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Chapter 11. Configuring a network bridge

A network bridge is a link-layer device which forwards traffic between networks based on a table of MAC addresses. The bridge builds the MAC addresses table by listening to network traffic and thereby learning what hosts are connected to each network. For example, you can use a software bridge on a Red Hat Enterprise Linux host to emulate a hardware bridge or in virtualization environments, to integrate virtual machines (VM) to the same network as the host.

A bridge requires a network device in each network the bridge should connect. When you configure a bridge, the bridge is called controller and the devices it uses ports.

You can create bridges on different types of devices, such as:

  • Physical and virtual Ethernet devices
  • Network bonds
  • Network teams
  • VLAN devices

Due to the IEEE 802.11 standard which specifies the use of 3-address frames in Wi-Fi for the efficient use of airtime, you cannot configure a bridge over Wi-Fi networks operating in Ad-Hoc or Infrastructure modes.

11.1. Configuring a network bridge using nmcli commands

This section explains how to configure a network bridge using the nmcli utility.

Prerequisites

Procedure

  1. Create a bridge interface:

    # nmcli connection add type bridge con-name bridge0 ifname bridge0

    This command creates a bridge named bridge0, enter:

  2. Display the network interfaces, and note the names of the interfaces you want to add to the bridge:

    # nmcli device status
    DEVICE  TYPE      STATE         CONNECTION
    enp7s0  ethernet  disconnected  --
    enp8s0  ethernet  disconnected  --
    bond0   bond      connected     bond0
    bond1   bond      connected     bond1
    ...

    In this example:

    • enp7s0 and enp8s0 are not configured. To use these devices as ports, add connection profiles in the next step.
    • bond0 and bond1 have existing connection profiles. To use these devices as ports, modify their profiles in the next step.
  3. Assign the interfaces to the bridge.

    1. If the interfaces you want to assign to the bridge are not configured, create new connection profiles for them:

      # nmcli connection add type ethernet slave-type bridge con-name bridge0-port1 ifname enp7s0 master bridge0
      # nmcli connection add type ethernet slave-type bridge con-name bridge0-port2 ifname enp8s0 master bridge0

      These commands create profiles for enp7s0 and enp8s0, and add them to the bridge0 connection.

    2. If you want to assign an existing connection profile to the bridge, set the master parameter of these connections to bridge0:

      # nmcli connection modify bond0 master bridge0
      # nmcli connection modify bond1 master bridge0

      These commands assign the existing connection profiles named bond0 and bond1 to the bridge0 connection.

  4. Configure the IP settings of the bridge. Skip this step if you want to use this bridge as a ports of other devices.

    1. Configure the IPv4 settings. For example, to set a static IPv4 address, network mask, default gateway, DNS server, and DNS search domain of the bridge0 connection, enter:

      # nmcli connection modify bridge0 ipv4.addresses '192.0.2.1/24'
      # nmcli connection modify bridge0 ipv4.gateway '192.0.2.254'
      # nmcli connection modify bridge0 ipv4.dns '192.0.2.253'
      # nmcli connection modify bridge0 ipv4.dns-search 'example.com'
      # nmcli connection modify bridge0 ipv4.method manual
    2. Configure the IPv6 settings. For example, to set a static IPv6 address, network mask, default gateway, DNS server, and DNS search domain of the bridge0 connection, enter:

      # nmcli connection modify bridge0 ipv6.addresses '2001:db8:1::1/64'
      # nmcli connection modify bridge0 ipv6.gateway '2001:db8:1::fffe'
      # nmcli connection modify bridge0 ipv6.dns '2001:db8:1::fffd'
      # nmcli connection modify bridge0 ipv6.dns-search 'example.com'
      # nmcli connection modify bridge0 ipv6.method manual
  5. Optional: Configure further properties of the bridge. For example, to set the Spanning Tree Protocol (STP) priority of bridge0 to 16384, enter:

    # nmcli connection modify bridge0 bridge.priority '16384'

    By default, STP is enabled.

