Autoswitching network interfaces

2 minute read

Since I’m a lazy git, I want my laptop to automatically switch back & forth between my wired and wireless interfaces. Seems that stuff like Network Manager can do that for you, but it’s not really my thing. I don’t like stuff where you need a GUI to configure it, a duplicaton of network configuration, and it also tends to hang my machine. No idea why, though.

After an afternoon of fiddling around with several things, I came up with the recipe:
1 portion ifplugd, a good mix of ifupdown configuration with guessnet mappings, and some home-grown scripts. Mix well, and let simmer over a hot stove for half an hour. ;)

The details (tailored to Debian Sid):

  1. Install ifplugd and guessnet: apt-get install ifplugd guessnet
  2. Configure the interface you want ifplugd to monitor. For me, this is eth0 (wired ethernet). You can do this by editing /etc/default/ifplugd and adding eth0 in the INTERFACES field.
    Restart ifplugd (/etc/init.d/ifplugd restart)
  3. Edit your /etc/network/interfaces file the way you like it. I’m using multiple wireless entries with guessnet:
    > <pre>mapping ath0 script guessnet-ifupdown map verbose: false map debug: false map autofilter: true

iface ath0-work inet dhcp test wireless essid WORK wpa-ssid WORK wpa-key-mgmt WPA-PSK wpa-proto WPA wpa-psk “***” wpa-driver wext

iface ath0-home inet dhcp test wireless essid HOME wpa-ssid HOME wpa-key-mgmt WPA-PSK wpa-proto WPA wpa-psk “***” wpa-driver wext </pre>

For syntax info, see `man guessnet`</li> 

  * Replace the script in `/etc/ifplugd/action.d` with something more usable. The installed script only calls ifup or ifdown depending on what&#8217;s happening. What we want is to ifdown the interface, and ifup the other. 
    Something like this:
    > <pre>#!/bin/sh set -e

WIRED_INTERFACE=”eth0” WIFI_INTERFACE=”ath0” WIFI_MODULE=”ath_pci” IFUPDOWN_STATE=”/etc/network/run/ifstate”

if [ $# -ne 2 ]; then echo “Incorrect usage!” echo “$0: <network interface> <up /down>” exit 1 fi

case “$2” in up) if [ “$1” = $WIRED_INTERFACE ]; then # Wired interface is going up, bring wireless down # if it is active. WIFI_MODULE_LOADED=$(lsmod | grep ^$WIFI_MODULE | wc -l) if [ $WIFI_MODULE_LOADED -eq 1 ]; then /sbin/ifdown $WIFI_INTERFACE /sbin/rmmod $WIFI_MODULE fi /sbin/ifup $WIRED_INTERFACE else /sbin/ifup $1 fi ;; down) if [ “$1” = $WIRED_INTERFACE ]; then # Wired interface is going down, bring up the # wireless one. /sbin/ifdown $WIRED_INTERFACE

            /sbin/modprobe $WIFI_MODULE
            /sbin/ifconfig $WIFI_INTERFACE up
            sleep 5
            /sbin/ifup $WIFI_INTERFACE

            if [ $WIFI_CONFIGURED -eq 0 ]; then
                    # Interface was not configured, bring it back down
                    # to save power
                    /sbin/rmmod $WIFI_MODULE
            /sbin/ifdown $1
    ;; esac &lt;/up>&lt;/network></pre></ol> 

Now, every time ifplugd configures up eth0, ath0 is automatically deconfigured, and vice versa.  
The actual configuration of the interfaces is still in `/etc/network/interfaces`, so you can still handle it by hand if you want to.

As always, it works fine for me, but <a href="" target="_blank">YMMV</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">TIMTOWTDI</a>!