Sending raw Ethernet frames from Python

By Christian Stigen Larsen
06 Jun 2016

Sometimes you just need to send raw Ethernet frames directly on the network. Seriously, it has its uses: Perhaps you're constructing your own non-IP network for research or performance, you need to interface with some weird device on the local network, or you're just playing around for fun. I used it extensively while researching use of OpenFlow with Mininet.

Anyway, here's how to do it from Python. You most likely need to run the program as superuser, or else you won't be able to inject Ethernet frames on the network interface card.

There really isn't anything to it. Just create a raw socket and paste the bytes. The only thing to note is the argument to bind.

from socket import *

def send_ether(src, dst, type, payload, interface="eth0"):
  # 48-bit Ethernet addresses
  assert(len(src) == len(dst) == 6)

  # 16-bit Ethernet type
  assert(len(type) == 2) # 16-bit Ethernet type

  s = socket(AF_PACKET, SOCK_RAW)
  s.bind((interface, 0))
  return s.send(dst + src + type + payload)

Here's a full example using IPv4 + ICMP PING REQ payload:

"""Demonstrates how to construct and send raw Ethernet packets on the

You probably need root privs to be able to bind to the network interface,

    $ sudo python

from socket import *

def sendeth(ethernet_packet, payload, interface = "eth0"):
  """Send raw Ethernet packet on interface."""
  s = socket(AF_PACKET, SOCK_RAW)

  # From the docs: "For raw packet
  # sockets the address is a tuple (ifname, proto [,pkttype [,hatype]])"
  s.bind((interface, 0))
  return s.send(ethernet_packet + payload)

def pack(byte_sequence):
  """Convert list of bytes to byte string."""
  return b"".join(map(chr, byte_sequence))

if __name__ == "__main__":
      # Note that this example contains HARDCODED packets, meaning that
      # it will ONLY work on the system it was designed for.

      # I got these values by sending a ping while running Wireshark.
      # You can do so yourself.  Another way to construct these manually is to use
      # the impacket library (sudo pip install impacket)

      # src=fe:ed:fa:ce:be:ef, dst=52:54:00:12:35:02, type=0x0800 (IP)
      ethernet_packet = [0x52, 0x54, 0x00, 0x12, 0x35, 0x02, 0xfe, 0xed, 0xfa,
                         0xce, 0xbe, 0xef, 0x08, 0x00]

      # src=, dst= (, checksum, etc.
      ipv4_header = [0x45, 0x00, 0x00, 0x54, 0x05, 0x9f, 0x40, 0x00, 0x40, 0x01,
                     0x2f, 0x93, 0x0a, 0x00, 0x02, 0x0f, 0xc3, 0x58, 0x36, 0x10]

      # echo (ping) request, checksum 2b45, etc
      icmp_ping = [0x08, 0x00, 0x2b, 0x45, 0x11, 0x22, 0x00, 0x02, 0xa9, 0xf4, 0x5c,
                   0x53, 0x00, 0x00, 0x00, 0x00, 0xf5, 0x7b, 0x01, 0x00, 0x00, 0x00,
                   0x00, 0x00, 0x10, 0x11, 0x12, 0x13, 0x14, 0x15, 0x16, 0x17, 0x18,
                   0x19, 0x1a, 0x1b, 0x1c, 0x1d, 0x1e, 0x1f, 0x20, 0x21, 0x22, 0x23,
                   0x24, 0x25, 0x26, 0x27, 0x28, 0x29, 0x2a, 0x2b, 0x2c, 0x2d, 0x2e,
                   0x2f, 0x30, 0x31, 0x32, 0x33, 0x34, 0x35, 0x36, 0x37]

      payload = "".join(map(chr, ipv4_header + icmp_ping))

      # Construct Ethernet packet with an IPv4 ICMP PING request as payload
      r = sendeth(pack(ethernet_packet),
                  pack(ipv4_header + icmp_ping))
      print("Sent Ethernet w/IPv4 ICMP PING payload of length %d bytes" % r)