  6. Activate the connection:

    # nmcli connection up bridge0
  7. Verify that the ports are connected, and the CONNECTION column displays the port’s connection name:

    # nmcli device
    DEVICE   TYPE      STATE      CONNECTION
    ...
    enp7s0   ethernet  connected  bridge0-port1
    enp8s0   ethernet  connected  bridge0-port2

    When you activate any port of the connection, NetworkManager also activates the bridge, but not the other ports of it. You can configure that Red Hat Enterprise Linux enables all ports automatically when when the bridge is enabled:

    1. Enable the connection.autoconnect-slaves parameter of the bridge connection:

      # nmcli connection modify bridge0 connection.autoconnect-slaves 1
    2. Reactivate the bridge:

      # nmcli connection up bridge0

Verification steps

  • Use the ip utility to display the link status of Ethernet devices that are ports of a specific bridge:

    # ip link show master bridge0
    3: enp7s0: <BROADCAST,MULTICAST,UP,LOWER_UP> mtu 1500 qdisc fq_codel master bridge0 state UP mode DEFAULT group default qlen 1000
        link/ether 52:54:00:62:61:0e brd ff:ff:ff:ff:ff:ff
    4: enp8s0: <BROADCAST,MULTICAST,UP,LOWER_UP> mtu 1500 qdisc fq_codel master bridge0 state UP mode DEFAULT group default qlen 1000
        link/ether 52:54:00:9e:f1:ce brd ff:ff:ff:ff:ff:ff
  • Use the bridge utility to display the status of Ethernet devices that are ports of any bridge device:

    # bridge link show
    3: enp7s0: <BROADCAST,MULTICAST,UP,LOWER_UP> mtu 1500 master bridge0 state forwarding priority 32 cost 100
    4: enp8s0: <BROADCAST,MULTICAST,UP,LOWER_UP> mtu 1500 master bridge0 state listening priority 32 cost 100
    5: enp9s0: <BROADCAST,MULTICAST,UP,LOWER_UP> mtu 1500 master bridge1 state forwarding priority 32 cost 100
    6: enp11s0: <BROADCAST,MULTICAST,UP,LOWER_UP> mtu 1500 master bridge1 state blocking priority 32 cost 100
    ...

    To display the status for a specific Ethernet device, use the bridge link show dev ethernet_device_name command.

Additional resources

11.2. Configuring a network bridge using the RHEL web console

This section explains how to configure a network bridge using the RHEL web console.

Prerequisites

Procedure

  1. Select the Networking tab in the navigation on the left side of the screen.
  2. Click Add bridge in the Interfaces section.
  3. Enter the name of the bridge device you want to create.
  4. Select the interfaces that should be ports of the bridge.
  5. Optional: Enable the Spanning tree protocol (STP) feature to avoid bridge loops and broadcast radiation.

    bridge settings
  6. Click Apply.
  7. By default, the bridge uses a dynamic IP address. If you want to set a static IP address:

    1. Click the name of the bridge in the Interfaces section.
    2. Click Edit next to the protocol you want to configure.
    3. Select Manual next to Addresses, and enter the IP address, prefix, and default gateway.
    4. In the DNS section, click the + button, and enter the IP address of the DNS server. Repeat this step to set multiple DNS servers.
    5. In the DNS search domains section, click the + button, and enter the search domain.
    6. If the interface requires static routes, configure them in the Routes section.

      bond team bridge vlan.ipv4
    7. Click Apply

Verification

  1. Select the Networking tab in the navigation on the left side of the screen, and check if there is incoming and outgoing traffic on the interface:

    bridge verify

11.3. Configuring a network bridge using nmtui

The nmtui application provides a text-based user interface for NetworkManager. You can use nmtui to configure a network bridge on a host without a graphical interface.

Note

In nmtui:

  • Navigate by using the cursor keys.
  • Press a button by selecting it and hitting Enter.
  • Select and deselect checkboxes by using Space.

Prerequisites

  • Two or more physical or virtual network devices are installed on the server.
  • To use Ethernet devices as ports of the bridge, the physical or virtual Ethernet devices must be installed on the server.

Procedure

  1. If you do not know the network device names on which you want configure a network bridge, display the available devices:

    # nmcli device status
    DEVICE     TYPE      STATE                   CONNECTION
    enp7s0     ethernet  unavailable             --
    enp8s0     ethernet  unavailable             --
    ...
  2. Start nmtui:

    # nmtui
  3. Select Edit a connection, and press Enter.
  4. Press the Add button.
  5. Select Bridge from the list of network types, and press Enter.
  6. Optional: Enter a name for the NetworkManager profile to be created.
  7. Enter the bridge device name to be created into the Device field.
  8. Add ports to the bridge to be created:

    1. Press the Add button next to the Slaves list.
    2. Select the type of the interface you want to add as port to the bridge, for example, Ethernet.
    3. Optional: Enter a name for the NetworkManager profile to be created for this bridge port.
    4. Enter the port’s device name into the Device field.
    5. Press the OK button to return to the window with the bridge settings.

