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IlDavo
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Enthusiast

Fixed: Virtual Machines on a Mac Lose Network Connectivity when Placed in Bridged Networking Mode after VMware Fusion 11 Upgrade

As I've wasted over a week diagnosing this issue, both on my own and with assistance from VMware Tech Support, I thought I'd share my solution, in case others who use "Wireless Media Gateways" or other multi-network-device networking infrastructure encounter similar problems:

When I upgraded from VMware Fusion version 10 to 11, my Windows VM's suddenly lost network connectivity.  I'd always run the VM's in "Bridged" networking mode, so that I could access the VM's via their own, individual IP addresses.  As far as I knew, nothing on my Mac or network had changed, in any way, aside from the Fusion version upgrade.  As described, below, I later discovered that an unknown network configuration change had occurred.  I found many accounts in Internet forums, noting that certain previous VMware Fusion releases failed to pass DHCP-assigned addresses to Fusion VM's, and many more accounts advising users to check their router firmware for settings that might forbid associating multiple DHCP addresses with a single network card MAC address.  As it turns out, I was experiencing neither of these issues.

The Mac on which I run VMware Fusion is directly-connected via Ethernet to a Media Gateway (Asus RT-AC66R in “Media Gateway” mode).  That gateway, in turn, connects wirelessly to my main router (an Asus RT-AC88U).

For reasons I cannot fathom, my Asus RT-AC66R media gateway’s LAN IP address (the address by which the device would be accessed on its LAN side) changed from the value I’d originally assigned to it to a new IP address that was outside of my network’s addressing schemed (the new address was 192.168.x.x, whereas my network uses 10.10.x.x).  Devices connected to this media gateway would therefore be unable to directly address the media gateway.  This change must have occurred at approximately the same time as my Fusion upgrade -- again, I've no idea how or why.

I would not expect a LAN IP address change of the media gateway, as described above, to matter to a connected device.  In fact the two physical PC’s and Mac that are connected to the media gateway via Ethernet continued to function, without issue, using IP addresses assigned by DHCP from the main Asus RT-AC88U router.  They were clearly not impacted by the media gateway’s LAN IP address change.  Nevertheless, the virtual machines that I was running on the Mac were definitely impacted.  Whereas they could connect to local network resources and to the Internet when set to use “NAT” networking, they refused to connect to anything when placed in “Bridged” mode.

The fix: Re-booting my Asus RT-AC66R (in media gateway mode) caused the Asus RT-AC66R to re-acquire a proper IP address from the main Asus RT-AC88U router via DHCP that was within my LAN’s network addressing scheme.  When this happened, the Windows 10 virtual machines running on my Mac in “Bridged” networking mode quickly attained their own LAN addresses from the main Asus RT-AC88U router via DHCP and regained access to local network resources and to the Internet.

I hope the above account saves somebody time that I needlessly spend pursuing numerous "ratholes."

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