USB NIC drivers for ESX

installing drivers for nuc usb nics

4 August 2017   2 min read

Intel NUCs only come with 1 built in NIC so when using them as ESX hosts it is useful to add additional USB ethernet adaptors. Before these will be recognised by the ESX OS the drivers need to be installed using a VIB file.

I used have the following USB adapter for the past few years on a few deployments and haven’t had any issues KiwiTek USB 3.0 to RJ45 Ethernet Adapter

I have only come across 2 types of drivers for the different USB NICs that I have used with my Intel NUC, that is ASIX and Realtex. You can download the drivers from the, he has a much more in-depth guide on how to install them with the posts USB-Ethernet-driver-for-ESXi-6.5 and Want-a-USB-Ethernet-driver-for-ESXi-You-can-have-two. This guide is a watered-down version of how I did it and the issues I came across.

1. Check that the usb network adaptor is seen


2. In ESXi 6.5 (only need for 6.5 and higher) the legacy USB drivers are replaced with a single USB driver named vmkusb. This first needs to disabled and the ESX host rebooted

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

3. SCP the file to ESX, it has to be put in /tmp or will get an error when trying to install. The VIB file used is dependant on the ESX version.

scp r8152-2.06.0-2_esxi65.vib root@esx_ip:/tmp

4. Change acceptance level so that you don’t get a Dependency Error when trying to install the driver

esxcli software acceptance get                                                 Check the current level
esxcli software acceptance set --level CommunitySupported           Change acceptance level

5. Install the driver

esxcli software vib install -v /tmp/r8152-2.06.0-4_esxi65.vib

Installation Result
   Message: Operation finished successfully.
   Reboot Required: false
   VIBs Installed: Realtek_bootbank_r8152_2.06.0-4
   VIBs Removed:
   VIBs Skipped:

If you get the error add -f to the end of the cmd.

VIB Realtek_bootbank_r8152_2.06.0-4 violates extensibility rule checks: u'(line 29: col 0) Element vib failed to validate content'

sxcli software vib install -v /tmp/r8152-2.06.0-4_esxi55.vib -f

Finally check that you can see the new NIC.

esxcli network nic list
esxcfg-nics -l

If have issues the drivers can be removed with the following cmds.

esxcli software vib list                                                             Get the name of the driver installed
esxcli software vib remove -n r8152                 To uninstall the driver