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Understanding networking types in VMware Fusion (1022264)

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This article describes the networking options available to virtual machines in VMware Fusion.

Note: This article only provides a reference to networking types and does not offer troubleshooting or configuration steps.


There are three types of networking available to virtual machines. Each type has its own uses, behaviors and features.

Caution: Using the wrong networking type or configuration settings may result in undesirable behavior.

Bridged networking

If your Mac is on an Ethernet, wireless, or FireWire network, bridged networking is often the easiest way to give your virtual machine access to that network. With bridged networking, the virtual machine appears as an additional computer on the same physical Ethernet network as your Mac.

A virtual machine with bridged networking may use any of the services available on the network to which it is bridged, including file servers, printers, and gateways. Likewise, any physical host or other virtual machine configured with bridged networking can use resources on the virtual machine as though it were a physical computer on the same network.

The Bridged network adapter is known as vmnet0. In Fusion 3.x and later, it uses the vmnet-bridge and vmnet-netifup services.

Host-only networking

When you use this type of network connection, the virtual machine is connected to your Mac on a virtual private network, which is not generally visible outside your Mac. Multiple virtual machines configured with host-only networking on the same Mac are on the same network and can see each other.

The Host-only network adapter is known as vmnet1. In Fusion 3.x and later, it uses the vmnet-dhcpd service.

Network Address Translation (NAT) networking

If you want to connect your virtual machine to the Internet or other TCP/IP network using your Mac dial-up networking connection, or you are not able to give your virtual machine an IP address on the Mac's network, this is often the easiest way to give the virtual machine access to that network. This also allows a virtual machine to access a VPN the Mac is connected to.

The virtual machine does not have its own IP address on the external network. Instead, a separate private network is set up on your Mac. The virtual machine obtains an address on that network from the VMware virtual DHCP server. The virtual machine cannot be contacted directly by any computers or websites other than the Mac, unless the virtual machine initiates the connection.

The NAT network adapter is known as vmnet8. In Fusion 3.x and later, it uses the vmnet-natd, vmnet-dhcpd, and vmnet-netifup services.

Additional Information

To change or configure a networking type, see Connect and Set Up the Network Adapter in the VMware Fusion Help Guide.

For related information, see:


accessing-network  connection-fails-network  connect-network  network-adapter-not-visible  network-connection  network-connectivity-issues  network-hardware  network-performance  no-access-to-external-network  no-connectivity  no-network  reconfigure-networking  same-network  separate-network  virtual-network  virtual-network-not-available  virtual-network-not-connected  vm-network  vm-network-change  vm-network-performance  network-connection

See Also

Update History

08/23/2012 - Added Fusion 5.x to Product Versions. 09/09/2013 - Added VMware Fusion 6.x to Product Versions. 08/25/2014 - Update for Fusion 7.x

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To request a new product feature or to provide feedback on a VMware product, please visit the Request a Product Feature page.


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