Oracle VirtualBox provides up to eight virtual PCI Ethernet cards for each virtual machine. VirtualBox can virtualize six types of networking hardware:
- AMD PCNet PCI II (Am79C970A)
- AMD PCNet FAST III (Am79C973, the default)
- Intel PRO/1000 MT Desktop (82540EM)
- Intel PRO/1000 T Server (82543GC)
- Intel PRO/1000 MT Server (82545EM)
- Paravirtualized network adapter (virtio-net)
AMD PCNet FAST III is the default hardware and it is supported by most operating systems. However, operating systems such as Microsoft Vista don’t ship by default with this driver; this is the reason why Intel PRO/1000 family adapters are chosen for this type of guest OS.
The Intel PRO/1000 MT desktop driver works with operating systems such as Microsoft Vista and later versions. For operating systems such as Microsoft XP, the T Server variant of the Intel PRO/1000 card works out of the box without additional driver installation. The MT Server variant helps to import open virtualization formats from other platforms.
The Paravirtualized network adapter (virtio-net) is special type of adapter. If you select it, VirtualBox will not virtualize common networking hardware.