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Suppose I install Ubuntu on a Virtual Box, will I be able to use my Windows Internet connection, which is connected through a wireless device that Ubuntu is unable to detect?

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

VirtualBox presents to the Guest an equivalent of a fixed ethernet hardware device. Remember, a virtual guest does not have to rely on the underlying host hardware. Therefore, to the virtual Ubuntu, it thinks it is seeing a fixed ethernet cable connection.

The default for VirtualBox is to provide a virtual network capability, which connects the networking traffic from one device to another.

N.B. this shouldnt be confused with the Windows Bridging Network Adapter which is another thing entirely.

By default, the active Host network (your windows wireless in your case) is linked to the virtual hardware device through what is termed Network Addressed Translation (NAT). This is just a capability to allow two devices (in this case Windows and the Virtual Ubuntu) to share the same IP address.

Thus, assuming that your windows networking is correctly setup and you've haven't fiddled too much with the virtual box ubuntu guest settings, your virtual Ubuntu guest will use your Windows wireless network without any further tweaks.

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Nice answer, but VirtualBox, by default uses NAT networking not bridging. It's quite different. – Javier Rivera May 26 '11 at 7:35
@Javier Rivera - thanks... was trying to simplify the terms - forgot about the intracasies of Bridging. – fossfreedom May 26 '11 at 8:32
The default NAT-mode is the safest and easiest. But Bridged-mode is the coolest: other machines (including the host OS) see the guest OS as being another computer in the same LAN, having a different IP than the host, using the same IP range as the others, via DHCP from the router. You can even put the virtual machine in your LAN DMZ! And thats wicked! :) – MestreLion May 26 '11 at 11:28
@ MestreLion: Agree. And setting up bridge in the latest VirtualBox is a breeze. I usually use bridge for linux servers and NAT for desktops and windows servers. – Javier Rivera May 27 '11 at 6:55
Bridge becomes a burden if you use, say, ethernet, wifi and mobile connection. I use all of these so I have 3 different network interfaces in my Host Windows, therefore I had to to set up 3 different network cards and bridge them the proper Host interface to a Guest interface. I have to constantly disconnect and reconnect if I move from ethernet to wifi, because Ubuntu does not properly recognizes this disconnect. – karatedog Jul 30 '11 at 1:28

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