You can add a network adapter (NIC) to a virtual machine to connect to a network, to enhance communications, or to replace an older adapter. When you add a NIC to a virtual machine, you select the adapter type, network connection, whether the device should connect when the virtual machine is turned on, and the bandwidth allocation.

For information about configuring the networking for virtual machine network adapters, see the vSphere Networking documentation


Required privilege: Network > Assign network on a network.


  1. Right-click a virtual machine in the inventory and select Edit Settings.
  2. From the New device drop-down menu, select Network and click Add.

    The new network adapter appears at the bottom of the device list.

  3. (Optional) Expand New Network, and change the Status settings.




    Select this option while the virtual machine is running to connect or disconnect the virtual network adapter. This check box is not available when the virtual machine is turned off.

    Connect at power on

    Select this option for the virtual network adapter to connect to the network when the virtual machine turns on. If you do not check this option, you must manually connect the adapter for the virtual machine to access the network.

  4. Select the network adapter type to use from the Adapter Type drop-down menu.
  5. (Optional) Select how to assign the MAC address from the drop-down menu.
    • Select Automatic to automatically assign a MAC address.

    • Select Manual to manually enter the MAC address that you want.

  6. From the drop-down menu next to the New Network label, select the standard or distributed port group to connect to.

    The menu lists all standard and distributed port groups that are available for virtual machine use on the host.

    If you want to provision bandwidth to the network adapter from a reserved quota by using vSphere Network I/O Control version 3, select a port group that is associated with the network resource pool that provides the quota.

    If the virtual machine runs on a Cisco UCS server, the drop-down menu also shows the port profiles that are available on the Cisco UCS Virtual Machine Fabric Extender (VM-FEX) distributed switch.

  7. If the network adapter is connected to a distributed port group of a distributed switch that has vSphere Network I/O Control version 3 enabled, allocate bandwidth to the adapter.

    You cannot allocate bandwidth to SR-IOV passthrough network adapters.

    1. From the Shares drop-down menu, set the relative priority of the traffic from this virtual machine as shares from the capacity of the connected physical adapter.
    2. In the Reservation text box, reserve a minimum bandwidth that must be available to the VM network adapter when the virtual machine is powered on.
    3. In the Limit text box, set a limit on the bandwidth that the VM network adapter can consume.
  8. If the virtual machine is connected to a port profile on a Cisco UCS Virtual Machine Fabric Extender (VM-FEX) distributed switch, to enable vSphere DirectPath I/O with vMotion, under DirectPath I/O click Enable.
  9. Click OK.