The host system and all virtual machines configured for host-only networking are connected to the network through a virtual switch. Typically, all the parties on this network use the TCP/IP protocol suite, although other communication protocols can be used.

A NAT configuration also sets up a private network, which must be a TCP/IP network. The virtual machines configured for NAT are connected to that network through a virtual switch. A host virtual network adapter connects the host system to the private network used for NAT. Each virtual machine and the host system must be assigned addresses on the private network.

When host-only networking is enabled at the time Workstation Pro is installed, the subnet IP address for the virtual network is automatically selected as an unused private subnet IP address. A NAT configuration also uses an unused private network automatically selected when you install Workstation Pro. The subnet number associated with a virtual network is shown in the virtual network editor.

IP addresses are typically assigned by using the virtual DHCP server included with Workstation Pro. IP addresses can also be assigned statically from a pool of addresses that the virtual DHCP server does not assign. Using DHCP to assign IP addresses is simpler and more automatic than statically assigning them. Most Windows operating systems are preconfigured to use DHCP at boot time, so Windows virtual machines can connect to the network the first time they are booted, without additional configuration.

If you want virtual machines to communicate with each other by using names instead of IP addresses, you must set up a naming convention, a name server on the private network, or both. In this case, it might be simpler to use static IP addresses.

In general, if you have virtual machines that you intend to use frequently or for extended periods of time, it is more convenient to assign static IP addresses or configure the virtual DHCP server to always assign the same IP address to each of these virtual machines. For temporary virtual machines, let the virtual DHCP allocate IP addresses.

Note: The virtual DHCP server does not service virtual or physical machines residing on bridged networks.