In the world of Ubuntu, understanding your network interfaces is crucial for system administration and network troubleshooting. This article will guide you through various methods to identify the active network interface on your Ubuntu system.
To find the active network interface on your Ubuntu system, you can use commands like
ip route get,
ip link, or
nmcli device status. These commands will provide information about the network interfaces and their status, allowing you to identify the active interface.
Understanding Network Interfaces
Network interfaces are the gateways for data traffic in and out of a computer. In Ubuntu, these interfaces can have various types such as Ethernet (
eth0), WLAN (
wlan0), or loopback (
lo). The names may vary based on your system configuration. The active network interface is the one currently being used for network communication.
ifconfig command, short for “interface configuration,” is a system administration utility in Unix-like operating systems to configure, manage, and query network interface parameters.
ifconfig, open a terminal and type:
This command will display a list of all network interfaces along with their details. The active interface is typically the one with an IP address and has transmitted/received bytes.
For example, if you see an interface named
wlan0 with an IP address and data activity, that’s likely your active interface.
ip route get Command
ip route get command is another way to identify the active network interface. This command queries the kernel routing table and returns the path a packet would take to the provided IP address.
To use this command, type:
ip route get 220.127.116.11
18.104.22.168 is a public DNS server operated by Google. You can replace it with any known IP address. The output will include the
dev parameter followed by the name of the network interface. This is the interface used for internet traffic.
ip link Command
ip link command provides more detailed information about each network interface. To use this command, type:
In the output, look for the interface with the state
LOWER_UP. These states indicate that the interface is active and enabled.
nmcli device status Command
If you have Network Manager installed, you can use the
nmcli device status command. Network Manager is a dynamic network control and configuration system that attempts to keep network devices and connections up and active when they are available.
To use this command, type:
nmcli device status
This command provides a list of all network interfaces along with their status. The active interface is the one with the state
Using Traffic Monitoring Tools
jnettop provide real-time traffic monitoring. To install
jnettop, use the command:
sudo apt-get install jnettop
jnettop in the terminal. It will display real-time traffic information for each interface, allowing you to identify the active one.
Identifying the active network interface on your Ubuntu system is an essential skill for system administrators and network troubleshooters. By using commands like
ip route get,
nmcli device status, or tools like
jnettop, you can easily find the active network interface on your system. Remember, the specific interface names (
wlan0, etc.) may vary depending on your system configuration.
To open a terminal in Ubuntu, you can use the keyboard shortcut
Ctrl + Alt + T. Alternatively, you can search for "Terminal" in the Ubuntu Dash and click on the Terminal application to open it.
There are multiple ways to check your Ubuntu version. One way is to open a terminal and type
lsb_release -a. This command will display detailed information about your Ubuntu version, including the release number and codename.
Ubuntu uses the APT package management system. To install software, you can use the
apt-get command followed by the package name. For example, to install the Firefox web browser, you can run
sudo apt-get install firefox. You will need administrative privileges to install software using
To update your Ubuntu system, open a terminal and run
sudo apt-get update to refresh the package lists. Then, run
sudo apt-get upgrade to install the latest updates for your installed packages. You may be prompted to enter your password during the update process.
To restart your Ubuntu system, you can open a terminal and run
sudo reboot. This command will initiate a system restart. You will need administrative privileges to execute the reboot command.
To change your Ubuntu desktop wallpaper, right-click on the desktop and select "Change Desktop Background." This will open the Appearance settings. From there, you can choose a pre-installed wallpaper or click on the "+" button to add your own image.
To connect to a Wi-Fi network in Ubuntu, click on the network icon in the top-right corner of the screen. This will display a list of available Wi-Fi networks. Click on the network you want to connect to and enter the password if required.