During the installation of VMware ESXi 6.5 host, some NICs such as Realtek, are not enabled in the system due to missing drivers. To enable the installed Realtek NICs we need to inject the drivers to the ESXi 6.5 host.
To check if all installed NICs have been enabled, from the VMware Host Client select Networking and navigate to Physical NICs tab. In the example, the Realtek NIC installed in the host is not listed.
Enable Realtek NICs
To enable Realtek NIC in the hypervisor, you need to SSH the ESXi and install the missing drivers. In Navigator view, right click Manage and select Host > Enable Secure Shell (SSH) option to enable SSH in the host.
SSH the host using a client like PuTTY and enter the root credentials.
Run the following command to get a list of installed NICs:
# lspci -v | grep -A1 -i ethernet
The Realtek NIC is detected.
The V-Front Online Depot has a package named net51-drivers that includes the original VMware net-r8168, net-r8169, net-sky2 and net-s2io drivers. Before installing these drivers from the V-Front Online Depot, you must allow ESXi to use Community Supported VIBs.
Run the following command to change the host acceptance level:
# esxcli software acceptance set --level=CommunitySupported
Install the driver for the Realtek NICs:
# esxcli software vib install -n net51-drivers -d https://vibsdepot.v-front.de
When the installation has completed, reboot the host.
When the host has booted, from the VMware Host Client select Networking and navigate to Physical NICs tab. The Realtek NIC is now displayed in the table.
Your ESXi host is now able to take benefit of the installed Realtek NICs.