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Ethernet Address (MAC) Handling
There are a variety of places in U-Boot where the MAC address is used, parsed,
and stored. This document covers proper usage of each location and the moving
of data between them.
Here are the places where MAC addresses might be stored:
- board-specific location (eeprom, dedicated flash, ...)
Note: only used when mandatory due to hardware design etc...
- environment ("ethaddr", "eth1addr", ...) (see CONFIG_ETHADDR)
Note: this is the preferred way to permanently store MAC addresses
- ethernet data (struct eth_device -> enetaddr)
Note: these are temporary copies of the MAC address which exist only
after the respective init steps have run and only to make usage
in other places easier (to avoid constant env lookup/parsing)
- struct bd_info and/or device tree
Note: these are temporary copies of the MAC address only for the
purpose of passing this information to an OS kernel we are about
to boot
If the hardware design mandates that the MAC address is stored in some special
place (like EEPROM etc...), then the board specific init code (such as the
board-specific misc_init_r() function) is responsible for locating the MAC
address(es) and initializing the respective environment variable(s) from it.
Note that this shall be done if, and only if, the environment does not already
contain these environment variables, i.e. existing variable definitions must
not be overwritten.
During runtime, the ethernet layer will use the environment variables to sync
the MAC addresses to the ethernet structures. All ethernet driver code should
then only use the enetaddr member of the eth_device structure. This is done
on every network command, so the ethernet copies will stay in sync.
Any other code that wishes to access the MAC address should query the
environment directly. The helper functions documented below should make
working with this storage much smoother.
To assist in the management of these layers, a few helper functions exist. You
should use these rather than attempt to do any kind of parsing/manipulation
yourself as many common errors have arisen in the past.
* void eth_parse_enetaddr(const char *addr, uchar *enetaddr);
Convert a string representation of a MAC address to the binary version.
char *addr = "00:11:22:33:44:55";
uchar enetaddr[6];
eth_parse_enetaddr(addr, enetaddr);
/* enetaddr now equals { 0x00, 0x11, 0x22, 0x33, 0x44, 0x55 } */
* int eth_getenv_enetaddr(char *name, uchar *enetaddr);
Look up an environment variable and convert the stored address. If the address
is valid, then the function returns 1. Otherwise, the function returns 0. In
all cases, the enetaddr memory is initialized. If the env var is not found,
then it is set to all zeros. The common function is_valid_ether_addr() is used
to determine address validity.
uchar enetaddr[6];
if (!eth_getenv_enetaddr("ethaddr", enetaddr)) {
/* "ethaddr" is not set in the environment */
... try and setup "ethaddr" in the env ...
/* enetaddr is now set to the value stored in the ethaddr env var */
* int eth_setenv_enetaddr(char *name, const uchar *enetaddr);
Store the MAC address into the named environment variable. The return value is
the same as the setenv() function.
uchar enetaddr[6] = { 0x00, 0x11, 0x22, 0x33, 0x44, 0x55 };
eth_setenv_enetaddr("ethaddr", enetaddr);
/* the "ethaddr" env var should now be set to "00:11:22:33:44:55" */
* the %pM format modifier
The %pM format modifier can be used with any standard printf function to format
the binary 6 byte array representation of a MAC address.
uchar enetaddr[6] = { 0x00, 0x11, 0x22, 0x33, 0x44, 0x55 };
printf("The MAC is %pM\n", enetaddr);
char buf[20];
sprintf(buf, "%pM", enetaddr);
/* the buf variable is now set to "00:11:22:33:44:55" */