How to set up 802.1q trunk vmware

Written by andrea hamilton
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How to set up 802.1q trunk vmware
Trunk ports cut down the number of physical network interfaces you need. (48 Port Switch image by Phil2048 from

When using the VMware ESX server in your corporate infrastructure, you not only save money and space on multiple servers being consolidated into one bit of equipment, but you can also have different servers that require different VLANs on the network use the same single interface on your core. This is done by using a trunk port. Trunk ports allow multiple VLANs to pass through the same interface using the IEEE standard of 802.1Q encapsulation.

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Things you need

  • Core switch with IOS
  • SSH tool

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  1. 1

    Open the web browser on your PC and connect to the IP address or Fully Qualified Domain Name of your ESX VMWare server. From here, download the Virtual Infrastructure Client (VIC) from the link and choose to install, if you don't already have it installed on the PC.

  2. 2

    Enter your username and password as well as the host name or IP address of the ESX server in the newly installed VIC. When connected, navigate to "Inventory" and "Networking" from the home screen.

  3. 3

    Open the ESX host you wish to add the trunk port to, select the "Configuration" tab and, from the "Hardware" section, choose "Networking." Select the "Add Networking" link and create the new virtual switch.

  4. 4

    Select the type of interface that best suits your needs, in this case, virtual machine. From the next screen choose the physical interface on the host server to which you want to bind this.

  5. 5

    Give the new virtual switch a name and confirm all the settings are correct and save the configuration.

  1. 1

    Patch the physical interface of the ESX server into the core switch that the rest of the network is patched into. Make a note of the interface you use on the core and ensure that it is the correct interface type for your needs; a trunk port like this would require a Gigabit interface if multiple virtual machines will be running through this interface.

  2. 2

    Download and install the PUTTY application (see Resources). Open PUTTY and connect to the management interface of the core switch.

  3. 3

    Enter into configuration mode on the switch and select the interface into which you have patched the ESX server interface.

  4. 4

    Enable the IEEE 802.1Q encapsulation on the interface with the "switchport trunk encapsulation dot1q" command. Set the port to trunk mode with the command "switchport mode trunk".

  5. 5

    Set a name for the switch to match the hostname of the ESX server and the Interface name/number using the "Description ....." command. Return to the enable prompt and save the new configuration using the "write mem" or "copy run start" command.

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