Types of virtual network adapters

You can choose between these virtual network adapter types in vSphere:

  • flexible – a virtual NIC identifies itself as a Vlance adapter, an emulated form of the AMD 79C970 PCnet32 LANCE 10 Mbps NIC with drivers available in most 32-bit guest operating system. If VMware Tools is installed, this virtual NIC functions as the higher-performance vmxnet adapter, a virtual network adapter optimized for performance in a virtual machine.
  • e1000 – an emulated version of the Intel 82545EM Gigabit Ethernet NIC. The driver for this NIC is found in many modern guest operating sytems, including Windows XP and Linux version 2.4.19 and later. The default adapter type for virtual machines running 64-bit guest operating systems.
  • e1000e – an emulated version of the Intel 82574L Gigabit Ethernet NIC. This adapter type can be chosen on Windows 8 guest operating systems and newer.
  • vmxnet2 (Enhanced vmxnet) – based on the vmxnet adapter but offers some high-performance features such as jumbo frames and hardware offload support.
  • vmxnet3 – the latest version of a paravirtualized driver designed for performance and offers such high-performance features such as jumbo frames, hardware offloads, support for multiqueue, IPv6 offloads, etc. vmxnet3 devices support fault tolerance and record/replay. This virtual network adapter type is available only on virtual machines with hardware version 7 or later. VMware Tools is required to provide the driver.

The virtual network adapter type is chosen during the virtual machine creation:

choosing virtual network adapter type

Whenever possible, use vmxnet3.
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