Basic Setup

After installing FRR, some basic configuration must be completed before it is ready to use.

Daemons Configuration File

After a fresh install, starting FRR will do nothing. This is because daemons must be explicitly enabled by editing a file in your configuration directory. This file is usually located at /etc/frr/daemons and determines which daemons are activated when issuing a service start / stop command via init or systemd. The file initially looks like this:


# If this option is set the /etc/init.d/frr script automatically loads
# the config via "vtysh -b" when the servers are started.
# Check /etc/pam.d/frr if you intend to use "vtysh"!
zebra_options=" -s 90000000 --daemon -A"
bgpd_options="   --daemon -A"
ospfd_options="  --daemon -A"
ospf6d_options=" --daemon -A ::1"
ripd_options="   --daemon -A"
ripngd_options=" --daemon -A ::1"
isisd_options="  --daemon -A"
pimd_options="  --daemon -A"
ldpd_options="  --daemon -A"
nhrpd_options="  --daemon -A"
eigrpd_options="  --daemon -A"
babeld_options="  --daemon -A"
sharpd_options="  --daemon -A"
staticd_options="  --daemon -A"
pbrd_options="  --daemon -A"
bfdd_options="  --daemon -A"
fabricd_options="  --daemon -A"

# The list of daemons to watch is automatically generated by the init script.

# for debugging purposes, you can specify a "wrap" command to start instead
# of starting the daemon directly, e.g. to use valgrind on ospfd:
#   ospfd_wrap="/usr/bin/valgrind"
# or you can use "all_wrap" for all daemons, e.g. to use perf record:
#   all_wrap="/usr/bin/perf record --call-graph -"
# the normal daemon command is added to this at the end.

Breaking this file down:


To enable a particular daemon, simply change the corresponding ‘no’ to ‘yes’. Subsequent service restarts should start the daemon.


As the comment says, this causes VTYSH to apply configuration when starting the daemons. This is useful for a variety of reasons touched on in the VTYSH documentation and should generally be enabled.


This allows the operator to control the number of open file descriptors each daemon is allowed to start with. The current assumed value on most operating systems is 1024. If the operator plans to run bgp with several thousands of peers than this is where we would modify FRR to allow this to happen.

zebra_options=" -s 90000000 --daemon -A"
bgpd_options="   --daemon -A"

The next set of lines controls what options are passed to daemons when started from the service script. Usually daemons will have --daemon and -A <address> specified in order to daemonize and listen for VTY commands on a particular address.

The remaining file content regarding watchfrr_options and *_wrap settings should not normally be needed; refer to the comments in case they are.


FRR daemons have their own terminal interface or VTY. After installation, it’s a good idea to setup each daemon’s port number to connect to them. To do this add the following entries to /etc/services.

zebrasrv      2600/tcp                 # zebra service
zebra         2601/tcp                 # zebra vty
ripd          2602/tcp                 # RIPd vty
ripngd        2603/tcp                 # RIPngd vty
ospfd         2604/tcp                 # OSPFd vty
bgpd          2605/tcp                 # BGPd vty
ospf6d        2606/tcp                 # OSPF6d vty
ospfapi       2607/tcp                 # ospfapi
isisd         2608/tcp                 # ISISd vty
babeld        2609/tcp                 # BABELd vty
nhrpd         2610/tcp                 # nhrpd vty
pimd          2611/tcp                 # PIMd vty
ldpd          2612/tcp                 # LDPd vty
eigprd        2613/tcp                 # EIGRPd vty
bfdd          2617/tcp                 # bfdd vty
fabricd       2618/tcp                 # fabricd vty

If you use a FreeBSD newer than 2.2.8, the above entries are already added to /etc/services so there is no need to add it. If you specify a port number when starting the daemon, these entries may not be needed.

You may need to make changes to the config files in /etc/frr.


Although not installed when installing from source, FRR provides a service file for use with systemd. It is located in tools/frr.service in the Git repository. If systemctl status frr.service indicates that the FRR service is not found, copy the service file from the Git repository into your preferred location. A good place is usually /etc/systemd/system/.

After issuing a systemctl daemon-reload, you should be able to start the FRR service via systemctl start frr. If this fails, or no daemons are started. check the journalctl logs for an indication of what went wrong.