[HDoaLC] Sorting out Wireless Networking

I have been using a virtual machine for my main desktop for just over a week now – and so far I am enjoying it (all the blog posts this week have been written from inside the virtual machine).

The first problem that I faced was getting networking up and running correctly.  In the past I have blogged about using Internet Connection Sharing (ICS) to allow virtual machines to get Internet connectivity over a wireless network adapter.

However there are two problems with this approach:

  1. Not all network-based applications are compatible with this sort of configuration.
  2. Microsoft has disabled ICS through group policy for domain-joined computers (which my laptop is).  The reason for this is that Microsoft uses IPSEC internally – and enabling ICS would allow you to effectively bypass IPSEC.

So I needed to come up with another solution, and I found a surprisingly simple one.  What I have done is to use the built-in functionality of Windows that allows you to bridge two or more network adapters together.

To do this I:

  1. Created a new internal virtual network, and called it “Bridged virtual network”.
  2. Configured my virtual machine to use this virtual network.
  3. In the parent partition I then opened the Network from the Start menu and selected Network and Sharing Center followed by Change adapter settings.
  4. Next I selected both my wireless network adapter and the virtual network adapter for my “Bridged virtual network”.
  5. Finally I right clicked on both network adapters and selected Bridge Connections.

I have tried doing this in the past, and it did not work (I believe I tried this on Windows XP) but with Windows Server 2008 R2 it works perfectly.  Now my virtual machine is able to connect to any network that my physical computer connects to – and it is not hidden behind ICS.