Earlier this month I wrote an article demonstrating a functional USB ethernet adapter for ESXi 5.1. This was made possible by using a custom built driver for ESXi that was created over three years ago by a user named Trickstarter. After having re-discovered the thread several years later, I had tried reaching out to the user but concluded that he/she has probably moved on given the lack of forum activity in the recent years. Over the last few weeks I have been investigating to see if it was possible to compile a new version of the driver that would function with newer versions of ESXi such as our 5.5 and 6.0 release.

UPDATE (01/22/17) - For details on using a USB-C / Thunderbolt 3 Ethernet Adapter, please see this post here.

UPDATE (11/17/16) - New driver has been updated for ESXi 6.5, please find the details here.

After reaching out to a few folks internally, I was introduced to Songtao Zheng, a VMware Engineer who works on some of our USB code base. Songtao was kind enough to provide some of assistance in his spare time to help with this non-sanction effort that I was embarking on. Today, I am please to announce that we now have a functional USB ethernet adapter driver based on the ASIX AX88179 that works for both ESXi 5.5 and 6.0. This effort could not have been possible without Songtao and I just want to say thank you very much for all of your help and contributions. I think it is safe to say that the overall VMware community also thanks you for your efforts. This new capability will definitely enable new use cases for vSphere home labs that were never possible before when using platforms such as the Intel NUC or Apple Mac Mini for example. Thank you Songtao! I would also like to extend an additional thank you to Jose Gomes, one of my readers, who has also been extremely helpful with his feedback as well as assistance on testing the new drivers.

Now, Before jumping into the goods, I do want to mention there are a few caveats to be aware of and that I think it is important to understand them before making any purchasing decisions.

  • First and foremost, this is NOT officially supported by VMware, use at your own risk.
  • Secondly, we have observed there is a substantial difference in transfer speeds between Transmit (Egress) and Receive (Ingress) traffic which may or may not be acceptable depending on your workload. On Receive, the USB network adapter is performing close to a native gigabit interface. However, on Transmit, the bandwidth mysteriously drops by ~50% which includes very inconsistent transfer speeds. We are not exactly sure why this is the case, but given ESXi does not officially support USB based ethernet adapters, it is possible that the underlying infrastructure was never optimized for such devices. YMMV
  • Lastly, for the USB ethernet adapter to properly function, you will need a system that supports USB 3.0 which kind of makes sense for this type of a solution to be beneficial in the home lab. If you have a system with USB 2.0, the device will probably not work at least from testing that we have done.

Note: For those interested in the required source code changes to build the AX88179 driver, I have published all of the details on my Github repo here.

Disclaimer: In case you some how missed it, this is not officially supported by VMware. Use at your own risk.

Without further ado, here are the USB 3.0 gigabit ethernet adapters that are supported with the two drivers:

Note: There may be other USB ethernet adapters that uses the same chipset which could also leverage this driver but these are the only two that have been verified.

Here are the ESXi driver VIB downloads:

Note: Although the drivers were compiled against a specific version of ESXi, they should also work on the same major version of ESXi, but I have not done that level of testing and YMMV.

Verify USB 3.0 Support

As mentioned earlier, you will need a system that is USB 3.0 capable to be able to use the USB ethernet adapter. If you are unsure, you can plug in a USB 3.0 device and run the following command to check:


What you will be looking for is an entry stating "Linux Foundation 3.0 root hub" which shows that ESXi was able to detect a USB 3.0 port on your system. Secondly, look for the USB device you just plugged in and ensure the "Bus" ID matches that of the USB 3.0 bus. This will tell you if your device is being claimed as a USB 3.0 device. If not, you may need to update your BIOS as some systems may have USB 2.0 enabled by default like earlier versions of Intel NUC as desribed here. You may also be running pre-ESXi 5.5 which did not support USB 3.0 as mentioned here, so you may need to upgrade your ESXi host to at least 5.5 or greater.

Install Driver

You can either install the VIB directly onto your ESXi host or by creating a custom ESXi ISO that includes the driver using a popular tool like ESXi Customizer by Andreas Peetz.

