Is there a way where I can use my PCI modem in a virtual machine on an ubuntu 12.04 host box? I have installed Ubuntu 12.04 on the host and I want to use my PCI modem on a guest virtual machine. Can this be done using kvm, vmware or virtualbox?


I have tried this https://askubuntu.com/questions/16586/how-to-access-serial-ubuntu-host-serial-port-on-virtualbox-guest-os but i had no luck, I suspect it needs the drivers for the modem installed on the host.

Update 2:

It seems that if i want to use the PCI modem on the guest box without having the drivers on the host box Oracle PCI Passthrough is the eay to go: http://howtoware.blogspot.com/2012/01/oracle-vm-virtualbox-how-to-use-pci.html :-(

Hardware details:

Ubuntu 12.04 x32

Agere PCI modem (Tested on a Windows 7 box and is working fine)

  • I have never tried this but is there any reason to expect that it won't? Why don't you try and then ask here if you have specific problems.
    – terdon
    Commented Oct 17, 2013 at 3:38
  • I have tested some stuff already without any luck but I asked this way because i might had gone for the wrong way. I haven't the Ubuntu 12.04 drivers for the modem so I'm really loose.... Can you please help? Commented Oct 17, 2013 at 4:09
  • In that case please explain what you have tried and how it is failing. I am not an expert, so I may very well be wrong, but as far as I know there is no reason for PCI modems to be special. Please edit your question and include the VM you are using, the guest OS, how you are checking whether the card is working, the hardware details of the card etc.
    – terdon
    Commented Oct 17, 2013 at 4:11
  • Yes, use PCI passthrough. I’m using USB passthrough with kvm for a Simtec EntropyKey with great success, but you must remember that it is absolutely important that the host system does not use the device, i.e. you must blacklist the driver for it on your host system (at least that was enough for USB; for PCI, maybe more is needed; consult the documentation on PCI passthrough). – Another option is to use the drivers in the host, and pass the modem through as virtual COM: (serial port) device; no idea if that’s what helps you.
    – mirabilos
    Commented Dec 6, 2013 at 11:40

1 Answer 1


Trying to use PCI pass-through on VirtualBox is dicey, it's still an experimental feature. Your hardware needs to support IOMMU which is uncommon in consumer-grade equipment.

The host OS needs to recognize the device and create a serial port for it, /dev/ttyS? or /dev/ttyUSB? or any of a series of other options depending on the distribution.

If it does, use VirtualBox's support for serial port pass-through and tie the virtual device, eg. COM1 to a Host Device and supply the appropriate device path (like /dev/ttyS0) in the text field.

When you restart the virtual machine, you should be able to access the modem from the appropriate /dev/ttySx port starting from 0 = "COM1"

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