      Figure 11.1. Adding an Ethernet device as port to a bridge

      nmtui bridge add port
    6. Repeat these steps to add more ports to the bridge.
  9. Depending on your environment, configure the IP address settings in the IPv4 configuration and IPv6 configuration areas accordingly. For this, press the Automatic button, and select:

    • Disabled, if the bridge does not require an IP address.
    • Automatic, if a DHCP server dynamically assigns an IP address to the bridge.
    • Manual, if the network requires static IP address settings. In this case, you must fill further fields:

      1. Press the Show button next to the protocol you want to configure to display additional fields.
      2. Press the Add button next to Addresses, and enter the IP address and the subnet mask in Classless Inter-Domain Routing (CIDR) format.

        If you do not specify a subnet mask, NetworkManager sets a /32 subnet mask for IPv4 addresses and /64 for IPv6 addresses.

      3. Enter the address of the default gateway.
      4. Press the Add button next to DNS servers, and enter the DNS server address.
      5. Press the Add button next to Search domains, and enter the DNS search domain.

    Figure 11.2. Example of a bridge connection without IP address settings

    nmtui bridge no IP
  10. Press the OK button to create and automatically activate the new connection.
  11. Press the Back button to return to the main menu.
  12. Select Quit, and press Enter to close the nmtui application.

Verification

  1. Use the ip utility to display the link status of Ethernet devices that are ports of a specific bridge:

    # ip link show master bridge0
    3: enp7s0: <BROADCAST,MULTICAST,UP,LOWER_UP> mtu 1500 qdisc fq_codel master bridge0 state UP mode DEFAULT group default qlen 1000
        link/ether 52:54:00:62:61:0e brd ff:ff:ff:ff:ff:ff
    4: enp8s0: <BROADCAST,MULTICAST,UP,LOWER_UP> mtu 1500 qdisc fq_codel master bridge0 state UP mode DEFAULT group default qlen 1000
        link/ether 52:54:00:9e:f1:ce brd ff:ff:ff:ff:ff:ff
  2. Use the bridge utility to display the status of Ethernet devices that are ports of any bridge device:

    # bridge link show
    3: enp7s0: <BROADCAST,MULTICAST,UP,LOWER_UP> mtu 1500 master bridge0 state forwarding priority 32 cost 100
    4: enp8s0: <BROADCAST,MULTICAST,UP,LOWER_UP> mtu 1500 master bridge0 state listening priority 32 cost 100
    ...

    To display the status for a specific Ethernet device, use the bridge link show dev ethernet_device_name command.

11.4. Configuring a network bridge using nm-connection-editor

This section explains how to configure a network bridge using the nm-connection-editor application.

Note that nm-connection-editor can add only new ports to a bridge. To use an existing connection profile as a port, create the bridge using the nmcli utility as described in Configuring a network bridge using nmcli commands.

Prerequisites

  • Two or more physical or virtual network devices are installed on the server.
  • To use Ethernet devices as ports of the bridge, the physical or virtual Ethernet devices must be installed on the server.
  • To use team, bond, or VLAN devices as ports of the bridge, ensure that these devices are not already configured.

Procedure

  1. Open a terminal, and enter nm-connection-editor:

    $ nm-connection-editor
  2. Click the + button to add a new connection.
  3. Select the Bridge connection type, and click Create.
  4. In the Bridge tab:

    1. Optional: Set the name of the bridge interface in the Interface name field.
    2. Click the Add button to create a new connection profile for a network interface and adding the profile as a port to the bridge.

      1. Select the connection type of the interface. For example, select Ethernet for a wired connection.
      2. Optionally, set a connection name for the port device.
      3. If you create a connection profile for an Ethernet device, open the Ethernet tab, and select in the Device field the network interface you want to add as a port to the bridge. If you selected a different device type, configure it accordingly.
      4. Click Save.
    3. Repeat the previous step for each interface you want to add to the bridge.

      add nic to bridge in nm connection editor

  5. Optional: Configure further bridge settings, such as Spanning Tree Protocol (STP) options.
  6. Configure the IP settings of the bridge. Skip this step if you want to use this bridge as a port of other devices.

    1. In the IPv4 Settings tab, configure the IPv4 settings. For example, set a static IPv4 address, network mask, default gateway, DNS server, and DNS search domain:

      bridge IPv4 settings nm connection editor

    2. In the IPv6 Settings tab, configure the IPv6 settings. For example, set a static IPv6 address, network mask, default gateway, DNS server, and DNS search domain:

      bridge IPv6 settings nm connection editor

  7. Save the bridge connection.
  8. Close nm-connection-editor.

Verification steps

  • Use the ip utility to display the link status of Ethernet devices that are ports of a specific bridge.

