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Available Network Adapters in a VMware VM

Written by . Posted in What is

The following network adapters may be available for your virtual machine:

  • Vlance — An emulated version of the AMD 79C970 PCnet32 LANCE NIC, an older 10 Mbps NIC with drivers available in most 32bit guest operating systems except Windows Vista and later. A virtual machine configured with this network adapter can use its network immediately.

  • VMXNET — The VMXNET virtual network adapter has no physical counterpart. VMXNET is optimized for performance in a virtual machine. Because operating system vendors do not provide built-in drivers for this card, you must install VMware Tools to have a driver for the VMXNET network adapter available.

  • Flexible — The Flexible network adapter identifies itself as a Vlance adapter when a virtual machine boots, but initializes itself and functions as either a Vlance or a VMXNET adapter, depending on which driver initializes it. With VMware Tools installed, the VMXNET driver changes the Vlance adapter to the higher performance VMXNET adapter.

  • E1000 — An emulated version of the Intel 82545EM Gigabit Ethernet NIC, with drivers available in most newer guest operating systems, including Windows XP and later and Linux versions 2.4.19 and later.

  • VMXNET 2 (Enhanced) — The VMXNET 2 adapter is based on the VMXNET adapter but provides some high-performance features commonly used on modern networks, such as jumbo frames and hardware offloads. This virtual network adapter is available only for some guest operating systems on ESX/ESXi 3.5 and later.

    VMXNET 2 is supported only for a limited set of guest operating systems:
    • 32 and 64bit versions of Microsoft Windows 2003 (Enterprise and Datacenter Editions). You can use enhanced VMXNET adapters with other versions of the Microsoft Windows 2003 operating system, but a workaround is required to enable the option in VMware Infrastructure (VI) Client or vSphere Client. See Enabling enhanced vmxnet adapters for Microsoft Windows Server 2003 (1007195) if Enhanced VMXNET is not offered as an option.
    • 32bit version of Microsoft Windows XP Professional
    • 32 and 64bit versions of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.0
    • 32 and 64bit versions of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10
    • 64bit versions of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4.0
    • 64bit versions of Ubuntu Linux

  • VMXNET 3 — The VMXNET 3 adapter is the next generation of a paravirtualized NIC designed for performance, and is not related to VMXNET or VMXNET 2. It offers all the features available in VMXNET 2, and adds several new features like multiqueue support (also known as Receive Side Scaling in Windows), IPv6 offloads, and MSI/MSI-X interrupt delivery.

    VMXNET 3 is supported only for virtual machines version 7 and later, with a limited set of guest operating systems:
    • 32 and 64bit versions of Microsoft Windows XP and later
    • 32 and 64bit versions of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.0 and later
    • 32 and 64bit versions of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 and later
    • 32 and 64bit versions of Asianux 3 and later
    • 32 and 64bit versions of Debian 4/Ubuntu 7.04 and later
    • 32/64bit versions of Sun Solaris 10 U4 and later
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