Physical NIC limitations

If one were to make a laptop into a virtual server, or if your have multiple virtual servers on one physical server. How does the physical NIC work for this increase input/output work load. Please don't tell me about virtual switch and stuff like that. It is a straight forward question, similar to; How do ten cars go through a one tunnel at the same time? I understand servers use maybe up to 20% of their resources at any giving moment, with exception to peak moments. And, we utilize the remaining percentage with virtualization. But, does that statement stand true with NIC's and network traffic?
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More about physical limitations
  1. I would think it depends on the workload, as it all comes down to what the virtual servers are doing. As there is not necessarily loads of traffic that needs to be handled by a NIC even with multiple virtual servers. If there is then i figure there might be some quality of service involved that will determine what traffic is most important.

    There are others i'm sure that can probably give you a better answer, especially since i have no experiance with VM's.
  2. the obvious answer is 10 cars can't go thru a 1 car tunnel all at the same time. Nothing has changed there, theres no magic in virtualization. All the traffic goes thru single file, as it were. The software make sure all traffic gets routed to the correct place...
    And Thats why high end servers have several nics in them. Even low ends usually have 2.
  3. Depends on what kind of virtualization system you are using and what ethernet adapter you have. Some network adapters have better ability to balance parallel transmissions than others. Most likely the network adapter built into your laptop is the cheapest of the cheap so don't expect magic here.
  4. As others have said, your limited to the one NIC and software routing. If you were so inclined, depending on the PC, you could add a USB or Expresscard NIC to help alleviate some of the congestion if that's an issue.
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