Wireless Networks for Hyper-V Virtual Machines

ws2008 By default Windows Server 2008 does not use wireless connectivity for networking.  This of course means there will be no wireless connectivity for a bunch of virtual machines running under Hyper-V.  You can of course change all of that and it’s really pretty easy.

The first thing you need to do is enable the wireless capabilities of Windows Server 2008.  This is accomplished by enabling the feature called “Wireless lan service”.  After the service is enabled and running, you can add the drivers for your wireless chipset and get things going.

Now that you have wireless connectivity working, it’s rather easy to make the wireless network available to Hyper-V virtual machines.  In my case, I always setup three virtual networks.  Guest to Guest, Guest to Parent, and Guest to LAN. 

Now the assumption here is that you are using a laptop and are in a setting where you do not have ethernet connectivity.  This is typical of doing demos at a hotel setting or some other venue where no wired connection is available.  Or, you might be using a home office connection and the ethernet card is tied up with a crossover cable to another machine.  Or some other weird scenario. See the screenshot below for an example of my typical laptop settings.

Hyper-V Virtual Networks 

The simplest way to provide wireless connectivity is to bridge the wireless network with the Guest to Parent virtual network.  Here are the steps and a screenshot of the final result:

  1. Go to Control Panel | Network and Sharing Center
  2. Click Manage network connections under the Tasks in the top left portion of the window.
  3. Click the connectoid for your wireless card, and the Guest to Parent virtual network (or whatever you called it).  You need to select both at the same time so hold down the CTRL key while doing this.
  4. Right click and select “Add to bridge”.  Give it a few seconds to create the bridge.  You should see something similar to the following.  This screenshot is a little misleading because as you can see, my ethernet adaptor is enabled and working.


At this point your virtual machines should have access to the wireless network and any DHCP server present there.  This works really well for a home office setting when you need access to Microsoft Update for patches, or activating a VM.  Quick and dirty stuff.  Keep in mind this is not designed to scale for high capacity operations so don’t plan on using this on a production environment.

I am also experimenting with using RRAS and a cell phone card to provide wireless access.  When I get that working, I’ll do another post on the nuances for that design.  If someone has already gone down that path and has it documented, send it my way.  I have a couple of different cell phone cards I’d like to try from Verizon and AT&T.