To install the VIB, upload the VIB to your ESXi host and then run the following ESXCLI command specifying the full path to the VIB:

esxcli software vib install -v /vghetto-ax88179-esxi60u2.vib -f

To verify that the USB network adapter has been successfully claimed, run either of the following commands to list your physical NICs:

esxcli network nic list
esxcfg-nics -l

To add the USB uplink, you will need to either use the vSphere Web Client or ESXCLI to add the uplink to either a Virtual or Distributed Virtual Switch.

To do so using ESXCLI, run the following command and specify the name of your vSwitch:

esxcli network vswitch standard uplink add -u vusb0 -v vSwitch0

Uninstall Driver

To uninstall the VIB, first make sure to completely unplug the USB network adapter from the ESXi first. Next, run the following ESXCLI command which will automatically unload the driver and remove the VIB from your ESXi host:

esxcli software vib remove -n vghetto-ax88179-esxi60u2

Note: If you try to remove the VIB while the USB network adapter is still plugged in, you may hang the system or cause a PSOD. Simply reboot the system if you accidentally get into this situation.


If you are not receiving link on the USB ethernet adapter, it is most likely that your system does not support USB 3.0. If you find the a similar message like the one below in /var/log/vmkernel.log then you are probably running USB 1.0 or 2.0.

2016-03-21T23:30:49.195Z cpu6:33307)WARNING: LinDMA: Linux_DMACheckConstraints:138: Cannot map machine address = 0x10f5b6b44, length = 2 for device 0000:00:1d.7; reason = address exceeds dma_mask (0xffffffff))


For platforms that have limited built-in networking capabilities such as the Intel NUC and Apple Mac Mini, customers now have the ability to add additional network interfaces to these systems. This will now open up a whole new class of use cases for vSphere based home labs that were never possible before, especially with solutions such as VSAN and NSX. I look forward to seeing what our customers can now do with these new networking capabilities.

Additional Info

Here are some additional screenshots testing the dual USB 3.0 ethernet adapter as well as a basic iPerf benchmark for the single USB ethernet adapter. I was not really impressed with the speeds for the dual ethernet adapter which I had shared some more info here. Unless you are limited on number of USB 3.0 ports, I would probably recommend just sticking with the single port ethernet adapter.


iPerf benchmark for Ingress traffic (single port USB ethernet adapter):
iPerf benchmark for Egress traffic (single port USB ethernet adapter):

72 thoughts on “Functional USB 3.0 Ethernet Adapter (NIC) driver for ESXi 5.5 & 6.0

  1. Hello. Thx for this great post. I’m quite interested with USB ethernet adapter on ESXi indeed.
    I just wondering if there’s a reason you have added that ‘jjkjkj’ odd string at line 1721 of ax88179_178.c :
    #ifndef RX_SKB_COPY
    jjkjkj ax_skb = skb_clone(skb, GFP_ATOMIC);

    OK it has no impact since you have removed the comment of #defined RX_SKB_COPY in ax88179_178.h !
    Was it to be sure skb_clone() will not be used ? From Jose Gomes comment, this makes the server crash after 5 min… !?

  2. William, can you say if more work will be done (by whomever) to try and fix the egress traffic issues when using these USB adapters? If that were fixed and the driver made more stable, that would really be the opening of the gate for so many home labs with or without the Intel NUC. Many running (or that could run) a home lab with this hardware really do need at a minimum of two solid 1 GbE adapters. With just 1.5 at the moment, it’s still a bit of a plunge to take. Awesome work and I’m watching your blog carefully to see if any new developments happen over the next several months!

    • Chip,

      There’s no active plans given this is not something officially supported by VMware. I’ve already shared the source code changes on Github for those that might be interested in tinkering around.

  3. Thanks William, I’d had just about given up on getting more NICs in my Gigabyte Brix, worked first time! Not had a chance to verify/test the performance yet but will report back. I used the Startech single USB 3.0 via Amazon.

  4. There are cheaper option for the same chipset. Just search for “asix ax88179”, anker makes on as well as others.

  5. Is there a way to make the adapter functional on usb2? I have a few of these dongles i used on an old laptop that ran server2012r2 with hyper-v that used the adapters, albiet a bit slower. I’m sure if it would function on a usb2 interface, folks wouldn’t care that it was not even a gig bandwidth.

