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11.2.4. Channel Bonding Interfaces

Red Hat Enterprise Linux allows administrators to bind multiple network interfaces together into a single channel using the bonding kernel module and a special network interface called a channel bonding interface. Channel bonding enables two or more network interfaces to act as one, simultaneously increasing the bandwidth and providing redundancy.


The use of direct cable connections without network switches is not supported for bonding. The failover mechanisms described here will not work as expected without the presence of network switches. See the Red Hat Knowledgebase article Why is bonding in not supported with direct connection using crossover cables? for more information.


The active-backup, balance-tlb and balance-alb modes do not require any specific configuration of the switch. Other bonding modes require configuring the switch to aggregate the links. For example, a Cisco switch requires EtherChannel for Modes 0, 2, and 3, but for Mode 4 LACP and EtherChannel are required. See the documentation supplied with your switch and the bonding.txt file in the kernel-doc package (see Section 31.9, “Additional Resources”). Check if Bonding Kernel Module is Installed

In Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6, the bonding module is not loaded by default. You can load the module by issuing the following command as root:
~]# modprobe --first-time bonding
No visual output indicates the module was not running and has now been loaded. This activation will not persist across system restarts. See Section 31.7, “Persistent Module Loading” for an explanation of persistent module loading. Note that given a correct configuration file using the BONDING_OPTS directive, the bonding module will be loaded as required and therefore does not need to be loaded separately.
To display information about the module, issue the following command:
~]$ modinfo bonding
See the modprobe(8) man page for more command options and see Chapter 31, Working with Kernel Modules for information on loading and unloading modules.