    # ip link show master bridge0
    3: enp7s0: <BROADCAST,MULTICAST,UP,LOWER_UP> mtu 1500 qdisc fq_codel master bridge0 state UP mode DEFAULT group default qlen 1000
        link/ether 52:54:00:62:61:0e brd ff:ff:ff:ff:ff:ff
    4: enp8s0: <BROADCAST,MULTICAST,UP,LOWER_UP> mtu 1500 qdisc fq_codel master bridge0 state UP mode DEFAULT group default qlen 1000
        link/ether 52:54:00:9e:f1:ce brd ff:ff:ff:ff:ff:ff
  • Use the bridge utility to display the status of Ethernet devices that are ports in any bridge device:

    # bridge link show
    3: enp7s0: <BROADCAST,MULTICAST,UP,LOWER_UP> mtu 1500 master bridge0 state forwarding priority 32 cost 100
    4: enp8s0: <BROADCAST,MULTICAST,UP,LOWER_UP> mtu 1500 master bridge0 state listening priority 32 cost 100
    5: enp9s0: <BROADCAST,MULTICAST,UP,LOWER_UP> mtu 1500 master bridge1 state forwarding priority 32 cost 100
    6: enp11s0: <BROADCAST,MULTICAST,UP,LOWER_UP> mtu 1500 master bridge1 state blocking priority 32 cost 100
    ...

    To display the status for a specific Ethernet device, use the bridge link show dev ethernet_device_name command.

11.5. Configuring a network bridge using nmstatectl

This section describes how to use the nmstatectl utility to configure a Linux network bridge bridge0 with following settings:

  • Network interfaces in the bridge: enp1s0 and enp7s0
  • Spanning Tree Protocol (STP): Enabled
  • Static IPv4 address: 192.0.2.1 with the /24 subnet mask
  • Static IPv6 address: 2001:db8:1::1 with the /64 subnet mask
  • IPv4 default gateway: 192.0.2.254
  • IPv6 default gateway: 2001:db8:1::fffe
  • IPv4 DNS server: 192.0.2.200
  • IPv6 DNS server: 2001:db8:1::ffbb
  • DNS search domain: example.com

Prerequisites

  • Two or more physical or virtual network devices are installed on the server.
  • To use Ethernet devices as ports in the bridge, the physical or virtual Ethernet devices must be installed on the server.
  • To use team, bond, or VLAN devices as ports in the bridge, set the interface name in the port list, and define the corresponding interfaces.
  • The nmstate package is installed.

Procedure

  1. Create a YAML file, for example ~/create-bridge.yml, with the following contents:

    ---
    interfaces:
    - name: bridge0
      type: linux-bridge
      state: up
      ipv4:
        enabled: true
        address:
        - ip: 192.0.2.1
          prefix-length: 24
        dhcp: false
      ipv6:
        enabled: true
        address:
        - ip: 2001:db8:1::1
          prefix-length: 64
        autoconf: false
        dhcp: false
      bridge:
        options:
          stp:
            enabled: true
        port:
          - name: enp1s0
          - name: enp7s0
    - name: enp1s0
      type: ethernet
      state: up
    - name: enp7s0
      type: ethernet
      state: up
    
    routes:
      config:
      - destination: 0.0.0.0/0
        next-hop-address: 192.0.2.254
        next-hop-interface: bridge0
      - destination: ::/0
        next-hop-address: 2001:db8:1::fffe
        next-hop-interface: bridge0
    dns-resolver:
      config:
        search:
        - example.com
        server:
        - 192.0.2.200
        - 2001:db8:1::ffbb
  2. Apply the settings to the system:

    # nmstatectl apply ~/create-bridge.yml

Verification steps

  1. Display the status of the devices and connections:

    # nmcli device status
    DEVICE      TYPE      STATE      CONNECTION
    bridge0     bridge    connected  bridge0
  2. Display all settings of the connection profile:

    # nmcli connection show bridge0
    connection.id:              bridge0
    connection.uuid:            e2cc9206-75a2-4622-89cf-1252926060a9
    connection.stable-id:       --
    connection.type:            bridge
    connection.interface-name:  bridge0
    ...
  3. Display the connection settings in YAML format:

    # nmstatectl show bridge0

Additional resources