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br0adband

macOS guest on VMware Workstation Windows host - slow networking

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Posted (edited)

Currently using VMware Workstation 15.0.3, with High Sierra 10.13.6 fully updated - Mojave has some issues because of changes to how the GUI is drawn so the performance is slower so I stick with High Sierra. But I've noted - over the years this has always been the case with using macOS or OSX in VMware Workstation as a guest OS sitting on top of Windows - that the actual networking performance is pretty lackluster and I've always wondered why.

 

I have a Windows 7 VM that I created for testing purposes, so here's the setup in terms of the physical host hardware:

 

HP EliteBook Folio 9470m

Intel i5-3427u CPU (2 cores/4 threads)

12GB of DDR3 1600 (dual channel mode, gets about 22GB/s reads and 21GB/s writes so it's fast enough)

Samsung 860 EVO 500GB SATA SSD (540MB/s reads and 520MB/s writes tested and verified regularly, no issues)

Intel Gigabit NIC (no issues)

Gigabit Internet service (I regularly pull 950-960Mbps without issues)

Windows 7 Professional x64 fully updated as of March 15th (no issues whatsoever)

 

Doing a speedtest from my ISP I get ~950Mbps results, downloading large contiguous files from some services gives me 70-90MB/s (that's Megabytes per second) sustained bandwidth during the downloads.

 

For the VM, it's:

 

VMware Workstation 15.0.3 (unlocked with Donk's unlocker)

macOS High Sierra 10.13.5 installed from ISO then upgraded to 10.13.6 from App Store

4GB assigned to the VM (of the 12GB physical hardware RAM)

2 "CPUs" assigned to the VM (meaning I just have it set for 1 CPU 2 cores, using the extra two threads from Hyperthreading causes some audio glitches with the VM)

VMware Tools installed (latest available directly from VMware)

 

Everything in the VM is "stock" meaning I haven't and probably can't alter the hardware profile. Now, if I go do a download from someplace that I know is fast and can provide significant bandwidth in excess of 50MB/s (that's 400Mbps by the math) like Google Drive or Microsoft OneDrive, or perhaps some Linux distro mirror site in my region, I end up seeing a maximum speed of about 150Mbps (that's Megabits per second) or about 18-19MB/s.

 

Considering it's a Gigabit NIC being fed to the VM, and Gigabit Internet service, I'd like to think the VM should be showing faster speeds but it's not. No matter what I do, even if it's copying files from a network share to the VM (as a shared folder set up in the VM settings) it still maxes out at roughly ~150Mbps and I can't for the life of me figure out why.

 

Anyone else notice this slow performance?

 

Here's why I bring it up:

 

With the Windows 7 VM I use for testing, as a guest OS on top of Windows 7 itself, I can pull 850-950Mbps in the same speed testing situations. But with the macOS VM, 150Mbps tops it seems.

 

I wonder if there's a reason for this, perhaps the NIC driver in VMware Tools is just crazy inefficient with respect to using macOS on a Windows host which isn't supposed to be done, of course, but we do it anyway because we actually can (thanks to Donk and many others over the years, I have my own storied history as part of The OSx86 Project when it started up long ago).

 

Just wondering if anyone else has ever noticed this issue. It's not a big huge hassle, of course, but it is somewhat irritating knowing the networking for the VM should be significantly faster. When I look at the Network Adapter properties inside macOS it shows a Gigabit link as far as the VMware networking driver is concerned so, again, it's just odd why it's so limited, almost a flat line at ~150Mbps and I've never been able to get it to go any faster.

 

Bizarre... ;)

Edited by br0adband

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