Introduction

Distribution installers, cloud instantiation, image builds for particular devices, or any other way to deploy an operating system put its desired network configuration into YAML configuration file(s). During early boot, the netplan "network renderer" runs which reads /{lib,etc,run}/netplan/*.yaml and writes configuration to /run to hand off control of devices to the specified networking daemon.

General structure

netplan's configuration files use the YAML format. All /{lib,etc,run}/netplan/*.yaml are considered. Lexicographically later files (regardless of in which directory they are) amend (new mapping keys) or override (same mapping keys) previous ones. A file in /run/netplan completely shadows a file with same name in /etc/netplan, and a file in either of those directories shadows a file with the same name in /lib/netplan.

The top-level node in a netplan configuration file is a network: mapping that contains version: 2 (the YAML currently being used by curtin, MaaS, etc. is version 1), and then device definitions grouped by their type, such as ethernets:, wifis:, or bridges:. These are the types that our renderer can understand and are supported by our backends.

Each type block contains device definitions as a map where the keys (called "configuration IDs") are defined as below.

Device configuration IDs

The key names below the per-device-type definition maps (like ethernets:) are called "ID"s. They must be unique throughout the entire set of configuration files. Their primary purpose is to serve as anchor names for composite devices, for example to enumerate the members of a bridge that is currently being defined.

There are two physically/structurally different classes of device definitions, and the ID field has a different interpretation for each:

Physical devices

(Examples: ethernet, wifi) These can dynamically come and go between reboots and even during runtime (hotplugging). In the generic case, they can be selected by match: rules on desired properties, such as name/name pattern, MAC address, driver, or device paths. In general these will match any number of devices (unless they refer to properties which are unique such as the full path or MAC address), so without further knowledge about the hardware these will always be considered as a group.

It is valid to specify no match rules at all, in which case the ID field is simply the interface name to be matched. This is mostly useful if you want to keep simple cases simple, and it's how network device configuration has been done for a long time.

If there are match: rules, then the ID field is a purely opaque name which is only being used for references from definitions of compound devices in the config.

Virtual devices

(Examples: veth, bridge, bond) These are fully under the control of the config file(s) and the network stack. I. e. these devices are being created instead of matched. Thus match: and set-name: are not applicable for these, and the ID field is the name of the created virtual device.

Common properties for physical device types

match (mapping)

This selects a subset of available physical devices by various hardware properties. The following configuration will then apply to all matching devices, as soon as they appear. All specified properties must match.

name (scalar)
Current interface name. Globs are supported, and the primary use case for matching on names, as selecting one fixed name can be more easily achieved with having no match: at all and just using the ID (see above). Note that currently only networkd supports globbing, NetworkManager does not.
macaddress (scalar)
Device's MAC address in the form "XX:XX:XX:XX:XX:XX". Globs are not allowed.
driver (scalar)
Kernel driver name, corresponding to the DRIVER udev property. Globs are supported. Matching on driver is only supported with networkd.

Examples:

set-name (scalar)

When matching on unique properties such as path or MAC, or with additional assumptions such as "there will only ever be one wifi device", match rules can be written so that they only match one device. Then this property can be used to give that device a more specific/desirable/nicer name than the default from udev’s ifnames. Any additional device that satisfies the match rules will then fail to get renamed and keep the original kernel name (and dmesg will show an error).

wakeonlan (bool)

Enable wake on LAN. Off by default.

Common properties for all device types

renderer (scalar)

Use the given networking backend for this definition. Currently supported are networkd and NetworkManager. This property can be specified globally in networks:, for a device type (in e. g. ethernets:) or for a particular device definition. Default is networkd.

dhcp4 (bool)

Enable DHCP for IPv4. Off by default.

dhcp6 (bool)

Enable DHCP for IPv6. Off by default.

accept-ra (bool)

Accept Router Advertisement that would have the kernel configure IPv6 by itself. On by default.

addresses (sequence of scalars)

Add static addresses to the interface in addition to the ones received through DHCP or RA. Each sequence entry is in CIDR notation, i. e. of the form addr/prefixlen. addr is an IPv4 or IPv6 address as recognized by inet_pton(3) and prefixlen the number of bits of the subnet.

Example: addresses: [192.168.14.2/24, 2001:1::1/64]

gateway4, gateway6 (scalar)

Set default gateway for IPv4/6, for manual address configuration. This requires setting addresses too. Gateway IPs must be in a form recognized by inet_pton(3).