  6. I tested this out with one of my Mac mini hosts this week using this TRENDnet adaptor that I picked up at Fry’s. http://www.trendnet.com/products/USB-adapters/TU3-ETG

    Worked perfectly with the 6.0u2 driver. Right now I’m using it for a redundant uplink on my management and virtual machine network. The plan is to maybe use two of them eventually for the uplink so that I can save the three supported Gig connections for iSCSI and vMotion

    • I’m using the same but still appear to be down >> USB bios option is Enabled …
      Any help please ?

  7. Hi, Just got around to running iPerf. On my i3 BRIX 6.0u2 I . get the following throughput:

    [email protected]:/usr/lib/vmware/vsan/bin] ./iperf -m -i t300 -c 172.x.x.x -fm
    WARNING: interval too small, increasing from 0.00 to 0.5 seconds.
    Client connecting to 172.x.x.x, TCP port 5001
    TCP window size: 0.03 MByte (default)
    [ 3] local x.x.x.x port 37033 connected with x.x.x.x port 5001
    [ ID] Interval Transfer Bandwidth
    [ 3] 0.0- 0.5 sec 15.8 MBytes 264 Mbits/sec
    [ 3] 0.5- 1.0 sec 25.0 MBytes 419 Mbits/sec
    [ 3] 1.0- 1.5 sec 9.50 MBytes 159 Mbits/sec
    [ 3] 1.5- 2.0 sec 24.2 MBytes 407 Mbits/sec
    [ 3] 2.0- 2.5 sec 14.5 MBytes 243 Mbits/sec
    [ 3] 2.5- 3.0 sec 21.0 MBytes 352 Mbits/sec
    [ 3] 3.0- 3.5 sec 27.4 MBytes 459 Mbits/sec
    [ 3] 3.5- 4.0 sec 19.5 MBytes 327 Mbits/sec
    [ 3] 4.0- 4.5 sec 13.4 MBytes 224 Mbits/sec
    [ 3] 4.5- 5.0 sec 11.2 MBytes 189 Mbits/sec
    [ 3] 5.0- 5.5 sec 22.9 MBytes 384 Mbits/sec
    [ 3] 5.5- 6.0 sec 15.8 MBytes 264 Mbits/sec
    [ 3] 6.0- 6.5 sec 14.4 MBytes 241 Mbits/sec
    [ 3] 6.5- 7.0 sec 11.0 MBytes 185 Mbits/sec
    [ 3] 7.0- 7.5 sec 20.1 MBytes 338 Mbits/sec
    [ 3] 7.5- 8.0 sec 17.8 MBytes 298 Mbits/sec
    [ 3] 8.0- 8.5 sec 36.0 MBytes 604 Mbits/sec
    [ 3] 8.5- 9.0 sec 29.9 MBytes 501 Mbits/sec
    [ 3] 9.0- 9.5 sec 21.4 MBytes 359 Mbits/sec
    [ 3] 9.5-10.0 sec 19.1 MBytes 321 Mbits/sec
    [ 3] 0.0-10.0 sec 390 MBytes 327 Mbits/sec
    [ 3] MSS size 1448 bytes (MTU 1500 bytes, ethernet)

    The Embeded Realtek R8168 to the same host gives ~940 Mbits/Sec pretty much across the board..

    It’s still twice as fast my old/cheap storage array which tops out at 155 Mbits/sec!

    So althought it’s not as fast as a PCI card, it’s still more than adequate for my needs! Thanks again for this!

  8. Hi,

    Great post !!!

    Nevertheless i’ve got a problem…

    My interfaces stay down whatever i connect on it…
    i’m running a 5.5 on a D54250WYK with 2 adapters

    ~ # esxcli network nic list
    Name PCI Device Driver Link Speed Duplex MAC Address MTU Description
    —— ————- ———— —- —– —— —————– —- ——————————————–
    vmnic0 0000:000:19.0 e1000e Up 1000 Full c0:3f:d5:62:d5:3f 1500 Intel Corporation Ethernet Connection I218-V
    vusb0 Pseudo ax88179_178a Down 0 Half 00:0e:c6:c1:c5:de 1500 Unknown Unknown
    vusb1 Pseudo ax88179_178a Down 0 Half 00:0e:c6:c1:df:02 1500 Unknown Unknown

    ~ # esxcfg-nics -l
    Name PCI Driver Link Speed Duplex MAC Address MTU Description
    vmnic0 0000:00:19.00 e1000e Up 1000Mbps Full c0:3f:d5:62:d5:3f 1500 Intel Corporation Ethernet Connection I218-V
    vusb0 Pseudo ax88179_178aDown 0Mbps Half 00:0e:c6:c1:c5:de 1500 Unknown Unknown
    vusb1 Pseudo ax88179_178aDown 0Mbps Half 00:0e:c6:c1:df:02 1500 Unknown Unknown

    Any idea ?


