PPPOECTL(8) BSD System Manager's Manual PPPOECTL(8)
pppoectl, ipppctl -- display or set parameters for an pppoe or isdn ppp
pppoectl [-v] ifname [parameter[=value]] [...]
ipppctl [-v] ifname [parameter[=value]] [...]
pppoectl -e ethernet-ifname [-s service-name]
[-a access-concentrator-name] [-d] [-n 1 | 2] ifname
pppoectl -f config-file ifname [...]
There are two basic modes of operation: configuring security related
parameters and attaching a PPPoE interface to its ethernet interface,
optionally passing in additional parameters for the PPPoE encapsulation.
The later usage is indicated by the presence of the -e option, which
takes the name of the ethernet interface as its argument.
-e specifies the ethernet interface used to communicate with the
access concentrator (typically via a DSL modem).
-a specifies the name of the access concentrator.
-s specifies the name of the service connected to.
-d dump the current connection state information (this parameter is
typically used alone, for informational purposes, not during
-n 1 | 2
print the IP address of the primary or secondary DNS name server
for this PPP connection. This is only available if DNS query is
enabled, see query-dns.
-f parse config-file ignoring lines starting with a # for
parameter[=value] pairs, one per line, as if they had been speci-
fied on the command line. This allows the password to be not
passed as a command line argument.
Typically, not both the access concentrator name and the service name are
The ippp(4) or the pppoe(4) drivers require a number of additional argu-
ments or optional parameters besides the settings that can be adjusted
with ifconfig(8). These are things like authentication protocol parame-
ters, but also other tunable configuration variables. The pppoectl util-
ity can be used to display the current settings, or adjust these parame-
ters as required.
For whatever intent pppoectl is being called, at least the parameter
ifname needs to be specified, naming the interface for which the settings
are to be performed or displayed. Use ifconfig(8) or netstat(1) to see
which interfaces are available.
If no other parameter is given, pppoectl will just list the current set-
tings for ifname and exit. The reported settings include the current PPP
phase the interface is in, which can be one of the names dead, establish,
authenticate, network, or terminate. If an authentication protocol is
configured for the interface, the name of the protocol to be used, as
well as the system name to be used or expected will be displayed, plus
any possible options to the authentication protocol if applicable. Note
that the authentication secrets (sometimes also called keys) are not
being returned by the underlying system call, and are thus not displayed.
If any additional parameter is supplied, superuser privileges are
required, and the command works in 'set' mode. This is normally done
quietly, unless the option -v is also enabled, which will cause a final
printout of the settings as described above once all other actions have
been taken. Use of this mode will be rejected if the interface is cur-
rently in any other phase than dead. Note that you can force an inter-
face into dead phase by calling ifconfig(8) with the parameter 'down'.
The currently supported parameters include:
authproto=protoname Set both his and my authentication protocol to
protoname. The protocol name can be one of
'chap', 'pap', or 'none'. In the latter case,
the use of an authentication protocol will be
turned off for the named interface. This has
the side-effect of clearing the other authen-
tication-related parameters for this interface
as well (i. e., system name and authentica-
tion secret will be forgotten).
myauthproto=protoname Same as above, but only for my end of the
link. I.e., this is the protocol when remote
is authenticator, and I am the peer required
hisauthproto=protoname Same as above, but only for his end of the
myauthname=name Set my system name for the authentication pro-
hisauthname=name Set his system name for the authentication
protocol. For CHAP, this will only be used as
a hint, causing a warning message if remote
did supply a different name. For PAP, it's
the name remote must use to authenticate him-
self (in connection with his secret).
myauthsecret=secret Set my secret (key, password) for use in the
authentication phase. For CHAP, this will be
used to compute the response hash value, based
on remote's challenge. For PAP, it will be
transmitted as plaintext together with the
system name. Don't forget to quote the
secrets from the shell if they contain shell
metacharacters (or whitespace).
myauthkey=secret Same as above.
hisauthsecret=secret Same as above, to be used if we are authenti-
cator and the remote peer needs to authenti-
hisauthkey=secret Same as above.
callin Require remote to authenticate himself only
when he's calling in, but not when we are
caller. This is required for some peers that
do not implement the authentication protocols
symmetrically (like Ascend routers, for exam-
always The opposite of callin. Require remote to
always authenticate, regardless of which side
is placing the call. This is the default, and
will not be explicitly displayed in 'list'
norechallenge Only meaningful with CHAP. Do not re-chal-
lenge peer once the initial CHAP handshake was
successful. Used to work around broken peer
implementations that can't grok being re-chal-
lenged once the connection is up.
rechallenge With CHAP, send re-challenges at random inter-
vals while the connection is in network phase.
