Mininet VM Setup Notes

The Mininet VM is meant to speed up Mininet installation, plus make it easy to run on non-Linux platforms. The VM works on Windows, Mac, and Linux, through VMware, VirtualBox, QEMU and KVM.

After downloading the VM, you’ll run a few steps to customize it for your setup. This won’t take long.

VM Setup

Download the Mininet VM

Download the Mininet VM from .

The VM comes out to 1GB compressed and ~2GB uncompressed. It is an OVF (Open Virtualization Format) virtual machine image which can be imported by most virtual machine monitors.

Download and install a virtualization program such as: VMware Workstation for Windows or Linux, VMware Fusion for Mac, VirtualBox ( free!, GPL) for any platform, or qemu ( free!, GPL) for Linux. If you already have VMware, we find that it runs Mininet somewhat faster than VirtualBox. However, VirtualBox is free to download and distribute, which is a definite advantage!

Boot VM

Add the VM and start it up, in the virtualization program of your choice:


  1. Usually you can just double-click on the .ovf file and import it.

  2. If you get errors importing the .ovf file, you can simply create a new VM of the appropriate type (e.g. Linux, Ubuntu 64-bit) and use the .vmdk file as the virtual hard disk for the new VM.

  3. Select “settings,” and add an additional host-only network adapter that you can use log in to the VM image. Start the VM.

  4. For more information on setting up networking in VirtualBox, you may wish to check out these VirtualBox specific instructions

VMware: Import the OVF file, then start the VM.

VMware may ask you to install VMware tools on the VM - if it asks, decline. Everything graphical in the tutorial is done via X forwarding through SSH (in fact, the VM doesn’t have a desktop manager installed), so the VMware tools are unnecessary unless you wish to install an X11/Gnome/etc. environment in your VM.


For Qemu, something like the following should work:

qemu-system-x86_64 -m 2048 mininet-vm-disk1.vmdk -net nic,model=virtio -net user,net=,hostfwd=tcp::8022-:22

For KVM:

sudo qemu-system-x86_64 -machine accel=kvm -m 2048 mininet-vm-disk1.vmdk -net nic,model=virtio -net user,net=,hostfwd=tcp::8022-:22

The above commands will set up ssh forwarding from the VM to host port 8022.

For a 32-bit VM image, use qemu-system-i386.

Parallels: Use Parallels Transporter to convert the .vmdk file to an .hdd image that Parallels can use, and then create a new VM using that .hdd image as its virtual drive. Start the VM.

Log in to VM

Log in to the VM, using the following name and password:

mininet-vm login: mininet
Password: mininet

(some older VM images may use openflow/openflow instead) The root account is not enabled for login; you can use sudo to run a command with superuser privileges.

SSH into VM

First, find the VM’s IP address, which for VMware is probably in the range 192.168.x.y. In the VM console:

ifconfig eth0

Note: VirtualBox users who have set up a host-only network on eth1 should use

sudo dhclient eth1   # make sure that eth1 has an IP address
ifconfig eth1

You may want to add the address to your host PC’s /etc/hosts file to be able to SSH in by name, if it’s Unix-like. For example, add a line like this for OS X:

192.168.x.y mininet-vm

where 192.168.x.y is replaced by the VM’s IP address.

SSH into the VM. We assume the VM is running locally, and that the additional precautions of ssh -X are unnecessary. ssh -Y also has no authentication timeout by default.

ssh -Y mininet@mininet-vm

If you’re running the VM under QEMU/KVM with -net user and the hostfwd option as recommended above, the VM IP address is irrelevant. Instead you tell SSH to connect to port 8022 on the host:

ssh -Y -p 8022 mininet@localhost

Optional VM Customization

These commands are optional, and may be useful for your setup:

Set up SSH auto-login

These steps let you log in via ssh without needing to enter a password. If you use the console from your virtualization software natively, then this step isn’t needed.

Check for ~/.ssh/id_rsa or ~/.ssh/id_dsa. If you can’t find either of these files, then you’ll want to generate an SSH key.

On a unix-like system (OS X or Linux - you’ll need other instructions for Windows) - on the host, not the VM:

ssh-keygen -t rsa

To speed up future SSH connections, add your host’s public key to the new VM. Also on the host, not the VM:

scp ~/.ssh/ openflow@openflow:~/

Now, on the VM (SSH in first):

cd ~/ && mkdir -p .ssh && chmod 700 .ssh && cd .ssh && touch authorized_keys2 && chmod 600 authorized_keys2 && cat ../ >> authorized_keys2 && rm ../ && cd ..

Now you should be able to log in without entering a password.

Mininet Walkthrough

(Highly recommended) Head over to the Walkthrough, which shows common commands. It’ll be really useful, trust us.