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VDE_SWITCH(1) General Commands Manual VDE_SWITCH(1)


vde_switch - Virtual Distributed Ethernet switch


vde_switch [ -hub ] [ -sock commdirpath ] [ -mod octal-mode ] [ -group NAME ] [ -tap interface ] [ -daemon ]


A vde_switch is a virtual switch for the vde architecture.
A vde network can include several vde_switches running on different (real) computers. vde_switches can be connected by vde cables (see vde_plug (1) ).
Supported architecture for VDE end nodes include: real linux boxes (through the tuntap interface), bochs, qemu and MPS virtual machines.
VDE is useful to create networks of heterogeneous virtual machines as well as as a general tunneling tool -- all the ethernet based protocols work by this kind of tunnel -- and also as a tool for mobility. In fact VDE creates an overlay network where users can keep their IP addresses despite of the change of IP addresses on the interfaces.

vde_switch needs root privileges to open a tap interface, can be run by users when no -tap option is specified.

vde-2 has several features: VLAN, Fast Spanning Tree Protocol, command line management (on console for foreground switches, on a terminal for daemonized switches). If a vde_switch run in foreground mode simply type return to have the prompt. For daemons there is the -M option to specify the management socket. Unixterm is the tool to start a terminal for the management. Type "help" at the prompt for a list of possible options.


turn off the switch engine. It operates as a hub.
specify the directory when comm socket are created. The default value is "/tmp/vde.ctl"
specify the octal permissions for the comm sockets.
specify the group owner for the comm socket. The default value is the current user's primary group
connect the specified tuntap interface to this vde_switch (needs root privileges) It is possible to specify several tap interfaces, comma separated.
Run as a daemon. Use syslog for logging.
rc file to set the initial switch configuration. This rc file has the same syntax of the command line interface.
help. Please use it for a more complete list of options. vde_switch is a modular program, options vary depending of the compiled-in modules.


Virtual Distributed Ethernet is not related in any way with ("Verband der Elektrotechnik, Elektronik und Informationstechnik" i.e. the German "Association for Electrical, Electronic & Information Technologies").


vde_plug(1), vde_plug2tap(1), vdeq(1), dpipe(1), unixterm(1).


VDE is a project by Renzo Davoli <>
VDE started as an enhancement of uml_switch by Jeff Dike and others. VDE-2 has been almost completely rewritten but maybe some statements come from the historical source. So, some copyright and thanks also for Dike&Co.

December 6, 2006 Virtual Distributed Ethernet