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.

esxi-6-5-usb-3-0-network-adapter-driver

83 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?

    Thanks…

  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.

  5. I changed the level of acceptance, does not work (CommunitySupported)

    [[email protected]:~] esxcli software vib install -v /vghetto-ax88179-esxi65.vib
    [InstallationError]
    (‘virtuallyGhetto_bootbank_vghetto-ax88179-esxi65_6.0.0-1.0.0’, ‘The VIB virtuallyGhetto_bootbank_vghetto-ax88179-esxi65_6.0.0-1.0.0 does not contain a signature.’)
    vibs = virtuallyGhetto_bootbank_vghetto-ax88179-esxi65_6.0.0-1.0.0
    Please refer to the log file for more details.

  6. Yes after installing the VIB it booted up fine mate. Sadly it doesn’t appear to get detected with my AsRock 970 Extreme 4 based whitebox 🙁

  7. Whoop! Whoop! It’s alive!!! Detected as a R8152 hope its just as good as AX88179 I thought it was lol 🙂

  8. I’m having a weird issue. If i add it using the CLI with “esxcli network vswitch standard uplink add -u vusb0 -v vSwitch1”, the VMs on that vSwitch don’t see any traffic. The adapter shows up as an uplink. I have to add it from the UI for it to work.

  9. Hmm having another issue now, if I add the USB uplink to any vSwitch DVS or Standard the uplink only works for around a minute or so 🙁

    Litterally its seems like anuy longer than 60 seconds and no data passes on the switch attached to that uplink. Dont suppose anyone has any idea’s

        • someone had found any solution? I have the same problem with my two I3 NUC 6th Gen. Nics works for an hour or two and no longer pass traffic :(.

          • I had similar non responsive issues on my i5 6th gen NUC. It would work fine for a few minutes and then loose network connectivity. What I finally found out is that the disk was very slow to write to with the 6.5 upgrade due to an issue in the vmw_ahci driver. I disabled it and rebooted my host. Has been rock solid since then with and up time of 22 days and not network loss.

            See http://www.nxhut.com/2016/11/fix-slow-disk-performance-vmwahci.html?m=1 for details.

  10. Great article and fantastic job, and it works fine (intel NUC SkullCanyon, StarTech dual ehernet adapter), except..
    When rebooting the NUC, everything seems good, except the interface is actually not working (no ping, nothing)
    I have to either edit/save manually on ESXi administration interface the port group connected to the vswitch with the USB uplink, or in command line by removing/reattaching the vusb nic to the vswitch.
    Weirdly, it doesn’t work when trying to do the same command line so in local.sh file (even with async delay)

    when launching command line in local.sh, outcome in log is:
    2017-02-01T18:10:36.020Z: [netCorrelator] 428790423us: [vob.net.pg.uplink.transition.up] Uplink:vusb0 is up. Affected portgroup: pg_FO. 0 uplinks up

    And thru portal or command line, it seomhow detect the 1 uplink, and that triggers connectivity event..
    2017-02-01T19:15:37.367Z: [netCorrelator] 4330138236us: [vob.net.pg.uplink.transition.up] Uplink:vusb0 is up. Affected portgroup: pg_FO. 1 uplinks up
    2017-02-01T19:15:39.001Z: [netCorrelator] 4331771900us: [esx.clear.net.connectivity.restored] Network connectivity restored on virtual switch “vswitch_FO”, portgroups: “pg_FO”. Physical NIC vusb0 is up

    Any idea welcome

  11. Thank you so much for your USB drivers.

    I’m testing it with a “ugreen USB-Network adapter” and it gives me a good feeling using the “esxcli network nic list”:

    [[email protected]:~] esxcli network nic list
    Name PCI Device Driver Admin Status Link Status Speed Duplex MAC Address MTU Description
    —— ———— ———— ———— ———– —– —— —————– —- ——————————————–
    vmnic0 0000:00:1f.6 ne1000 Up Up 1000 Full f4:4d:30:66:88:a8 1500 Intel Corporation Ethernet Connection I219-V
    vusb0 Pseudo ax88179_178a Up Down 0 Half 00:0e:c6:cb:8c:2e 1500 Unknown Unknown

    The only suggestion i had is that when you explain the installation, you could explain also that if someone has problems to install the drivers directly from the storage units, there is another option to install it, using the URL to the file:
    esxcli software vib install -v https://s3.amazonaws.com/virtuallyghetto-download/vghetto-ax88179-esxi65.vib -f

    This works great for me, because i’m a newbie and the esxi give me always the file not found message when try to use the storage path.

    Ugreen adapter:
    https://www.amazon.es/gp/product/B00MYTSN7W/ref=ask_ql_qh_dp_hza

    Thank you so much again.
    Luis.

  12. Great job William! It works on my Startech Dual Adapter in my 4th Gen NUC i5 D54250WYKH. Thanks for everything.

  13. Same issue as noted above, running on skull canyon with 6.5, adapter works fine for a short period before all traffic stops on that interface.

  14. This is Great! Everything you have said has worked for me. I’m about to Test the j5 adapter and see if it runs for more than a few minutes. I already have it installed (j5 JU130).