    • This issue was discussed in the previous post (link at the very beginning of this article) and is likely to be related to the USB 3.0 settings in the BIOS. On my own NUC (NUC5i5MYHE) there are four options: “Smart”, “Smart Auto”, “Enabled” and “Disabled” — if you have something like this in your BIOS, set the ports to “Enabled”. The “Smart” and “Smart Auto” modes will cause the adapter to not work or work erratically.

      If that doesn’t solve you problem, then check the logs for relevant clues…

      • Hi Jose,

        That’s it indeed…
        But I also had to upgrade my bios as i didn’t had the option in the previous version …


  9. Hi William,

    I am thinking about updating my ESXi-based lab by replacing two 2012 Mac Minis (quad-core i7 2.6 GHz CPUs) with two NUC Skull Canyons(i7 quad-core 6th generation NUC). It appears that standard images of ESXi 5.5 U3 and ESXi 6.0 U1 may not require any tweaks to run on the NUC Skull Canyon (6th generation NUC) based on this article: http://www.virten.net/2016/01/vmware-homeserver-esxi-on-6th-gen-intel-nuc/

    Are you planning to get a NUC Skull Canyon (6th generation NUC) to try in your lab. Do you believe that based on the article I linked to above, the 6th generation NUC Skull Canyon will be able to run ESXi 5.5 U3 and/or ESXi 6.0 U1 without any additional tweaks?

    If 6th generation NUC Skull Canyon can run ESXi 5.5 U3 or ESXi 6.0 U1, the only downside to replacing Mac Minis with 6th generation NUC Skull Canyon is that the latter has only one built-in Gigabit Ethernet adapter, and there are currently (as of this writing) no Thunderbolt3-to-GigabitEthernet adapters (that I can find) on the market. Your work on the driver for USB3-based Ethernet adapters is commendable, but I really do not want to take a hit on the egress throughput from ESXi via a USB3-based Ethernet adapter judging by the iPerf stats that you provided. Therefore, I’ve been looking at alternatives.

    What do you think about using this (soon-to-be-released-as-of-this-writing) Thunderbolt3-to-Thunderbolt adapter from StarTech to be used together with the Apple’s Thunderbolt-to-GigabitEthernet adapter so that the NUC Skull Canyon (6th generation NUC) can have two GigabitEthernet NICs (just like the 2012 Mac Minis have in my lab)?


    Thank you.

    • I’m not planning to get the Skull Canyon NUC, but it *should* work with the latest ESXi images. I know a few others that plan to get the unit when its out, so there should be a few folks that can help confirm. On the Thunderbolt3 question, your guess is as good as mines. Assuming it just passes it through, then it *should* work. I probably would wait for TB3 -> Ethernet, it wouldn’t surprise me if someone releases TB3->10Gbe given the massive amount of bandwidth TB3 provides.

  10. Any idea if this will work through a USB3 hub? For exmple a 4 port USB hub with a Startech adapter in each port?

  11. I was wondering if anyone else is running into this issue while trying to install. I’m using a clean ESXi 6U2 install on gen5 i7 NUC. Error states the VIB does not contain a signature. I changed to CommunitySupported, and the issue still persists.

    Any help is very appreciated. Unsure where to locate the log it’s referencing – checked a few in /var/log, but no clues.