Example for IPv4: gateway4: 172.16.0.1
Example for IPv6: gateway6: 2001:4::1

nameservers (mapping)

Set DNS servers and search domains, for manual address configuration. There are two supported fields: addresses: is a list of IPv4 or IPv6 addresses similar to gateway*, and search: is a list of search domains.

Example:

ethernets:
  id0:
    [...]
    nameservers:
      search: [lab, home]
      addresses: [8.8.8.8, FEDC::1]

Properties for device type ethernets:

Ethernet device definitions do not support any specific properties beyond the common ones described above.

Properties for device type wifis:

Note that systemd-networkd does not natively support wifi, so you need wpasupplicant installed if you let the networkd renderer handle wifi.

access-points (mapping)

This provides pre-configured connections to NetworkManager. Note that users can of course select other access points/SSIDs. The keys of the mapping are the SSIDs, and the values are mappings with the following supported properties:

password (scalar)
Enable WPA2 authentication and set the passphrase for it. If not given, the network is assumed to be open. Other authentication modes are not currently supported.
mode (scalar)
Possible access point modes are infrastructure (the default), ap (create an access point to which other devices can connect), and adhoc (peer to peer networks without a central access point). ap is only supported with NetworkManager.

Properties for device type bridges:

interfaces (sequence of scalars)

All devices matching this ID list will be added to the bridge.

Example:

  ethernets:
    switchports:
      match: {name: "enp2*"}
  [...]
  bridges:
    br0:
      interfaces: [switchports]
parameters (mapping)

Customization parameters for special bridging options. Using the NetworkManager renderer, parameter values for time intervals should be expressed in milliseconds; for the systemd renderer, they should be in seconds unless otherwise specified.

ageing-time (scalar)
Set the period of time to keep a MAC address in the forwarding database after a packet is received.
priority (scalar)
Set the priority value for the bridge. This value should be an number between 0 and 65535. Lower values mean higher priority. The bridge with the higher priority will be elected as the root bridge.
forward-delay (scalar)
Specify the period of time the bridge will remain in Listening and Learning states before getting to the Forwarding state. This value should be set in seconds for the systemd backend, and in milliseconds for the NetworkManager backend.
hello-time (scalar)
Specify the interval between two hello packets being sent out from the root and designated bridges. Hello packets communicate information about the network topology.
max-age (scalar)
Set the maximum age of a hello packet. If the last hello packet is older than that value, the bridge will attempt to become the root bridge.
path-cost (scalar)
Set the cost of a path on the bridge. Faster interfaces should have a lower cost. This allows a finer control on the network topology so that the fastest paths are available whenever possible.
stp (bool)
Define whether the bridge should use Spanning Tree Protocol. The default value is "true", which means that Spanning Tree should be used.

Properties for device type bonds:

interfaces (sequence of scalars)

All devices matching this ID list will be added to the bond.

Example:

  ethernets:
    switchports:
      match: {name: "enp2*"}
  [...]
  bonds:
    bond0:
      interfaces: [switchports]
parameters (mapping)

Customization parameters for special bonding options. Using the NetworkManager renderer, parameter values for intervals should be expressed in milliseconds; for the systemd renderer, they should be in seconds unless otherwise specified.

