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ESXi Network Card Driver Installation Steps

Posted by Brajesh Panda on July 30, 2011

Broadcom & Intel Network Driver Installation Guide

  • 1st we have to determining firmware & driver version of network cards in ESXi
  • Use “esxcfg-nics –l” to determine Driver names of each network card
  • Then use “ethtool –I <NICName> to determine firmware & driver version
  • Below screenshot each Broadcom Adapter is using out of box driver bnx2 2.0.7d-3vmw

  • Below screenshot each Intel Adapter is using out of box driver ixgbe 2.0.38.2.5.1-1vmw-RSCpsfix-NAPI


For Driver update – download certified driver CDs from VMware Site!

For my Intel 10Gb I have downloaded from below URL;

Intel 10GB- 82599 controller: http://downloads.vmware.com/d/details/esx4_intel_ixgbe_dt/ZCV0YmRqKipiZHdldA==#drivers_tools

In ESXi drivers for network card or other attached devices can be updated in different ways;

  1. At the time of ESXi Installation
  2. After ESXi Installation or In a running ESXi installation
  • Using vSphere CLI:
    • We have to put the host in maintenance mode & use “vihostupdate <conn_options> –install –bundle <offline-bundle>.zip”
    • Reboot the server to driver modules to get loaded
  • Using ESXUpdate
    • Mount Driver CDROM or copy driver files to any Datastore & run esxupdate command as below screenshot
    • Reboot the server to driver modules to get loaded


  • Verify Drivers after Server reboot
  • Now here you can see updated drivers for Broadcom & Intel Adapaters
  • Below screenshot each Broadcom Adapter is using out of box driver bnx2 2.0.22f.v41.2
  • Below screenshot each Intel Adapter is using out of box driver ixgbe 6.2.14 bc 5.2.4 NCSI 2.0.11


  • Verify installed Software/Bulletins


  • In case you like to uninstall any driver use below command from VMware CLI
    • Vihostupdate.pl –server <serverIP> –remove –bulletin < bulletinname>
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