    [[email protected]:~] lsusb
    Bus 002 Device 006: ID 05ac:024f Apple, Inc.
    Bus 003 Device 002: ID 0b95:1790 ASIX Electronics Corp. AX88179 Gigabit Ethernet
    Bus 002 Device 005: ID 8087:0a2a Intel Corp.
    Bus 002 Device 004: ID 15d9:0a4c Trust International B.V. USB+PS/2 Optical Mouse
    Bus 002 Device 002: ID 05ac:1006 Apple, Inc. Hub in Aluminum Keyboard
    Bus 001 Device 002: ID 8087:8001 Intel Corp.
    Bus 003 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0003 Linux Foundation 3.0 root hub
    Bus 002 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0002 Linux Foundation 2.0 root hub
    Bus 001 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0002 Linux Foundation 2.0 root hub

    [[email protected]:~] esxcli software vib install -v /vmfs/volumes/qnapNFS/ISO/VMware/ESXi/vghetto-ax88179-esxi60u2.vib
    (‘virtuallyGhetto_bootbank_vghetto-ax88179-esxi60u2_6.0.0-1.0.0’, ‘The VIB virtuallyGhetto_bootbank_vghetto-ax88179-esxi60u2_6.0.0-1.0.0 does not contain a signature.’)
    vibs = virtuallyGhetto_bootbank_vghetto-ax88179-esxi60u2_6.0.0-1.0.0
    Please refer to the log file for more details.

    [[email protected]:~] esxcli software acceptance get

  12. Hi!

    Does anybody have a problem when trying to use the VMXNET3 virtual network adapter together with your Startech USB 3.0 to Gigabit Ethernet dongles?

    I’m running pfSense 2.3 and an Intel NUC D54250WYK and have the following setup:
    Startech No. 1 (WAN) > to my ethernet jack in my wall which gives me internet
    Startech No. 2 (LAN) > to my smart switch
    Intel Intel i218v (Intel NUCs integrated NIC) is dedicated to ESXi management > to my smart switch

    In ESXi I have one vswitch for “WAN” and one vswitch for “LAN” and a separate one for VMware Management.
    Both “WAN” and “LAN” is assigned pfSense and when I choose “E1000” as the adapter type it works but if I change to “VMXNET3” then I don’t get an IP from my ISP on the “WAN”-side and I am unable to ping pfSense “LAN”-side or connect to it through the webinterface.

    My BIOS is 0041 and I’ve changed the USB-settings to “Enabled” from “Auto-something” in the BIOS as well.
    I integerated the drivers above – “ESXi 6.0 Update 2 USB Ethernet Adapter Driver VIB” with “ESXi-Customizer-PS”.
    The VM was created with USB 3.0 support if that could impact anything. I have installed pfSenses own package of “VMware Tools”.

    Would be grateful to hear if any of you guys have been experiencing the same problems.

    More detailed post:

    Best Regards, Karl

  13. On my 6.0.0-Host after every reboot the nics have to be attached again to my vSwitch1 und vSwitch2 again by the esxcli-command.

    Any idea, what this might result from?

    • I seem to be having the same issue as Karl. I can see the vusb0 in “esxcli network nic list” (but not in the GUI for that matter) but it’s no attached to vSwitch1.

      • I too noticed this, well it was on initial install of ESXi, selecting one of the USB NICs for management would work until a reboot, and then you need to go into DCUI and select the NIC again as it had become deselected for the management interface.

        • This problem still exists. When rebooting the ESXi host, the vusb0 interface is deselected from the management network adapters. The only way to re-enable it is to go via the console screen or to configure the management vmk on the vmnic0.

    • Playing around with a USB to Ethernet adapter (Orico UTR-U3) with the installed vib on ESXi 6.0u2 the limit seemed to be 4088 MTU. It seems to have the same chipset as the others listed.

      [[email protected]:~] lsusb
      Bus 001 Device 004: ID 8087:0a2b Intel Corp.
      Bus 001 Device 003: ID 413c:2003 Dell Computer Corp. Keyboard
      Bus 001 Device 002: ID 18a5:0302 Verbatim, Ltd Flash Drive
      Bus 002 Device 002: ID 0b95:1790 ASIX Electronics Corp. AX88179 Gigabit Ethernet
      Bus 002 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0003 Linux Foundation 3.0 root hub
      Bus 001 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0002 Linux Foundation 2.0 root hub

      [[email protected]:~] esxcli network vswitch standard list
      Name: vSwitch1
      Class: etherswitch
      Num Ports: 1792
      Used Ports: 2
      Configured Ports: 1024
      MTU: 1500
      CDP Status: listen
      Beacon Enabled: false
      Beacon Interval: 1
      Beacon Threshold: 3
      Beacon Required By:
      Uplinks: vusb0

