In this example the router has three interfaces:
eth0for the local network, rfc1918
eth1is a broadband connection (default gateway) with a volatile ip address
ppp0is a narrow band connection (e.g. gprs, umts, ..) with a volatile ip address
All interfaces are always-on.
For accessing the router and/or the local network from outside, the router connects to a vpn server which distributes the routes to other vpn clients.
In case of losing
eth1 we still want to be able to connect to the router and/or the local network. That's what
ppp0 is for.
You can define up to 252 custom routing tables in Linux (three tables are pre-defined). These can be referred either by a number or their corresponding mapping:
$ grep '^[^#]' /etc/iproute2/rt_tables 255 local 254 main 253 default 0 unspec
See also linux routing tables.
The default routing table Linux uses is
default, as one would suspect). The
local table is usually not for fscking around with, it is handled by the kernel and contains loopback addresses, broadcasts, etc.
Lower priority tables (up to
253) can be used (almost) for whatever you like. When Linux looks for a route to a specific address, it walks through all tables beginning with
255 and stops at the first match.
Routes to more specific targets override routes to less specific ones, e.g.
192.168.0.0/16. So setting a route to
ppp0 would override the default route and the vpn connection would be established using the narrow band upstream. We don't want that.
Overriding only works within a single table. And that's what multitable routing is about: we set up a specific route in table
253, in this case a route to the vpn server via
ppp0 without overriding the default gateway in table
$ ip route add 188.8.131.52/32 dev ppp0 table default
That's it. As simple as that. Check it:
$ ip route ls default via 10.255.255.1 dev eth1 10.64.64.64 dev ppp0 proto kernel scope link src 10.123.123.123 10.255.255.0/30 dev eth1 proto kernel scope link src 10.255.255.2 10.2.2.0/24 dev eth0 proto kernel scope link src 10.2.2.1 $ ip route ls table default 184.108.40.206 dev ppp0 scope link $ ip route get 220.127.116.11 18.104.22.168 via 10.255.255.1 dev eth1 src 10.255.255.2 cache
eth1 goes down, the
main routing table entries regarding
eth1 get cleared and the default route vanishes. When trying to connect to the vpn server Linux finds a matching routing entry in table