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(Network) Tunneling is a way to (securely??) access another network (possibly your employers) over an insecure network, like the Internet.

Re "(securely??)" — could running the experiment in the example below using telnet instead of ssh be considered tunneling? (I suspect it could, at least in the sense that some vendor somewhere, would, if he thought of it and had nothing better, would say that he (his product) can do tunneling.



Thanks to Stuart Boreen and Chris Hever for getting me to try this, thus experiencing a tunnel for the first time.

ToDo (?): Change the computer names, accounts, and IP addresses to maket the example more clear -- perhaps include the -l parameter in the example.

Assume two computers running Linux and on a LAN, system5 at (with user account dad) and system8 at (with user account dad, but could be anything by adding the -l parameter to the ssh command):

(oops, I'm making some other implicit assumptions here, and I'm not sure which are critical to the success of this experiment -- to give an overview, system5 and system8 are both running Linux distros (Mandrake 9 and Mandrake 7.2, respectively), with X and a window manager running -- if X were not running on system8 we'd have to add other steps to this example to get X running (in an appropriate way??))

  • On system8, log in as dad
  • Take note of the prompt
  • Issue the command ssh dad@192PLEASENOSPAM.168.0.5 (or @system5 if you have a DNS on your LAN or you have system5 in your hosts file on system8) (oops -- don't think the following applies: if the user account on system5 is something other than dad, add the -l parameter — generically,  =ssh -l <username> <username>@<IP_address> (on my LAN)
  • Take note of the prompt -- what do you notice? (sorry, I suppose I should tell you -- maybe in the next revision)
  • Start an X based program, for instance xterm (or mozilla -- but you could run into problems if mozilla is already running on system5 -- those problems are unrelated to this experiment, but may add to any confusion you may have)

Now, as Bob Zeman would say: "think about it" -- you now have an xterm running on system5, but its display is on system8, and all the X protocol data between system5 and system8 is encrypted by ssh. Ladies and gentlemen, I think we have a tunnel.

This is one of a group of experiments / examples that I intend to include on Wikilearn to help others learn the capabilities of X (and Linux). To find the others, start at XWindow.

I also tried to ssh to things like the pop3, smtp, or imap ports (using, e.g., -p 110, and trying things like the -l option) -- no luck -- can it be done, or can it be done only with telnet?



Read up on ifconfig -- there are some options that specifically refer to tunneling. (Try a google search on [ifconfig HOWTO].)


See ResourceRecommendations. Feel free to add additional resources to these lists, but please follow the guidelines on ResourceRecommendations including ResourceRecommendations#Guidelines_for_Rating_Resources.


Recommended for Specific Needs

Recommended by Others

  • (rhk) [[][]]; ; -

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Not Recommended

  • (rhk) [[][]]; ; -


  • () RandyKramer - 26 Feb 2003
  • <If you edit this page: add your name here; move this to the next line; and include your comment marker (initials), if you have created one, in parenthesis before your WikiName.>

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Topic revision: r5 - 2003-04-30 - RandyKramer
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