      [[email protected]:~] esxcli network vswitch standard set -m 4088 -v vSwitch1
      [[email protected]:~] esxcli network vswitch standard set -m 4089 -v vSwitch1
      Unable to set MTU to 4089 the following uplinks refused the MTU setting: vusb0

      [[email protected]:~] esxcli network vswitch standard list

      Name: vSwitch1
      Class: etherswitch
      Num Ports: 1792
      Used Ports: 2
      Configured Ports: 1024
      MTU: 4088
      CDP Status: listen
      Beacon Enabled: false
      Beacon Interval: 1
      Beacon Threshold: 3
      Beacon Required By:
      Uplinks: vusb0

      • One other thing I noticed the -v/–viburl parameter used during the vib install needs to have an absolute path, relative paths fail.

        [[email protected]:/vmfs/volumes/57685ad8-d3ef4fd8-9a6e-001fc69b9d34] esxcli software vib install -v ./vghetto-ax88179-esxi60u2.vib -f
        (‘./vghetto-ax88179-esxi60u2.vib’, ”, “[Errno 4] IOError: “)
        url = ./vghetto-ax88179-esxi60u2.vib
        Please refer to the log file for more details.
        [[email protected]:/vmfs/volumes/57685ad8-d3ef4fd8-9a6e-001fc69b9d34] ls -la
        total 792576
        drwxr-xr-t 1 root root 1400 Jun 20 21:08 .
        drwxr-xr-x 1 root root 512 Jun 20 21:17 ..
        -r——– 1 root root 2555904 Jun 20 21:06 .fbb.sf
        -r——– 1 root root 267026432 Jun 20 21:06 .fdc.sf
        -r——– 1 root root 1179648 Jun 20 21:06 .pb2.sf
        -r——– 1 root root 268435456 Jun 20 21:06 .pbc.sf
        -r——– 1 root root 262733824 Jun 20 21:06 .sbc.sf
        drwx—— 1 root root 280 Jun 20 21:06 .sdd.sf
        -r——– 1 root root 4194304 Jun 20 21:06 .vh.sf
        -rw-r–r– 1 root root 17992 Jun 20 21:08 vghetto-ax88179-esxi60u2.vib
        [[email protected]:/vmfs/volumes/57685ad8-d3ef4fd8-9a6e-001fc69b9d34] esxcli software vib install -v /vmfs/volumes/57685ad8-d3ef4fd8-9a6e-001fc69b9d34/vghetto-ax88179-esxi60u2.vib -f
        Installation Result
        Message: Operation finished successfully.
        Reboot Required: false
        VIBs Installed: virtuallyGhetto_bootbank_vghetto-ax88179-esxi60u2_6.0.0-1.0.0
        VIBs Removed:
        VIBs Skipped:

  14. Thanks William, That is great solution. It worked for me on both ESXi5.5 and 6.0. However I am having problem loading 6.0 drivers on ESXi 6.5.I am getting “invalid or illegal name space” Is it possible to rebuild one for ESXi 6.5 ??


  15. Hi William,
    I’ve got myself the 1port and 2port adapter, the once others have sucessfully installed.
    I am so far that i can see the device but link negotiation can’t be changed and whatever i do, it’s not detecting a link.

    So i tried “esxcli network nic set -a -n vusb0” and “esxcli network nic up -n vusb0” with the unchanged result of:

    esxcli network nic get -n vusb0:

    Advertised Auto Negotiation: false
    Advertised Link Modes:
    Auto Negotiation: false
    Cable Type: MII
    Current Message Level: 7
    Driver Info:
    Bus Info: usb-0000:00:1d.0-1.1
    Driver: ax88179_178a
    Firmware Version: ASIX AX88179 USB 3.0 Gigabit Ethusb-0000:00:1d.0-1.1
    Version: 22-Aug-2005
    Link Detected: false
    Link Status: Down
    Name: vusb0
    PHYAddress: 3
    Pause Autonegotiate: false
    Pause RX: false
    Pause TX: false
    Supported Ports: TP, MII
    Supports Auto Negotiation: true
    Supports Pause: false
    Supports Wakeon: true
    Transceiver: internal
    Wakeon: MagicPacket(tm)

    Any suggestion would be much appreciated!

  16. Hello William,
    Very nice post, I followed it to install an USB 3.0 Gigabit adapter to a MAC mini running ESXi v6. Only problem I’m having is when I reboot ESXi the USB Gigabit adapter isn’t loaded. When I use the “esxcli network vswitch standard uplink add -u vusb0 -v vSwitch0” command, the NIC shows up.

