In Ubuntu or Debian, information on network interface configuration is stored in /etc/network/interfaces. If you modify /etc/network/interfaces to reconfigure any interface, you need to reload it so that the new configuration can take effect.
Here is how you can reload /etc/network/interfaces.
One caveat: If NetworkManager is installed and enabled on your system, it will interfere with you reloading /etc/network/interfaces. On Ubuntu Desktop, for example, NetworkManager is enabled by default. Thus you first need to disable NetworkManager before attempting to reload /etc/network/interfaces.
To disable NetworkManager, do the following.
$ sudo update-rc.d NetworkManager remove
If you don't want to disable NetworkManager, another option is to edit NetworkManager configuration, and add "managed=false" as follows. Then, restart NetworkManager.
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