I had several folks ask me about an updated USB 3.0 Ethernet Driver for ESXi 6.5, similiar to what I had created for ESXi 5.5 and 6.0. There were some changes that came with ESXi 6.5 and thanks to Songtao, I was able to build a new driver. For those of you who are not familiar with this particular driver, I highly recommend you give this article here a read before proceeding any further. If you are interested in Realtek driver for ESXi 6.5, be sure to check out Jose's blog here for more info.

To to use this new driver for ESXi 6.5, there are some additional steps that is required. Below are the instructions on how to install this on an ESXi 6.5 host.

Step 0 - Download the ESXi 6.5 USB Ethernet Adapter Driver VIB or ESXi 6.5 USB Ethernet Adapter Driver Offline Bundle and upload it to your ESXi host.

Step 1 - If you are upgrading from an existing ESXi 5.5 or 6.0 environment, the first thing you will want to do is uninstall the old driver by running the following command (specify the correct name of the driver):

esxcli software vib remove -n vghetto-ax88179-esxi60u2

If you have a fresh install of ESXi 6.5, jump straight to Step 2.

Step 2 - Install the VIB by running the following ESXCLI command to install:

esxcli software vib install -v /vghetto-ax88179-esxi65.vib -f

Step 3 - Next, you will need to disable the USB native driver to be able to use this driver. To do so, run the following command:

esxcli system module set -m=vmkusb -e=FALSE

Step 4 - Lastly, for the changes to go into effect, you will need to reboot your ESXi host. Once your system has rebooted, it should now automatically load the USB Ethernet driver and you should see your USB Ethernet Adapter as shown in the screenshot below.


7 thoughts on “USB 3.0 Ethernet Adapter (NIC) driver for ESXi 6.5

  1. Great stuff William.

    Just one point: With the acceptance level changed to CommunitySupported, on both 6.0 and 6.5 the -f flag is not required.

    It is quite annoying that the force flag is required for ESXi 51/5.5 as it interferes with any other VIB installations, including updates to the embedded host client…

  2. Thanks for this. Tested as working on 4th gen Intel NUC with a Vantec adapter. Is there a way to automatically disable the USB native driver if we want to add the USB 3.0 Ethernet Adapter VIB to a custom ISO?

  3. Does this mean that it is mutually exclusive to enable both usb bus for an esx boot and the usb to ethernet adapter?


  4. William thanks for the great info and driver support. I did use the earlier version when I built my first NUC 6th Gen and all went well running ver6.0. Now I am planning to upgrade to 6.5 and still new to managing the esx environment. You show above how to uninstall the old driver and install the new for 6.5. My two questions I have are this, should those steps be done pre or post upgrade to 6.5 from 6.0? And second question which I could probable search for and find elsewhere but I will still ask, I have run upgrades before only from local keyboard,screen and booting from cdrom. Can you share the steps to do the upgrade to 6.5 from 6.0 remotely if possible or a link to an article post you like or wrote that shows those steps for newbs like myself? Thanks again.

Thanks for the comment!