AnyIP: Bind a whole subnet to your Linux machine

IPv6 Prefix Delegation

In my previous post I wrote how you can use Docker with IPv6 and Prefix Delegation.

A IPv6 subnet routed to a Linux machine can be used with other things than Docker. That’s where the AnyIP feature of the kernel comes in.

Linux Kernel AnyIP

The AnyIP feature of the Linux kernel allows you to bind a complete IPv4 or IPv6 subnet to your system.

Instead of adding all addresses manually to the kernel you can tell it to bind a complete subnet.



ip -4 route add local dev lo

In this case the Linux kernel will now respond to ARP requests for any IPv4 address in the subnet.


ip -6 route add local 2001:db8:100::/64 dev lo

In this case the kernel will respond for Neigh Sollicitations on any IPv6 address in the 2001:db8:100::/64 subnet.

Example usage

Let’s assume that you have the IPv6 prefix 2001:db8:100::/60 routed to your Linux machine through IPv6 prefix delegation.

From that /60 subnet we take the first /64 subnet and attach it to lo.

ip -6 route add local 2001:db8:100::/64 dev lo

You can now ping any of the addresses in that subnet:

  • 2001:db8:100::1
  • 2001:db8:100::100
  • 2001:db8:100::200
  • 2001:db8:100::dead:b33f

If you would start a webserver which listens on port 80 you can use any of the IPv6 addresses in that subnet and the webserver will respond to it.

Use cases

It could be that you want to to mass-shared hosting on a system where you want to assign each hostname/domainname it’s own IPv6 address. Instead of attaching single IPs to a interface you can simply attach a complete subnet and point traffic to any of the IPs in that subnet.


On a virtual machine on PCextreme’s Aurora Compute I deployed a Instance with Prefix Delegation enabled.

After running ‘dhclient’ I got the subnet 2a00:f10:500:40::/60 assigned to my Instance.

It was then just one line to attach a /64 subnet:

ip -6 route add local 2a00:f10:500:40::/64 dev lo

Random address generator

I wrote a small piece of Python code to generate a random IPv6 address:

#!/usr/bin/env python3
Generate a random IPv6 address for a specified subnet

from random import seed, getrandbits
from ipaddress import IPv6Network, IPv6Address

subnet = '2a00:f10:500:40::/64'

network = IPv6Network(subnet)
address = IPv6Address(network.network_address + getrandbits(network.max_prefixlen - network.prefixlen))


Using a small loop in Bash I could now ping random addresses in that subnet:

while [ true ]; do ping6 -c 2 `./`; done

Some example output:

--- 2a00:f10:500:40:d142:1092:ea84:74b4 ping statistics ---
2 packets transmitted, 2 received, 0% packet loss, time 1000ms
rtt min/avg/max/mdev = 10.252/11.680/13.108/1.428 ms
PING 2a00:f10:500:40:4e50:f264:6ea9:d184(2a00:f10:500:40:4e50:f264:6ea9:d184) 56 data bytes
64 bytes from 2a00:f10:500:40:4e50:f264:6ea9:d184: icmp_seq=1 ttl=56 time=10.0 ms
64 bytes from 2a00:f10:500:40:4e50:f264:6ea9:d184: icmp_seq=2 ttl=56 time=10.0 ms

--- 2a00:f10:500:40:4e50:f264:6ea9:d184 ping statistics ---
2 packets transmitted, 2 received, 0% packet loss, time 1000ms
rtt min/avg/max/mdev = 10.085/10.087/10.089/0.002 ms
PING 2a00:f10:500:40:d831:1f89:b06d:fe12(2a00:f10:500:40:d831:1f89:b06d:fe12) 56 data bytes
64 bytes from 2a00:f10:500:40:d831:1f89:b06d:fe12: icmp_seq=1 ttl=56 time=9.77 ms
64 bytes from 2a00:f10:500:40:d831:1f89:b06d:fe12: icmp_seq=2 ttl=56 time=10.1 ms

--- 2a00:f10:500:40:d831:1f89:b06d:fe12 ping statistics ---
2 packets transmitted, 2 received, 0% packet loss, time 1005ms
rtt min/avg/max/mdev = 9.777/9.958/10.140/0.207 ms
PING 2a00:f10:500:40:2c45:26ee:5b93:fa2(2a00:f10:500:40:2c45:26ee:5b93:fa2) 56 data bytes
64 bytes from 2a00:f10:500:40:2c45:26ee:5b93:fa2: icmp_seq=1 ttl=56 time=10.2 ms
64 bytes from 2a00:f10:500:40:2c45:26ee:5b93:fa2: icmp_seq=2 ttl=56 time=10.0 ms

Published by

Wido den Hollander

I am the CTO at PCextreme B.V. and i will keep this blog just to post some interesting information about my daily work on Linux (and other) systems.