Setting up a Trunk Port for use with VMware Workstation

Introduction

I could not do my job without a lab environment. I do my utmost to ensure that whatever changes I make will not have unintended consequences. Do they happen anyways? Yes. Do they happen less frequently? Also yes. This post will show how to create a trunk port, how to setup the NIC in Windows 10, and how to bridge the virtual adapters to virtual networks within VMware Workstation.

Prerequisites

  • VMware Workstation
    • Can technically use VMware Player, but requires vmnetcfg.exe from Workstation to configure networking. I will not be explaining how to set this up, as I am unsure of the legality.
  • Networking equipment with 802.1q and trunking support.
  • Ethernet NIC with 802.1q and trunking support.

Equipment & Software Used

  • Juniper EX4300
  • VMware Workstation 16.1.2
  • Intel I211 Gigabit NIC (built into motherboard, ASUS ROG STRIX B450-F)
  • Windows 10 Pro

Initial Setup

The network environment should be setup prior (VLANs, networks, and services like DHCP, DNS, etc). We will only be changing the configuration for a single interface port that connects to your PC.

The advanced NIC drivers should be installed on your workstation first. In my case, Intel offers advanced NIC configuration via the Intel® Ethernet Adapter Complete Driver Pack and using the Intel(R) PROSet Adapter Configuration Utility.

Trunk Port Configuration

Now that the driver is installed, hop into your switch. You’ll see my access port configuration below. We’re going to convert the ge-0/0/13 interface from an access port to a trunk port.

show interfaces ge-0/0/13 | display set set interfaces ge-0/0/13 description "Access Port" set interfaces ge-0/0/13 unit 0 family ethernet-switching interface-mode access set interfaces ge-0/0/13 unit 0 family ethernet-switching vlan members WIRED

This port is configured as a member of the WIRED VLAN, but I want to test other networks from within VMware Workstation. For instance, I have a VM that is setup as a Student Windows 10 device. When the VM is a part of the STUDENT VLAN, I can test ACLs, QoS, and emulate how a device will act in its entirety. I also add other VLANs to allow for testing from staff devices and the guest network.

I set the WIRED VLAN (1122) as the native VLAN so that any wired device can still connect. I’ve had issues with NIC drivers crashing. This has left me disconnected due to VLAN trunking being disabled when the driver recovers. By using the native VLAN, I always fall back to a working state. Note: A newer driver version has fixed the crashing issue (26.3).

show interfaces ge-0/0/13 | display set set interfaces ge-0/0/13 description "VM Trunk" set interfaces ge-0/0/13 native-vlan-id 1122 set interfaces ge-0/0/13 unit 0 family ethernet-switching interface-mode trunk set interfaces ge-0/0/13 unit 0 family ethernet-switching vlan members WIRED set interfaces ge-0/0/13 unit 0 family ethernet-switching vlan members STUDENT set interfaces ge-0/0/13 unit 0 family ethernet-switching vlan members INSTRUCTION set interfaces ge-0/0/13 unit 0 family ethernet-switching vlan members GUEST

VLAN Virtual Adapters

The next step is to add the VLAN virtual adapters within the NIC configuration. Click the Teaming/VLANs tab within PROSet (or equivalent tool) to get started. You’ll click New at the bottom to create a new virtual adapter. Upon creating each virtual adapter, the tool may hang. Wait until it responds again.

New VLAN Dialog Box

I name each VLAN the same as it is on the switch for easily identification. For the native VLAN, check the Untagged box. All other VLANs should be added using their assigned IDs and leaving the box unchecked.

Finalized NIC configuration.

By adding all the VLANs, Windows will now display new adapters within the Network Connections tool (Control Panel). Ignore the VMware Network Adapters for now. You can now see that there are five I211 Adapters. One is the base physical adapter, with 4 virtuals for each VLAN.

My personal preference is to uncheck TCP/IPv4 and TCP/IPv6 on all VLANs that are going to be used for VMs only. I do not need additional IP addresses assigned to my PC, and by unchecking those features, they will not provide those services to the host. Right-click each adapter and go into their properties to change these settings.

Settings in my environment:
WIRED (Untagged): TCP/IPv4 Enabled only
STUDENT/INSTRUCTION/GUEST (Tagged): No TCP/IPv4 or TCP/IPv6

Left: Base Physical Adapter, no label/tag.
Right: Individual Virtual Adapter tagged with VLAN : GUEST

VMware Configuration

Now that the virtual adapters have been created and configured, we will move on to bridging them with VMware Workstation. In the Workstation software, go to Edit -> Virtual Network Editor.

When the window appears, click Change Settings in the bottom right.

You’ll recognize VMnet1 and VMnet8 from the previous Network Connections screen. We’re going to leave those alone. VMnet1 is for communicating to our host machine only, and VMnet8 allows the VM to be NATed. We don’t want to do this.

We want to assign VMs to different VLANs directly, by bridging them to the virtual adapter. Click on Add Network… and select a VMnet you want to assign it to.

Select the new network in the list, then click the radial button next to Bridged. In the Bridged to: section, select the virtual adapter you want to use. They will be named exactly the same as they were in the Network Connections tool.

Lastly, you can click the Rename Network… button to give the connection a friendly name, instead of VMnetx. This will make it easier to identify when assigning connections in VM configuration. When you’re done, press OK. Do this for all VLANs you want to use within VMware Workstation.

VM Configuration

The last thing to do is assign the connections you just created to VMs. In the Virtual Machine Settings for your VM, select Network Adapter.

Select the radial button for Custom: and then choose the connection you want to use. I renamed one of the VMnets to GUEST, so I can easily identify the VLAN/network. You’re done! If the VM is currently running, you will need to renew the DHCP lease or statically assign a new IP from the network the VLAN resides in.

Changelog

  • Initial Release
    • 2021/06/16
  • Updated Software with Windows 10 Pro
    • 2021/07/10

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