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Bridging mini-Howto: Common problems Next Previous Contents

2. Common problems

  1. Question

    I get the message

    ioctl(SIOCGIFBR) failed: Package not installed
    What does this mean?

    You don't have bridging capability in your kernel. Get a 2.0 or greater kernel, and recompile with the BRIDGING option enabled.

  2. Question

    Machines on one side cannot ping the other side!


    • Did you enable bridging using ``brcfg -ena''? (brcfg should say ``bridging is ENABLED'')
    • Did you put the interfaces into promiscuous mode? (issue the ``ifconfig'' command. The ``PROMISC'' flag should be on for both interfaces.)
    • If using multiple-media interface adapters, make sure that the correct one is enabled. You may need to use the config/setup program that came with the network interface card.
  3. Question

    I cannot telnet/ftp from the bridge! Why?


    This is because there is no IP address bound to any of bridge interfaces. A bridge is to be a transparent part of a network.

  4. Question

    What do I need to set up in the way of routing?


    Nothing! All routing intelligence is handled by the bridging code in the kernel. To see the ethernet addresses as they are learned by the bridge, use the brcfg program in debug mode:

    brcfg -deb
  5. Question

    The bridge appears to work, but why doesn't ``traceroute'' show the bridge as a part of the path?


    Due to the nature of a bridge, a ``traceroute'' should NOT show the bridge as a part of the path. A bridge is to be a transparent component of the network.

  6. Question

    Is it necessary to compile IP_FORWARD into the kernel?


    No. The bridging code in the kernel takes care of the packet transport. IP_FORWARD is for a gateway which has IP addresses bound to its interfaces.

  7. Question

    Why are the physical ethernet addresses for port 1 and port 2 the same according to the ``brcfg'' program? Shouldn't they be different?


    No. Every port on a bridge intentionally is assigned the same physical ethernet address by the bridging code.

  8. Question

    Bridging does not appear to be an option when performing a make config on the kernel. How does one enable it?


    During the kernel config, answer 'Y' to the question, ``Prompt for development and/or incomplete code/drivers (CONFIG_EXPERIMENTAL) [Y/n/?]''.

  9. Question

    Too many hubs (4 or more) chained one after another (in series) cause timing problems on an ethernet. What effect does a bridge have in a subnet that is layered with hubs?


    A bridge resets the 3/4/5 hubs rule. A bridge does not deal with packets the way a hub does, and is therefore not a contributor to timing problems on a network.

  10. Question

    Can a bridge interface to both 10Mb and 100Mb ethernet segments? Will such a configuration slow down the rest of the traffic on the high speed side?


    Yes, a bridge can tie together a 10Mb segment with a 100Mb segment. As long as the network card on the fast network is 100Mb capable, TCP takes care of the rest. While it's true that the packets from a host in the 100Mb network communicating to a host in the 10Mb network are moving at only 10Mb/s, the rest of the traffic on the fast ethernet is not slowed down.

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