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I've inherited administration duties for a firewall/gateway server, and I'm trying to understand what a particular static route setup in rc.local means:

route add
route add

Obviously, the IP addresses have been changed to protect the innocent.

What does this mean, and why is it routed this way?

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

It means packets for will go via and packets for will go via

  • Since the advent of CIDR, netmasks indicate the length of the prefix - technically any IP in the network can be used, but by convention the non-masked bits are set to 0, which is why 'network addresses' are always on even numbers.

  • Most specific wins - /32 is more specific (longer) than /30, so it takes precedence over the /30.

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First line: packets to hosts at are routed via, except (second line) for packets to, which are routed via

However, I suspect a anonymization error, if you really define a /30 network, the first address (same ip/32) is the "network"-address, which doesn't really get packets. It could also be, that someone tries to route a slice out of a bigger subnet differently, but it smells funny...

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it's not the network-address it's the broadcast address... odd numbers are as far as I know never net addresses. A better notation for the network would be – Marcel G Sep 29 '10 at 1:06
The IP addresses were chosen for obfuscation purposes, I didn't realize that the oddness/evenness would be such a red herring to people. – Chris R Sep 30 '10 at 14:42

Are the "" addresses really the exact same in the setup you are debugging - or are they slightly different?

Assuming they are different - the first line means that anything in the network defined by should be forwarded to The second line means the specific IP address should be forwarded to

As to why - we'd need more context.

  • Can you tell me the last octet (the last .123) specifically - what exactly is it in your situation. Having two of htem the same with two different netmasks is a bit weird, and could mean a couple of different things....
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They're the same, exactly. – Chris R Sep 28 '10 at 22:18
What context might you need to answer these questions? And what does it mean when the two IPs are the same? – Chris R Sep 28 '10 at 22:20

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