  15. hello all.

    step 2 clear

    this error?

    esxcli software vib install -v /vghetto-ax88179-esxi65.vib -f
    [VibDownloadError]
    (‘/vghetto-ax88179-esxi65.vib’, ‘/tmp/vibtransaction/tmp.vib’, ‘[Errno 2] Local file does not exist: /vghetto-ax88179-esxi65.vib’)
    url = /vghetto-ax88179-esxi65.vib

    • Amazon s3 is having issues right now (https://status.aws.amazon.com/) 2-28-17

      “Increased Error Rates

      Update at 11:35 AM PST: We have now repaired the ability to update the service health dashboard. The service updates are below. We continue to experience high error rates with S3 in US-EAST-1, which is impacting various AWS services. We are working hard at repairing S3, believe we understand root cause, and are working on implementing what we believe will remediate the issue.”

  16. Hi,
    I’m using other stuff on my esxi (like zWave USB stick etc…) does the esxcli system module set -m=vmkusb -e=FALSE will break the ability to use them ?

    Many thanks for the job by the way !

  17. thank you for your effort but i always get that error:

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

    with or without -f option

    6.0 U2 worked like a charm

  18. hi all
    i have a problem with usb network
    at reboot of esxi the network nic will be removed from vswitch standard and i must add manually

    anyone have the same problem?
    thank you

  19. Does it support Jumbo Frames for VSAN through it? I get an error when trying to change the MTU to 9000

  20. Hi again,
    Thanki you soy much for the 6.5 driver.

    I was having the following issue:
    With the 6.0 driver on a 6.5 esxi, when i tryed to copy large amount of files from a fisical machine to a virtual machine the driver hang or something happend with the “vswitch0 (2 nics: fisical and usb)” that stops the copy and every vm running alert that the internet communication was broken.

    To install the new driver i had to make the following, because i was unable to install it, the esxi alway skipped the file:
    -Remove the old driver.
    -Stop all the running machines.
    -Delete de usbnic from the vswitch0(i had a bond, the vswitch0 with two nics).
    -Reboot the esxi.
    -Check if the usbnic still appear at the exci console. OK not appeared.
    -Install the new driver.
    -Refresh the esxi console, the usbnic appeared again. Link it to the vswitch again.
    -Reboot the esxi. Not neccesary.
    -Try again to copy large amount of data(more than 4Gb).¡¡¡¡OK its works!!!!!!

  21. Good morning,
    I experimented a issue with my home lab. With the last update of VMware 6.5 (ESXi650-201701001) in a machine (Intel NUC) crash with the Realtek driver. The usb card is TP-LINK UE300.

    Thanks!

  22. Same problem on vSwitch:
    I’m using 2 usb nic (Startech) added to a virtual switch (for vMotion and iSCSI on esxi 6.5) at reboot the vSwitch have NONE active uplink, if I edit the vSwitch I see the two nic cards as uplink and the vSwitch come alive; seems the usb driver was loaded after the networks drivers, there some trick to solve this issue?

    • ok, “solved” with a workaround, added these two lines

      esxcli network vswitch standard uplink add -u vusb0 -v vSwitch1
      esxcli network vswitch standard uplink add -u vusb1 -v vSwitch1

      on /etc/rc.local.d/local.sh

      (vSwitch1 is the name of MY virtual switch…)

      • Putting said commands into local.sh should work, but in my case doing so doesn’t cause the uplinks to return. If I manually run the commands from the CLI the uplinks do come back.

  23. esxi can detect the usb ethernet just fine. so i set it as management network. after esxi restart, the usb ethernet has been un-selected, and i have no management network.

  24. hi all,
    followed the procedure above on my nuc skull canyon, current bios, esxi 6.5

    i’ve attached 1x single port Startech and 1x dual port Startech adapter via USB.

    with lsusb is see the devices, but i dont see them in the vsphere host client nic management page

    Bus 001 Device 009: ID 0b95:1790 ASIX Electronics Corp. AX88179 Gigabit Ethernet
    Bus 001 Device 008: ID 0b95:1790 ASIX Electronics Corp. AX88179 Gigabit Ethernet
    Bus 001 Device 007: ID 2109:8110
    Bus 001 Device 006: ID 0b95:1790 ASIX Electronics Corp. AX88179 Gigabit Ethernet

    anybody any ideas on that?

  25. I was able to injest the vib, and put the rule in as stated. I rebooted the esxi box, and now i have a greyed out network adapters and VLAN.

    I enabled the esxi shell , but still no access. I have a feeling all network adapters have been disabled somehow. I might have to revert to reset the system configuration.

    • Interesting enough, I went to network restore options on the DCUI, hit restore network settings, and now all my network adapters are available and are not greyed out anymore.

      • I’ve installed ESXi 6.5 Update 1 (build 5969303) and the same thing is happening after a reboot. Every time I reboot, I have to run the following two commands to re-attach the usb uplink to the vswitch and to set the usb uplink to “unused” in the port group policy for the corresponding port group. This makes using the dual NIC setup pretty painful. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

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

        esxcli network vswitch standard portgroup policy failover set -p iSCSI-2 -a vusb0

  26. The driver and installation instructions worked exactly as described – first try. As usual.

    William, your blog has saved me hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars over past few years – just taking a moment to give the kudos. This driver is awesome. This is blog is awesome. Stuff like this makes the Internet is awesome!

