How can I change a remote host primary IP address without getting disconnected at all (without being in a "no IP addr" state).

The matter is poorly discussed on Internet (according to my research). The best resource I found is a little bit tricky.

EXAMPLE : change to

1. ssh root@
2. ip addr add dev eth0 
3. logout

4. ssh root@
5. ip addr del dev eth0 

Problem: The last command removes both IP addresses and the connection is lost because is primary, and it removes its secondary addresses (to which belongs) when deleted.

I know I could "cheat" by adding (instead of 24). However, I think it is theoretically possible to do this properly.

What do you think?

  • it is no cheat if you use /32 mask... – zb' Mar 13 '13 at 1:57
  • but it would not work because a /32 cannot communicate with anything but itself... – Totor Mar 13 '13 at 10:35
  • ok, but /25 will also not work than. – zb' Mar 13 '13 at 10:41

You need to set the promote_secondaries option on the interface, or on all interfaces:

echo 1 > /proc/sys/net/ipv4/conf/eth0/promote_secondaries


sysctl net.ipv4.conf.eth0.promote_secondaries=1

Change eth0 to all to have it work on all interfaces.

This option has been in since 2.6.12.

I tested this with a dummy interface and it worked there.

  • Exactly what I needed, thanks! See the original commit. – Totor Jan 13 '13 at 4:26
  • 1
    Please note that this option is available since 2.6.12, so before 2.6.16. – Totor Aug 27 '13 at 15:52

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