VMware Fusion Custom Networks (vmnets) Demystified

VMware Fusion Preferences (Network)

If you’re using VMware Fusion for a local lab environment, you may need to setup different configurations in the networking arena.    If you want to know what the options are in the VMware Fusion Network Preferences pane, this will help clarify what each check box is and ‘demystify’ it by using the standard nomenclature you’re used to.

Below is a screen shot of the VMware Network preferences pane.  You get there by going opening VMware (without a VM selected) and hitting Command-comma (⌘-,).

VMware Fusion Preferences Pane
VMware Fusion Preferences pane

Once you open preferences, you select the Network icon and view (or add) a custom network.  To add a custom network, Authenticate (click the padlock), click the Plus sign and then select the vmnet# you created.

  1. If the subnet is acceptable, great!  If not, you can modify.  Here you can turn on or off DHCP services by VMware Fusion.  I’ll refer to the octet values here as A.B.C.D, regardless of the subnetting mask value.
  2. Need the Mac to access the network directly?  Check 2 (“Connect the host…”).  What does this do?  It makes the vmnet# you created with C accessible by the Mac.  If you type ipconfig at a terminal, you’ll see the vmnet# you created listed, and the Mac will be assigned A.B.C.1 with the same mask as you provided in 1.
  3. Need NAT services for the VMs on this network?  Click 3 (“Allow virtual machines…”) and you’ll turn on VMware Fusion’s NAT services and consume another IP address for the NAT Router/Gateway.  This will consume A.B.C.2 with the same mask as you provided in 1.

There!  That’s the VMware Fusion’s custom networks (vmnets) demystified!

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