I have a tool that replays traffic from a .pcap file and another tool that interprets that traffic. For testing purposes, I need to play traffic out one interface and have it come in another. Obviously I could simply attach a crossover cable between two of my NICs, but surely there's a better way I could do this from within Linux? I've tried using a loopback interface (play traffic out lo, interpret traffic from lo) but it didn't work.

Is there a way that I could create virtual interfaces, and then bridge the two virtual interfaces? Ideally I would be able to play traffic out 'virt-eth1' and have my other tool listening on 'virt-eth2'. When the traffic is sent to virt-eth1, it should be bridged and come in on virt-eth2. What happens from there is of no consequence.

  • Could you use virtual machine (e.g. KVM, Virtualbox)?
    – kupson
    Commented Mar 1, 2012 at 20:48

1 Answer 1


I think what you are needing to use here are TUN/TAP interfaces. Install tunctl (package for CentOS) and then you can start creating virtual network interfaces:

tunctl -t tap0
ifconfig tap0 up

More info here: http://backreference.org/2010/03/26/tuntap-interface-tutorial/

Tun/tap interfaces are a feature offered by Linux (and probably by other UNIX-like operating systems) that can do userspace networking, that is, allow userspace programs to see raw network traffic (at the ethernet or IP level) and do whatever they like with it. This document attempts to explain how tun/tap interfaces work under Linux, with some sample code to demonstrate their usage.

As I recall, when using the loopback interface, that doesn't work properly with PCAP libraries because it's not actually a "real" interface (or certainly not seen as a real one by the system). It doesn't even have a MAC address if you run ifconfig on it. But, TUN/TAP interfaces do, and for the purpose of what you're trying to do, it may just be the solution you're looking for (no creating extra virtual machines etc required).

I also suspect you'll be able to accomplish your task with just one tap interface (no bridging between 2 required). Simply have your first process bind onto the virtual interface and write the traffic, then have the secondary one bind onto it, reading the traffic.


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