I'd like to setup three virtual network interfaces (veth) which can communicate with each other. To simulate a three node cluster, each program then binds to one veth interface. I'd like to do it without LXC if possible.

I tried using:

  • Created three veth pairs: sudo ip link add type veth
  • Created a bridge sudo brctl addbr br0
  • Added one of each pair to the bridge:
    • sudo brctl addif br0 veth1
    • sudo brctl addif br0 veth3
    • sudo brctl addif br0 veth5
  • Configured the interfaces:
    • sudo ifconfig veth0 netmask up
    • sudo ifconfig veth2 netmask up
    • sudo ifconfig veth4 netmask up

Then I verified if is works using: ping -I veth0 but it doesn't :(

The I added IP addresses to the veth1,veth3,veth5 and br0 interfaces in the 10.0.1.x/24 range. But that doesn't help.

Any ideas? or a guide, all I find in how to use it with LXC. Or am I trying something that isn't possible?

  • Is br0 itself up? Jun 7, 2014 at 20:23
  • Yes, it is up. Configured it like the veth's
    – Reinder
    Jun 7, 2014 at 20:52

2 Answers 2


For veth to work, one end of the tunnel must be bridged with another interface. Since you want to keep this all virtual, you may bridge the vm1 end of the tunnel (vm2 is the other end of the tunnel) with a tap-type virtual interface, in a bridge called brm. Now you give IP addresses to brm and to vm2 ( and, respectively), enable IPv4 forwarding by means of

echo 1 > /proc/sys/net/ipv4/ip_forward

bring all interfaces up, and add a route instructing the kernel how to reach IP addresses That's all.

If you want to create more pairs, repeat the steps below with different subnets, for instance,, and so on. Since you enabled IPv4 forwarding and added appropriate routes to the kernel routing table, they will be able to talk to each other right away.

Also, remember that most of the commands you are using (brctl, ifconfig,...) are obsolete: the iproute2 suite has commands to do all of this, see below my use of the ip command.

This is a correct sequence of commands for the use of interfaces of type veth:

first create all required interfaces,

ip link add dev vm1 type veth peer name vm2
ip link set dev vm1 up
ip tuntap add tapm mode tap
ip link set dev tapm up
ip link add brm type bridge

Notice we did not bring up brm and vm2 because we have to assign them IP addresses, but we did bring up tapm and vm1, which is necessary to include them into the bridge brm. Now enslave the interfaces tapm and vm1 to the bridge brm,

ip link set tapm master brm
ip link set vm1 master brm

now give addresses to the bridge and to the remaining veth interface vm2,

ip addr add dev brm
ip addr add dev vm2

now bring vm2 and brm up,

ip link set brm up
ip link set vm2 up

There is no need to add the route to the subnet explicitly, it is automatically generated,, you may check with ip route show. This results in

ping -c1
PING ( 56(84) bytes of data.
64 bytes from icmp_seq=1 ttl=64 time=0.035 m

--- ping statistics ---
1 packets transmitted, 1 received, 0% packet loss, time 1998ms
rtt min/avg/max/mdev = 0.035/0.035/0.035/0.000 ms

You can also do it backwards, i.e. from vm2 back to brm:

ping -I -c1
PING ( from : 56(84) bytes of data.
64 bytes from icmp_seq=1 ttl=64 time=0.045 ms

--- ping statistics ---
1 packets transmitted, 1 received, 0% packet loss, time 1999ms
rtt min/avg/max/mdev = 0.045/0.045/0.045/0.000 ms

The most useful application of NICs of the veth kind is a network namespace, which is what is used in Linux containers (LXC). You start one called nnsm as follows

ip netns add nnsm

then we transfer vm2 to it,

ip link set vm2 netns nnsm 

we endow the new network namespace with a lo interface (absolutely necessary),

ip netns exec nnsm  ip link set dev lo up

we allow NATting in the main machine,

iptables -t nat -A POSTROUTING -o brm -j MASQUERADE
iptables -t nat -A POSTROUTING -o eth0 -j MASQUERADE

(if you are connected to the Internet via eth0, otherwise change accordingly), start a shell in the new network namespace,

ip netns exec nnsm xterm & 

and now, if you start typing in the new xterm, you will find you are in a separate virtual machine with IP address, but you can reach the Internet. The advantage of this is that the new network namespace has its own stack, which means, for instance, you can start a VPN in it while the rest of your pc is not on the VPN. This is the contraption LXCs are based on.


I made a mistake, bringing the vm2 interface brings it down and clears its address. Thus you need to add these commands, from within the xterm:

ip addr add dev vm2
ip link set dev  vm2 up
ip route add default via
echo "nameserver" >> /etc/resolv.conf
echo "nameserver" >> /etc/resolv.conf

and now you can navigate from within xterm.

The ip commands can also be done before the xterm with

ip -netns nnsm addr add dev vm2
ip -netns nnsm link set dev vm2 up
ip -netns nnsm route add default via
  • Thank you for the explanation. I only see lo in xterm, the vm2 interface is missing.
    – Reinder
    Jun 9, 2014 at 20:52
  • Thanks again. I've made a script to setup three xterm's, and the can ping to each other :)
    – Reinder
    Jun 10, 2014 at 19:11
  • Only one issue....When I send a UPD broadcast in one xterm the others receive the packet from (brm). For my script see: here (can't post it in the comment)
    – Reinder
    Jun 10, 2014 at 19:19
  • I have problem bringing up vm1 up :( # ip link add dev vm1 type veth peer name vm2 ip: RTNETLINK answers: File exists # ip link set dev vm1 up ip: SIOCGIFFLAGS: No such device
    – resultsway
    Jul 17, 2014 at 23:13
  • @ MariusMatutiae I had to try couple of times so i agree with the first command but somehow my copy paste is not proper for the second ( Iam using minicom to the device ) so in short I followed exactly as suggested . I think I dont have iproute2 package .
    – resultsway
    Jul 18, 2014 at 17:25

Here is a 5 node bridge setup that I use that works. You should be able to use ifconfig to assign addresses onto the NodeX interfaces

ip link add dev Node1s type veth peer name Node1
ip link add dev Node2s type veth peer name Node2
ip link add dev Node3s type veth peer name Node3
ip link add dev Node4s type veth peer name Node4
ip link add dev Node5s type veth peer name Node5

ip link set Node1 up
ip link set Node2 up
ip link set Node3 up
ip link set Node4 up
ip link set Node5 up

ip link set Node1s up
ip link set Node2s up
ip link set Node3s up
ip link set Node4s up
ip link set Node5s up

brctl addbr Br
ifconfig Br up

brctl addif Br Node1s
brctl addif Br Node2s
brctl addif Br Node3s
brctl addif Br Node4s
brctl addif Br Node5s

and to clean up

brctl delif Br Node1s
brctl delif Br Node2s
brctl delif Br Node3s
brctl delif Br Node4s
brctl delif Br Node5s
brctl delif Br Node1
brctl delif Br Node2
brctl delif Br Node3
brctl delif Br Node4
brctl delif Br Node5

ifconfig Br down
brctl delbr Br

ip link del dev Node1
ip link del dev Node2
ip link del dev Node3
ip link del dev Node4
ip link del dev Node5

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