

Any clues on how to solve this problem ?

Thx in advance

1 Answer 1


You are using Link-Local addresses (those that start with fe80:) in the wrong way. Let me describe how IPv6 works:

  1. When an interface comes up the system will always automatically configure a link-local address for that interface. This link-local address is not routable and only works for communicating between systems on the same link (LAN). It is used in many places and crucial to a functioning IPv6 setup. Even when the system gets routable addresses the link-local address remains.

    From RFC 4861: "All interfaces on routers MUST have a link-local address."

  2. When a router sends out a Router Advertisement (RA) the system can use the information in the RA to auto-configure its other addresses. This is the part you can disable with autoconf.

In your configuration you configure an additional link-local address (fe80::a:1) on your interface and then try to route traffic for outside your LAN to a default gateway with address fe80::1. Using a link-local address as default gateway is fine and happens all the time, but using a link-local address as your source address for destinations beyond the local LAN will never work.

To sum it up:

  • Leave the link-local address alone. By removing it you will break your IPv6 configuration.

  • Use routable addresses for your systems. There are multiple ways of getting routable addresses:

    • Get a prefix from your ISP. You will usually get a /48 or a /56 prefix.
    • Get a tunnel from SixXS or Hurricane Electric and ask for a delegated prefix. It will be a /48.
    • Generate a ULA prefix. You won't be able to route it to the global internet but you can route it within your own organisation. Use a ULA generator to generate the ULA prefix bsed on one of the MAC addresses of one of your devices.

    Then use a `/64` prefix out of the prefix you got above for each LAN. Don't use different prefix lengths on your LANs unless you *really* know what you are doing.
  • Using fe80::1 as your default gateway is fine (if there is actually a router listening to that address on the local link of course)

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