ROS Network Autoconfiguration

The goal of this packge is to provide automatic configuration of ROS networking for most use cases without impacting usage that require manual configuration.


While the current design does not consider IPv6 support, contributions are appreciated.


Once installed, autoconfiguration is enabled by setting the ROS_INTERFACE environment variable in ~/.bashrc or the local equivilent.

source /opt/ros/kinetic/setup.bash

setup.bash will call the environment hook installed as /opt/ros/kinetic/catkin/profile.d/ and set the ROS_IP, ROS_HOSTNAME, and ROS_MASTER_URI as needed.

Use Cases

Based on the most common use cases encountered in the field, the following networks configuration modes can be configured by setting the ROS_INTERFACE environment variable before sourcing the ROS environment.

Fully Automatic Networking


In this mode the env-hook will attempt the determine the ROS_IP by querying the routing tables for the default route.

If a VPN provides the default route, the ROS_IP will be set to the local side of the tunnel. This may prevent it from being able to connect to other hosts on the local network. If this is not the desired operation, consider Semi-automatic Networking.

This mode will also set the ROS_MASTER_URI by IP address and will update the ROS_INTERFACE variable to the detected default gateway interface.

Automatic Local Networking


In this mode the ROS_MASTER_URI and the ROS_HOSTNAME will be set to $HOSTNAME.local for Avahi zeroconf networking.

Semi-automatic Networking


This mode uses the ROS_INTERFACE to specify a network device, and will automatically set the ROS_IP and ROS_MASTER_URI based on the primary IPv4 address assigned to the specified interface. This mode is also good for cases where the robot has a telemetry link to the internet but connects to other robots over an ethernet connection that is configured via DHCP.

Manual Networking

If the IP address is static the ROS_IP, ROS_HOSTNAME, and ROS_MASTER_URI can be configured manually and the env-hook is a no-op.

Source Install

Installing from source may require something like

source $ROS_WORKSPACE/devel/setup.bash