Linux Networking/IPIP Encapsulation

IPIP EncapsulationEdit

Why would you want to encapsulate IP datagrams within IP datagrams? It must seem an odd thing to do if you've never seen an application of it before. Ok, here are a couple of common places where it is used: Mobile-IP and IP-Multicast. What is perhaps the most widely spread use of it though is also the least well known, Amateur Radio.

Kernel Compile Options:


            Networking options  --->
                [*] TCP/IP networking
                [*] IP: forwarding/gatewaying
                ....
                <*> IP: tunneling


IP tunnel devices are called `tunl0', `tunl1' etc.

"But why ?". Ok, ok. Conventional IP routing rules mandate that an IP network comprises a network address and a network mask. This produces a series of contiguous addresses that may all be routed via a single routing entry. This is very convenient, but it means that you may only use any particular IP address while you are connected to the particular piece of network to which it belongs. In most instances this is ok, but if you are a mobile netizen then you may not be able to stay connected to the one place all the time. IP/IP encapsulation (IP tunneling) allows you to overcome this restriction by allowing datagrams destined for your IP address to be wrapped up and redirected to another IP address. If you know that you're going to be operating from some other IP network for some time you can set up a machine on your home network to accept datagrams to your IP address and redirect them to the address that you will actually be using temporarily.

A tunneled network configuration.Edit


      192.168.1/24                          192.168.2/24

          -                                     -
          |      ppp0 =            ppp0 =       |
          |  aaa.bbb.ccc.ddd  fff.ggg.hhh.iii   |
          |                                     |
          |   /-----\                 /-----\   |
          |   |     |       //        |     |   |
          |---|  A  |------//---------|  B  |---|
          |   |     |     //          |     |   |
          |   \-----/                 \-----/   |
          |                                     |
          -                                     -

The diagram illustrates another possible reason to use IPIP encapsula­ tion, virtual private networking. This example presupposes that you have two machines each with a simple dial up internet connection. Each host is allocated just a single IP address. Behind each of these machines are some private local area networks configured with reserved IP network addresses. Suppose that you want to allow any host on net­ work A to connect to any host on network B, just as if they were prop­ erly connected to the Internet with a network route. IPIP encapsula­ tion will allow you to do this. Note, encapsulation does not solve the problem of how you get the hosts on networks A and B to talk to any other on the Internet, you still need tricks like IP Masquerade for that. Encapsulation is normally performed by machine functioning as routers.

Linux router `A' would be configured with a script like the following:


       #!/bin/sh
       PATH=/sbin:/usr/sbin
       mask=255.255.255.0
       remotegw=fff.ggg.hhh.iii
       #
       # Ethernet configuration
       ifconfig eth0 192.168.1.1 netmask $mask up
       route add -net 192.168.1.0 netmask $mask eth0
       #
       # ppp0 configuration (start ppp link, set default route)
       pppd
       route add default ppp0
       #
       # Tunnel device configuration
       ifconfig tunl0 192.168.1.1 up
       route add -net 192.168.2.0 netmask $mask gw $remotegw tunl0


Linux router `B' would be configured with a similar script:


            #!/bin/sh
            PATH=/sbin:/usr/sbin
            mask=255.255.255.0
            remotegw=aaa.bbb.ccc.ddd
            #
            # Ethernet configuration
            ifconfig eth0 192.168.2.1 netmask $mask up
            route add -net 192.168.2.0 netmask $mask eth0
            #
            # ppp0 configuration (start ppp link, set default route)
            pppd
            route add default ppp0
            #
            # Tunnel device configuration
            ifconfig tunl0 192.168.2.1 up
            route add -net 192.168.1.0 netmask $mask gw $remotegw tunl0


The command:


            route add -net 192.168.1.0 netmask $mask gw $remotegw tunl0


reads: `Send any datagrams destined for 192.168.1.0/24 inside an IPIP encap datagram with a destination address of aaa.bbb.ccc.ddd'.

Note that the configurations are reciprocated at either end. The tunnel device uses the `gw' in the route as the destination of the IP datagram in which it will place the datagram it has received to route. That machine must know how to decapsulate IPIP datagrams, that is, it must also be configured with a tunnel device.

A tunneled host configuration.Edit

It doesn't have to be a whole network you route. You could for example route just a single IP address. In that instance you might configure the tunl device on the `remote' machine with its home IP address and at the A end just use a host route (and Proxy Arp) rather than a network route via the tunnel device. Let's redraw and modify our configuration appropriately. Now we have just host `B' which to want to act and behave as if it is both fully connected to the Internet and also part of the remote network supported by host `A':



      192.168.1/24

          -
          |      ppp0 =                ppp0 =
          |  aaa.bbb.ccc.ddd      fff.ggg.hhh.iii
          |
          |   /-----\                 /-----\
          |   |     |       //        |     |
          |---|  A  |------//---------|  B  |
          |   |     |     //          |     |
          |   \-----/                 \-----/
          |                      also: 192.168.1.12
          -


Linux router `A' would be configured with:


            #!/bin/sh
            PATH=/sbin:/usr/sbin
            mask=255.255.255.0
            remotegw=fff.ggg.hhh.iii
            #
            # Ethernet configuration
            ifconfig eth0 192.168.1.1 netmask $mask up
            route add -net 192.168.1.0 netmask $mask eth0
            #
            # ppp0 configuration (start ppp link, set default route)
            pppd
            route add default ppp0
            #
            # Tunnel device configuration
            ifconfig tunl0 192.168.1.1 up
            route add -host 192.168.1.12 gw $remotegw tunl0
            #
            # Proxy ARP for the remote host
            arp -s 192.168.1.12 xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx pub


Linux host `B' would be configured with:


       #!/bin/sh
       PATH=/sbin:/usr/sbin
       mask=255.255.255.0
       remotegw=aaa.bbb.ccc.ddd
       #
       # ppp0 configuration (start ppp link, set default route)
       pppd
       route add default ppp0
       #
       # Tunnel device configuration
       ifconfig tunl0 192.168.1.12 up
       route add -net 192.168.1.0 netmask $mask gw $remotegwtunl0


This sort of configuration is more typical of a Mobile-IP application. Where a single host wants to roam around the Internet and maintain a single usable IP address the whole time. You should refer to the Mobile-IP section for more information on how that is handled in practice.

Last modified on 3 January 2010, at 03:39