    Do I have to add this command to local.sh or is there an other way? Thank you in advance for Your help!

    Kind regards,

  17. If you have the NUC6I7KYK , you may see your ethernet adapter connected to the USB2 root hub instead of the USB3. To solve this, you just need to update the bios to the latest version (F7 at boot and a FAT32 usb key with the .bio image).

    • Hi Robert,

      As you correctly guessed, the driver will not work with the AX88772C chipset. The only drivers I know that work with both USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 chipsets are those from Realtek (r8152/r8152B/R8153).

  18. I emailed the guys some time back at GoRite about the Skull Canyon Lids with GiG E. I just recently emailed them again about offering alternate Chipsets. I suspect in order for it to be plug/plug we need to be using some chipset that supports the e1000e adapter can someone confirm that ?

    I was hoping they were early enough in dev to change. But this is what they had said the chipset would be DL-3950/5910. If early enough and there is enough demand, we might be able to show interest for a chipset that would be esxi compatible.

    • Hi Mike,

      The DisplayLink chipset offers more than just Ethernet (HDMI/DVI/DP), but in anyway, they are USB 3.0 based. I don’t think it would make sense for GoRite to provide Ethernet only capability, as it would be too niche.

      Also, except for the NUC5i5MYHE, no other NUC exposes PCIe based interfaces than trough mSATA/M.2, so having a second ESXi compatible Ethernet PHY is almost impossible. For USB based Ethernet we already have drivers for AXIS and Realtek based adapters anyway.

      G2 Digital (http://g2digital.co.uk/development-project-m-2-ethernet-card-for-intel-nuc/) seems to be developing an M.2 based Ethernet adapter, but there is no indication that the project is actually progressing. I don’t know which chipset they are planning on using either.

      • Hi Guys,
        I got the following setup running since years: D54250WYB, Chassis Akasa Newton H UCFF, 2x KVR16LS11/8, Jetway ADMPEIDLA (Mini-PCIe, 2x Gigabit LAN Intel i350) and this works for years now. Gives me 3 times native gigabit.
        The USB3 stuff I’ve tried (AXIS) was a fail for me and only caused more gray hair.
        Shame that really good hardware is so expensive but next time i’ll consider one of these guys: http://www.compulab.co.il/products/embedded-pcs/usvr/


  19. Thanks William, it very helpful. We are waiting for ESXi6.5 driver (USB Ethernet Adapter Driver VIB )

  20. Hello,

    Thank you for your solution and drivers. Please notice that also works excellent with LevelOne USB-0401 (H/W ver: 4.0).
    It is a usb 3.0 adpator.

  21. Thanks for posting a link for the driver update for ESXi 6.5. Unfortunately it doesn’t work. cheers !

  22. Is there any chance this would ever work with USB 2.0? no software tricks? or is it purely a hardware limitation. I know it wouldn’t be very usable, however in some lab scenarios for network engineers the mere presence of another adapter expands the use of existing equipment

  23. Folks,

    I uploaded the 6.5 VIB to my ESXi host to ‘datastore1’ using the web UI.

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

    I get this:

    [[email protected]:~] esxcli software vib install -v /vghetto-ax88179-esxi65.vib -f
    (‘/vghetto-ax88179-esxi65.vib’, ‘/tmp/vibtransaction/tmp.vib’, ‘[Errno 2] Local file does not exist: /vghetto-ax88179-esxi65.vib’)
    url = /vghetto-ax88179-esxi65.vib
    Please refer to the log file for more details.

    What am I doing wrong?

    • You need to provide the full path to the file:

      esxcli software vib install -v /vmfs/volumes/datastore1/vghetto-ax88179-esxi65.vib

      Also, the force flag (-f) is not required as long as the acceptance level has been changed to “CommunitySupported”

  24. Yes, I figured that out after I put on my *nix hat…geez, the things you forget.

    Anyway, works great…less filling.

  25. William: Just getting around to patching and testing my lab – thought no way the gentleman had time to rebuild this driver. Checked just the same. Don’t know how you have the time to keep up with this but your work is greatly appreciated and this solution has been the perfect mix for my home lab. Appreciate the good work you do for the community.