    Very excited at having a second NIC on my NUC6 (Skull Canyon).

  27. There is such a mixed bag of experiences here. I wish I could say I’m one of the success stories like HapiRat and his NUC6, but I have had nothing but problems getting this to work reliably with an NUC6i7KYK and clean installs of ESXi 6.5.

    I started working with this setup early this year, with an earlier build of ESXi 6.5. The first signs of trouble came when I found that the port groups would sometimes swap their assigned vSwitches with each other upon host reboot. This only happened with the vSwicthes uplinked to the vusb adapters, not the onboard Intel adapter and the management network (thankfully). When this happened I could not remedy it via the web GUI as I got all sorts of errors. I could only fix it from the CLI, which entailed deleting and recreating port groups in order to get things right. But of course a reboot of the host might mess it all up again. Other times the vSwicthes would just lose the vusb uplinks altogether on host reboot, as others have reported here. Again I could not remedy this with the web GUI and would have to use the CLI to re-add the uplinks. For whatever reason the ESXi web GUI just isn’t the same as performing the same commands from the CLI, which further adds to the frustration.

    More recently I rebuilt everything with a clean install of ESXi and the latest 6.5 Update 1 in hopes things might be smoother. So far I haven’t seen any strangeness with port groups moving about, but I now consistently lose the vusb uplinks on host reboot and can only successfully add them back via the CLI. Again, the web GUI is worthless! Worse, sometimes re-adding the uplinks doesn’t allow traffic to pass and the vusb adapters become useless. Right now the system is in a state where I can’t get it to pass any traffic over the vusb adapters even though all configurations look right. A few reboots and nothing has changed. I truly regret having spent so much time with this ridiculous USB adapter on ESXi.

    By the way, I have had absolutely no issues with Hyper-V and this USB adapter on the same NUC6 hardware. Plug-and-play. Insert and done. I really wish ESXi would play as nicely.

  28. I tried to add the driver bundle to an image to build an customized iso with powercli but it fails. It gives an error message:
    Export-ESXImageProfile : The VIB virtuallyGhetto_bootbank_vghetto-ax88179-esxi65_6.0.0-1.0.0 does not contain a signatu
    re.
    How do i fix this? The ESXi install doesn’t want to load because my onboard Realtek NIC and my attached USB NIC is not recognized.

  29. Hi William, Thanks for your work with these drivers. It’s much appreciated. They seem to work very well. I’m wondering if you can comment on one particular issue I’m having with the usb nic after reboots.

    I’ve installed ESXi 6.5 Update 1 (build 5969303). Every time I reboot, the usb uplink becomes disassociated with the vswitch and I have to run the following two commands to re-attach the usb uplink to the vswitch and to set the usb uplink to “unused” in the port group policy for the corresponding port group.

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

    esxcli network vswitch standard portgroup policy failover set -p iSCSI-2 -a vusb0

    • I got my hands on a realtek based adapter, and that seems to not disconnect on reboot with Jose’s realtek driver. Right now my iperf results are pretty low (~300 Mbps).

      • I was having the same issue. I set the adapter to 1000/full instead of auto-neg and it seems to have fixed my issue. Haven’t been able to fully test it yet though.

        • Are you running 6.5U1? Do you have any issues with the NICs being disconnected when you reboot or is it just the ax88179 driver that we’re seeing that issue?

          • Yes, am having no issue.

            [[email protected]:~] vmware -vl
            VMware ESXi 6.5.0 build-5969303
            VMware ESXi 6.5.0 Update 1

            [[email protected]:~] esxcli network nic get -n vmnic32
            Advertised Auto Negotiation: true
            Advertised Link Modes: 10BaseT/Half, 10BaseT/Full, 100BaseT/Half, 100BaseT/Full, 1000BaseT/Full
            Auto Negotiation: true
            Cable Type: MII
            Current Message Level: 32767
            Driver Info:
            Bus Info: usb-0000:00:14.0-3
            Driver: r8152
            Firmware Version:
            Version: v2.05.0 (2015/06/09)
            Link Detected: true
            Link Status: Up
            Name: vmnic32
            PHYAddress: 32
            Pause Autonegotiate: false
            Pause RX: false
            Pause TX: false
            Supported Ports: MII
            Supports Auto Negotiation: true
            Supports Pause: false
            Supports Wakeon: true
            Transceiver: internal
            Virtual Address: 00:50:56:56:1b:2b
            Wakeon: MagicPacket(tm)

  30. I want to try this on my ESXi 6.5 system, but I am booting my ESXi from USB. By disabling the native USB driver, will this cause boot problem?

  31. Thanks William, excellent article 🙂 .

    Is there any implications to running more than one USB NIC. Say if I have NIC’s connected to different vswitches and reboot the host will they stay with associated vSwitches?

Thanks for the comment!