As many of you know, the onboard Intel NIC (8086:0d4f) found in the 10th generation of the Intel NUC (Frost Canyon) is not automatically recognized by ESXi and requires an updated ne1000 VIB which was released earlier this year. An unfortunate side affect after patching or upgrading an ESXi host which contains this modified ne1000 VIB is that it will be replaced by a newer version of the VIB and causes the NIC to no longer be recognized again.
A quick workaround is to simply re-install the modified ne1000 VIB and network connectivity will be restored which is less than ideal. A new vSphere Image Profile can also be created that contains both the patch/upgrade you intend to apply along with the modified ne1000 VIB, ensuring that you remove the newer version which may not be ideal as well. In speaking with Songtao, a VMware Engineer who I worked with on the USB Network Native Driver for ESXi, about this issue and he came up with a very simple solution. Lets choose a different name for the VIB module which removes all the complexity mentioned above. This solution would allow for both drivers to coexists and more importantly, it is persistent across patching and upgrades of ESXi.
UPDATE (02/17/21) - The community ne1000 VIB has been incorporated into the new Community Networking Driver for ESXi Fling
For detailed instructions on incorporating the offline bundle using either the vSphere Image Builder UI or Image Builder with PowerCLI, please refer to this blog post.
Lastly, a number of folks have also inquired about support for other related Intel I219 network adapters. I am happy to report that our friend Songtao was able to help with this request. In addition to enabling the NIC on the Intel NUC 10, we have also added an additional 15 devices which are listed below.
- 8086:0d4e - Ethernet Connection (10) I219-LM
- 8086:0d4f - Ethernet Connection (10) I219-V
- 8086:0d4c - Ethernet Connection (11) I219-LM
- 8086:0d4d - Ethernet Connection (11) I219-V
- 8086:0d53 - Ethernet Connection (12) I219-LM
- 8086:0d55 - Ethernet Connection (12) I219-V
- 8086:15fb - Ethernet Connection (13) I219-LM
- 8086:15fc - Ethernet Connection (13) I219-V
- 8086:15f9 - Ethernet Connection (14) I219-LM
- 8086:15fa - Ethernet Connection (14) I219-V
- 8086:15f4 - Ethernet Connection (15) I219-LM
- 8086:15f5 - Ethernet Connection (15) I219-V
- 8086:1a1e - Ethernet Connection (16) I219-LM
- 8086:1a1f - Ethernet Connection (16) I219-V
- 8086:1a1c - Ethernet Connection (17) I219-LM
- 8086:1a1d - Ethernet Connection (17) I219-V
These additions were mainly added due to the feedback from the community but also because these devices were related to the same family of NIC, this is not meant as a general enhancement or support for other network adapters. Hope folks enjoy this update and I would love to see how you are using this VIB and what platforms it is enabling you to run ESXi!