    Best Regards,

  26. After reading this blog, I ordered the StarTech USB 3.0 to Gigabit Ethernet NIC Adapter. I used this for ESXi 6 update 3 and it worked perfect! Just wanted to let you know.

  27. William, first of all thank you for the detailed steps…everything worked fine for me. I tested the procedure on a Gigabyte Brix and TrendNet U3 adapters…worked just fine.

    Now the caveat on my case was the addition of 3 adapters which I need for a specific use case. Although they were successfully detected and mapped to vswitches, after a reboot the last adapter needs to be manually mapped again – and this keeps happening after every reboot. This is an acceptable workaround for me but I’m wondering if you’ve ever come across such issue and why the issue only applies to the 3rd adapter (vusb2 in my case).

    Any hints will be appreciated!



  28. Hi William,

    please i’m looking for this vib driver and i didn’t find : AX88772 (Asix)
    It’s for Esxi 6.0. I’m not a Linux power user, just a simple user !!! 😉

    Can you help me please ?


  29. Hi
    Thanks for a great blog post, really helped me out.
    My USB Nic is a Anker AH-212 with a RTL8153 chipset, and it works perfectly.

  30. Hello, thank you for the good job you are doing…
    I have one vsphere 5.5 and I follow your post and I got the driver installed however I cannot put the VUSB0 up and I am getting this:

    ~ # esxcfg-nics -l
    Name PCI Driver Link Speed Duplex MAC Address MTU Description
    vmnic0 0000:00:19.00 e1000e Up 1000Mbps Full c0:3f:d5:68:4f:54 1500 Intel Corporation Ethernet Connection I218-V
    vusb0 Pseudo ax88179_178aDown 0Mbps Half 00:24:9b:28:6f:bc 1500 Unknown Unknown


    ~ # esxcli network nic get -n vusb0
    Advertised Auto Negotiation: false
    Advertised Link Modes:
    Auto Negotiation: false
    Cable Type: MII
    Current Message Level: 7
    Driver Info:
    Bus Info: usb-0000:00:1d.0-1.1
    Driver: ax88179_178a
    Firmware Version: ASIX AX88179 USB 3.0 Gigabit Ethusb-0000:00:1d.0-1.1
    Version: 22-Aug-2005
    Link Detected: false
    Link Status: Down
    Name: vusb0
    PHYAddress: 3

  31. Hi, On my ESXi 6.5 server, using this adapter i am not able to get a network dump generated successfully. I configured network dump and checked it. I set the message : Starting network coredump from “ip” to “ip”, but i don’t see successfull message at the end. Any idea if we can can fix it ? It seems like USB got shut/disabled right when coredump getting started ??

  32. I recently bought an 7th Gen Intel NUC (Kaby Lake) – NUC7i5BNH and a StarTech USB 3.0 to Gigabit Ethernet NIC Adapter. I installed driver as instructed above on ESXi 6.0 U3. I attached the vusb0 and the onboard vmnic0 both to my distributed virtual switch. In itself it all works fine, but every couple minutes I get this sequence of events:

    USB configuration has changed.
    Lost uplink redundancy on DVPorts: …. Physical NIC vusb0 is down.
    Uplink redundancy restored on DVPorts: …. Physical NIC vusb0 is up.
    Alarm ‘Network uplink redundancy lost’ on [srv]changed from Green to Red
    Alarm ‘Network uplink redundancy lost’ on [srv]changed from Red to Green

    Any suggestions?

  33. I purchased the Startech 31000S USB-NICs mentioned in this blog article, but I used it to lab up a Hyper-V (2016) cluster. Turns out there’s an issue with these NICs when it comes to trunking VLANs. I found that, despite assigning “Management”, “Cluster” and “Live Migration” traffic to separate VLANs, all traffic went out on the same VLAN (the Management VLAN). Only discovered that after reviewing the upstream switch’s MAC address table…

    So, I used the NUC’s onboard NIC instead and it worked right away, using the same PoSH script that I tried with the Startech NIC, to configure the converged network stack.

    It may be a flaw with the driver, as the Hyper-V hosts were 2016 and perhaps the Startech NICs aren’t fully compatible yet. Hope this comment saves someone else from spending hours trying to get Hyper-V converging networking working with these NICs…

Thanks for the comment!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.