How to Use ethtool Command with Examples

Written by: Bobbin Zachariah   |   Last updated: July 6, 2022

The ethtool command is used to display/change Ethernet adapter settings. You can change network card speed, auto-negotiation, wake on LAN setting, duplex mode using this tool in Linux.

In this tutorial, we learn some ethtool command examples that help you troubleshoot ethernet card issues.

1. Display Ethernet Interface Details

The ethtool command retrieves the status of the Ethernet interface. The output displays properties like speed, duplex, status and wake on of the etho interface.

Given below is an example:

# ethtool eth0

Settings for eth0:
Supported ports: [ TP ]
Supported link modes: 10baseT/Half 10baseT/Full
100baseT/Half 100baseT/Full
Supports auto-negotiation: Yes
Advertised link modes: 10baseT/Half 10baseT/Full
100baseT/Half 100baseT/Full
Advertised auto-negotiation: Yes
Speed: 1000Mb/s
Duplex: Full
Port: Twisted Pair
Transceiver: internal
Auto-negotiation: on
Supports Wake-on: d
Wake-on: d
Current message level: 0x00000007 (7)
Link detected: yes

There are three types of duplexes:

Full Duplex: Used when the Ethernet is connected to the switch. Allows two- way transfers, that is, sending and receiving of packets simultaneously.

Half Duplex: Used when the Ethernet is in connection with the hub. Allows only one- way transfers, that is, either sending or receiving of packets.

Auto negotiation: On the basis of the network connection, the Ethernet interface decides whether to use full or half duplex.

2. ETHTOOL_OPTS Variable

The Ethtool command settings can be set permanently with the Ethtool_opt variable. Let us have a look at the example given below:

# vi /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-eth0
ETHTOOL_OPTS="speed 50 duplex full autoneg off"

You can test the above setting with ifup and ifdown commands.

3. Display Statistics

The Ethernet driver settings and auto-negotiation can be checked with the following commands:

# ethtool -i eth0

driver: bnx2
version: 2.0.1-suse
firmware-version: 1.9.3
bus-info: 0000:04:00.0
[root@localhost ~]# ethtool –a eth0

Pause parameters for eth0:
Autonegotiate: on
RX: on
TX: on

The '-p option' of Ethtool command helps to identify the specific device from multiple devices.

# ethtool –p eth0

Having the statistics of network card is very useful in troubleshooting of network issues.

# ethtool –S eth0

NIC statistics:
tx_packets: 148683
rx_packets: 179489
tx_errors: 0
rx_errors: 0
rx_missed: 0
align_errors: 0
tx_single_collisions: 0
tx_multi_collisions: 0
unicast: 116884
broadcast: 25361
multicast: 61674
tx_aborted: 0
tx_underrun: 0

The output above shows the details about the transferred and received packets.

4. Enable flow control

Flow control in full duplex can be enabled by 'PAUSE' parameter in the latest MAC and GMAC embedded devices.

Here is the solution:

# ethtool -A eth0 [autoneg on|off] [rx on|off] [tx on|off]

Offload parameters details can be obtained as follows:

# ethtool –k eth0

However, any changes made in the Ethernet parameter settings will disappear at the time of the next boot. In order to have them intact in the next boot, you have to make these changes permanent by adding the command to /etc/rc.local

# cat /etc/rc.local

ethtool -s eth0 speed 100 duplex full autoneg on 1>/dev/null 2>/dev/null
ethtool -s eth1 speed 100 duplex full autoneg on 1>/dev/null 2>/dev/null

5. Set Duplex Mode

Below example shows how to set speed or duplex mode using ethtool command is as follows:

# ethtool -s eth0 speed 100 duplex full
# ethtool -s eth0 speed 10 duplex half

About The Author

Bobbin Zachariah

Bobbin Zachariah

Bobbin Zachariah is an experienced Linux engineer who has been supporting infrastructure for many companies. He specializes in Shell scripting, AWS Cloud, JavaScript, and Nodejs. He has qualified Master's degree in computer science. He holds Red Hat Certified Engineer (RHCE) certification.



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