What do the Linux interface names mean?

  • eth0
  • eth1
  • wlan0

My current assumption is that when we are connected to the Internet via LAN cable it's eth0 or eth1 and when we are connected with internet via WiFi it's wlan0.

  • 4
    Do note that some distros (Fedora and probably others) name devices differently: docs.fedoraproject.org/en-US/Fedora/16/html/…. The goal was to avoid ambiguity (e.g. multiple network cards in a system).
    – Renan
    Commented Jul 13, 2013 at 20:01
  • 9
    the good ol' time when an ethernet interface was called eth0 and not enp0s25!
    – Francois
    Commented Jun 16, 2016 at 9:05

2 Answers 2


Your assumption is correct.

The names however can be set/chosen by the user or the operating system that you are using. eth0 and eth1 is used because it's more intuitive than choosing an arbitrary name because "LAN cable" connection, like you said is Ethernet (hence the eth in eth0, eth1). Similarly when you connect to WiFi, it's "WirelessLAN" (hence the wlan in wlan0).


eth0 is the first ethernet interface, any additional ethernet interfaces would be named eth1, eth2, etc.

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