mode (scalar)
Set the bonding mode used for the interfaces. The default is balance-rr (round robin). Possible values are balance-rr, active-backup, balance-xor, broadcast, 802.3ad, balance-tlb, and balance-alb.
lacp-rate (scalar)
Set the rate at which LACPDUs are transmitted. This is only useful in 802.3ad mode. Possible values are slow (30 seconds, default), and fast (every second).
mii-monitor-interval (scalar)
Specifies the interval for MII monitoring (verifying if an interface of the bond has carrier). The default is 0; which disables MII monitoring.
min-links (scalar)
The minimum number of links up in a bond to consider the bond interface to be up.
transmit-hash-policy (scalar)
Specifies the transmit hash policy for the selection of slaves. This is only useful in balance-xor, 802.3ad and balance-tlb modes. Possible values are layer2, layer3+4, layer2+3, encap2+3, and encap3+4.
ad-select (scalar)
Set the aggregation selection mode. Possible values are stable, bandwidth, and count. This option is only used in 802.3ad mode.
all-slaves-active (bool)
If the bond should drop duplicate frames received on inactive ports, set this option to false. If they should be delivered, set this option to true. The default value is false, and is the desirable behavior in most situations.
arp-interval (scalar)
Set the interval value for how frequently ARP link monitoring should happen. The default value is 0, which disables ARP monitoring.
arp-ip-targets (sequence of scalars)
IPs of other hosts on the link which should be sent ARP requests in order to validate that a slave is up. This option is only used when arp-interval is set to a value other than 0. At least one IP address must be given for ARP link monitoring to function. Only IPv4 addresses are supported. You can specify up to 16 IP addresses. The default value is an empty list.
arp-validate (scalar)
Configure how ARP replies are to be validated when using ARP link monitoring. Possible values are none, active, backup, and all.
arp-all-targets (scalar)
Specify whether to use any ARP IP target being up as sufficient for a slave to be considered up; or if all the targets must be up. This is only used for active-backup mode when arp-validate is enabled. Possible values are any and all.
up-delay (scalar)
Specify the delay before enabling a link once the link is physically up. The default value is 0.
down-delay (scalar)
Specify the delay before disabling a link once the link has been lost. The default value is 0.
fail-over-mac-policy (scalar)
Set whether to set all slaves to the same MAC address when adding them to the bond, or how else the system should handle MAC addresses. The possible values are none, active, and follow.
gratuitious-arp (scalar)
Specify how many ARP packets to send after failover. Once a link is up on a new slave, a notification is sent and possibly repeated if this value is set to a number greater than 1. The default value is 1 and valid values are between 1 and 255. This only affects active-backup mode.
packets-per-slave (scalar)
In balance-rr mode, specifies the number of packets to transmit on a slave before switching to the next. When this value is set to 0, slaves are chosen at random. Allowable values are between 0 and 65535. The default value is 1. This setting is only used in balance-rr mode.
primary-reselect-policy (scalar)
Set the reselection policy for the primary slave. On failure of the active slave, the system will use this policy to decide how the new active slave will be chosen and how recovery will be handled. The possible values are always, better, and failure.
learn-packet-interval (scalar)
Specify the interval between sending learning packets to each slave. The value range is between 1 and 0x7fffffff. The default value is 1. This option only affects balance-tlb and balance-alb modes.
primary (scalar)
Specify a device to be used as a primary slave, or preferred device to use as a slave for the bond (ie. the preferred device to send data through), whenever it is available. This only affects active-backup, balance-alb, and balance-tlb modes.

Properties for device type vlans:

id (scalar)

VLAN ID, a number between 0 and 4094.

link (scalar)

netplan ID of the underlying device definition on which this VLAN gets created.

Example:

ethernets:
  eno1: {...}
vlans:
  en-intra:
    id: 1
    link: eno1
    dhcp4: yes
  en-vpn:
    id: 2
    link: eno1
    address: ...

Examples

Configure an ethernet device with networkd, identified by its name, and enable DHCP:

network:
  version: 2
  ethernets:
    eno1:
      dhcp4: true

This is a complex example which shows most available features:

network:
  version: 2
  # if specified, can only realistically have that value, as networkd cannot
  # render wifi/3G.
  renderer: NetworkManager
  ethernets:
    # opaque ID for physical interfaces, only referred to by other stanzas
    id0:
      match:
        macaddress: 00:11:22:33:44:55
      wakeonlan: true
      dhcp4: true
      addresses:
        - 192.168.14.2/24
        - 2001:1::1/64
      gateway4: 192.168.14.1
      gateway6: 2001:1::2
      nameservers:
        search: [foo.local, bar.local]
        addresses: [8.8.8.8]
    lom:
      match:
        driver: ixgbe
      # you are responsible for setting tight enough match rules
      # that only match one device if you use set-name
      set-name: lom1
      dhcp6: true
    switchports:
      # all cards on second PCI bus; unconfigured by themselves, will be added
      # to br0 below
      match:
        name: enp2*
      mtu: 1280
  wifis:
    all-wlans:
      # useful on a system where you know there is only ever going to be one device
      match: {}
      access-points:
        "Joe's home":
          # mode defaults to "infrastructure" (client)
          password: "s3kr1t"
    # this creates an AP on wlp1s0 using hostapd; no match rules, thus ID is
    # the interface name
    wlp1s0:
      access-points:
        "guest":
           mode: ap
           channel: 11
           # no WPA config implies default of open
  bridges:
    # the key name is the name for virtual (created) interfaces; no match: and
    # set-name: allowed
    br0:
      # IDs of the components; switchports expands into multiple interfaces
      interfaces: [wlp1s0, switchports]
      dhcp4: true
  routes:
   - to: 0.0.0.0/0
     via: 11.0.0.1
     metric: 3