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I upgraded my system from Debian 6 to Debian 7.3 yesterday.

After rebooting, I chose the new kernel linux-image-3.2.0-4-amd64 and the network became unavailable.

I tried sudo service networking restart and got the following errors:

RTNETLINK answers: File exists
Failed to bring up eth0.

I only setup for eth0. Here's my /etc/network/interfaces.:

auto lo eth0
iface lo inet loopback

iface eth0 inet static
    address x.x.x.x
    gateway x.x.x.x

and the routing table is empty sudo route -n:

Kernel IP routing table
Destination     Gateway         Genmask         Flags Metric Ref    Use Iface

However, the old kernel 2.6.32-5-amd64 x86_64 still works.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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I finally found the reason. The firmware of the NIB is missing. Just added contrib and non-free branch in /etc/apt/sources.list then update again. After rebooting, the network is available. – Catlikethief Jan 23 '14 at 7:41

Check if the new kernal can see the interface with :

ifconfig -a

if the interface is listed, check it's name,

then assign an ip manually, assuming the name is eth0

ifconfig eth0 IP_ADDRESS netmask NET_MASK

example: ifconfig eth0 netmask

add default gw, assuming the gateway is

route add default gw

This is just a temp solution.

share|improve this answer
In new kernel, the ip and netmask were set correctly on system startup. If I tried to assign an IP manually, it gives the error SIOCSIFFLAGS: No such file or directory. Adding gateway gives the error SIOCADDRT: no such process. – Catlikethief Jan 9 '14 at 4:09

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