Features/NetworkManagerNameBasedConfiguration

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Contents

NetworkManager Support for Interface Identification by Name

Summary

Connection configurations will be optionally bound to interface names instead or in addition to a MAC address.

Owner

Current status

  • Targeted release: Fedora 20
  • Last updated: 2013-03-05
  • Percentage of completion: 10%

Detailed description

Currently most types of connections are matched against the kernel network interfaces using MAC addresses. This is good for desktop usage with GUI tools for devices that have permanent MAC addresses. Unfortunately, there are devices that generate MAC adresses during initialization. On servers, administrators often prefer relying on kernel interface names. In some virtualization solutions, virtual network interface cards may have random MAC addresses on each start.

Therefore we want to provide the option for server administrators and power users to choose to bind connection configurations to interface names. Desktop users would continue to use their GUIs which would make the choice on their behalf.

Benefit to Fedora

This change would make Fedora properly support devices without permanent MAC address. At the same time, it would add a network-scripts feature missing in NetworkManager, improve interoperability between those two tools and make Fedora with NetworkManager more appealing to administrators.

Scope

This will require changes to the NetworkManager daemon, nmcli, gnome-control-center, nm-connection-editor and other configuration tools that want to benefit from this feature.

How to test

Add a new connection bound to interface name using configuration files or nmcli. Check the configurations that comes from GUI tools for correctness.

User Experience

Users and administrators will be able to use permanent configurations for devices without persistent MAC addresses.

Dependencies

Binding a configuration to an interface name is only advantageous if the interface name is stable. We rely on udev to take care about persistent naming and we listen to udev events so that we wait until it is finished with the renaming.

Contingency plan

The usage of this feature in NetworkManager is optional. If it is not available in time, CLI and GUI modifications will be reverted so that they don't cause problems.

Documentation

The configuration option will be added to NetworkManager API reference and the generated nm-settings manpage.

Release notes

NetworkManager now supports binding network configurations to interface names instead or on top of MAC addresses.