(The intervals are currently in the range of
300 through approximately 800 seconds.) This
is the default, and will not be explicitly
displayed in 'list' mode.
idle-timeout=idle-seconds For services that are charged by connection
time the interface can optionally disconnect
after a configured idle time. If set to 0,
this feature is disabled. Note: for ISDN
devices, it is preferable to use the isdnd(8)
based timeout mechanism, as isdnd can predict
the next charging unit for ISDN connections
and optimize the timeout with this informa-
lcp-timeout=timeout-value Allows to change the value of the LCP timeout.
The default value of the LCP timeout is cur-
rently set to 1 second. The timeout-value
must be specified in milliseconds.
max-noreceive=sec Sets the number of seconds after last recep-
tion of data from the peer before the line
state is probed by sending LCP echo requests.
The sec interval is not used verbatim, the
first echo request might be delayed upto 10
seconds after the configured interval.
max-alive-missed=count Sets the number of unanswered LCP echo
requests that we will tolerate before consid-
ering a connection to be dead. LCP echo
requests are sent in 10 seconds interval after
the configured max-noreceive interval has
passed with no data received from the peer.
max-auth-failure=count Since some ISPs disable accounts after too
many unsuccessful authentication attempts,
there is a maximum number of authentication
failures before we will stop retrying without
manual intervention. Manual intervention is
either changing the authentication data (name,
password) or setting the maximum retry count.
If count is set to 0 this feature is disabled.
clear-auth-failure If an authentication failure has been caused
by remote problems and you want to retry con-
necting using unchanged local settings, this
command can be used to reset the failure count
query-dns=flags During PPP protocol negotiation we can query
the peer for addresses of two name servers.
If flags is 1 only the first server address
will be requested, if flags is 2 the second
will be requested. Setting flags to 3 queries
The result of the negotiation can be retrieved
with the -n option.
# ipppctl ippp0
hisauthproto=chap hisauthname="ifb-gw" norechallenge
lcp timeout: 3.000 s
Display the settings for ippp0. The interface is currently in dead
phase, i.e. the LCP layer is down, and no traffic is possible. Both ends
of the connection use the CHAP protocol, my end tells remote the system
name 'uriah', and remote is expected to authenticate by the name
'ifb-gw'. Once the initial CHAP handshake was successful, no further
CHAP challenges will be transmitted. There are supposedly some known
CHAP secrets for both ends of the link which are not being shown.
# ipppctl ippp0 \
myauthname=uriah myauthsecret='some secret' \
hisauthname=ifb-gw hisauthsecret='another' \
A possible call to pppoectl that could have been used to bring the inter-
face into the state shown by the previous example.
The following example is the complete sequence of commands to bring a
PPPoE connection up:
# Need ethernet interface UP (or it won't send any packets)
ifconfig ne0 up
# Let pppoe0 use ne0 as its ethernet interface
pppoectl -e ne0 pppoe0
# Configure authentication
pppoectl pppoe0 \
# Configure the pppoe0 interface itself. These addresses are magic,
# meaning we don't care about either address and let the remote
# ppp choose them.
ifconfig pppoe0 0.0.0.0 0.0.0.1 netmask 0xffffffff up
netstat(1), ippp(4), pppoe(4), ifconfig(8), ifwatchd(8)
B. Lloyd and W. Simpson, PPP Authentication Protocols, RFC 1334.
W. Simpson, Editor, The Point-to-Point Protocol (PPP), RFC 1661.
W. Simpson, PPP Challenge Handshake Authentication Protocol (CHAP), RFC
L. Mamakos, K. Lidl, J. Evarts, D. Carrel, D. Simone, and R. Wheeler, A
Method for Transmitting PPP Over Ethernet (PPPoE), RFC 2516.
The pppoectl utility is based on the spppcontrol utility which appeared
in FreeBSD 3.0.
The program was written by Joerg Wunsch, Dresden, and modified for PPPoE
support by Martin Husemann.
BSD October 2, 2003 BSD