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When logged into the guest, data transfer (scp) from the host is very slow (<1MB/s). Is this expected?


  • VirtualBox host is Debian Unstable
  • VirtualBox guest is Debian 6 (Squeeze)
  • Bridged Adapter is wlan0
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What happens if you tell VirtualBox to bridge to eth0 instead? – Warren Young Jul 18 '11 at 4:07
I am on a wireless network, so suing eth0 won't even give the guest an IP address. – Tshepang Jul 18 '11 at 11:36
I figured so. I just wanted you to try it to see if it's much faster. Given bahamat's answer, I expect it will be, by more than the factor difference between the network speeds. That is, if you have a 108 Mbit/s wireless connection (802.11n) and a GigE wired connection, I think you'll see much more than a 10x increase by going wired. That would confirm bahamat's answer, which sounds right to me. Wireless is a bit of a different game from wired, so the 1-MAC limit is plausible. – Warren Young Jul 18 '11 at 13:47

1 Answer 1

up vote 8 down vote accepted

It's not just you.

See here:

Basically, the spec for WiFi says that any wireless adapter can only have one MAC address, which makes bridging WiFi an impracticality.

There are several bugs in several forms describing slightly different symptoms filed against VirtualBox (735, 2975, 5503, etc.) but the underlying cause in each case is bridging a wireless interface.

I have ended up adding host-only interfaces for this kind of activity instead.

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I am bridging my internal wired LAN and my wifi without apparent side effects (not using virtualbox). would you care to elaborate more the answer? I am asking this out of a genuine technical interest. – Rui F Ribeiro Nov 15 at 22:27
Are you sure it's a bridge and routed? – bahamat Nov 16 at 18:54
quite sure. my eth0.102 is bridged to wlan0 in vlan2 using br0 interface and I have in vlan1 eth0.101 to give me a route to the outside. – Rui F Ribeiro Nov 16 at 19:23
It's tough to say without seeing your exact config. The underlying issue is/was that wifi adapters in client mode are/were restricted to a single ether address (see vb/5503). Considering that this question is 4 year old, there's been plenty of time for workarounds to be put in place. – bahamat Nov 16 at 20:29
I noticed now we are talking about Debian 6. No idea how I answered to it. Thanks! – Rui F Ribeiro Nov 16 at 20:36

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