Fix: Multiple NICs on Same Layer 2 Network Broadcast All MACs on ARP request

By default when a Linux host is connected to the same layer 2 network by two network interfaces (i.e. plugged into the same or connected switch (and VLAN) or attached to a bridge in similar configuration) ARP requests for any IP on the NICs in question will produce a single response for every interface's MAC address. Obviously, this poses a problem called ARP flux where an IP may seem to migrate from MAC to MAC.

This example uses a DHCP server of similar stock to the one covered in Transparent Proxy for Hot Spot/Public Network Web-Based Authentication on ClearOS . It has an external interface ( and an internal interface ( on which DHCP clients are collected. Since we are collecting DHCP users then routing them through another private network both interfaces are connected to the same switch. When an ARP request for either IP is made both will respond at first. Observe:

bzp ~ # arping -I br0
ARPING from br0
Unicast reply from [00:16:3E:22:00:01]  0.950ms
Unicast reply from [00:16:3E:22:00:02]  0.987ms
Unicast reply from [00:16:3E:22:00:02]  0.930ms
^CSent 2 probes (1 broadcast(s))
Received 3 response(s)
bzp ~ # arping -I br0
ARPING from br0
Unicast reply from [00:16:3E:22:00:01]  0.946ms
Unicast reply from [00:16:3E:22:00:02]  0.981ms
Unicast reply from [00:16:3E:22:00:02]  0.887ms
Unicast reply from [00:16:3E:22:00:02]  0.891ms
Unicast reply from [00:16:3E:22:00:02]  0.953ms
^CSent 4 probes (1 broadcast(s))
Received 5 response(s)

We can correct this by adding the following lines to /etc/sysctl.conf:


Now run:

# sysctl -p

The issue should be corrected:

bzp ~ # arping -I br0
ARPING from br0
Unicast reply from [00:16:3E:22:00:02]  1.171ms
Unicast reply from [00:16:3E:22:00:02]  0.991ms
^CSent 2 probes (1 broadcast(s))
Received 2 response(s)
bzp ~ # arping -I br0
ARPING from br0
Unicast reply from [00:16:3E:22:00:01]  0.919ms
Unicast reply from [00:16:3E:22:00:01]  0.980ms
^CSent 2 probes (1 broadcast(s))
Received 2 response(s)

Note that one of the MACs will "win out" after the first broadcast because the target machine will start sending unicast responses from the correct interface; if you are consistently seeing multiple MACs responding on every ARPing it is safe to say you are probably looking at an IP address conflict instead.


• karlochacon

hi I have a similar environment

my linux server suse 11 have 2 IPs - eth0 - eth1
as you same identical subnet
but every time I ping .10-eth0 is OK as well .11 of course I see arp shows me the same MACs
but If disconnect the cable from eth1 still both .11 is pingable
but If disconnect eth0 no IP is pingable....
what basically I need is each interface behave like itself
so If disconnect eth0 .10 won't be pinged and .11 will be and
If I disconnect eth1 .10 it is pingable but .11 won't respond

so basically in my case eth0 owns the server so
any idea how to fix this?