MAC clients such as physical datalinks and VNICs are configured over a NIC to enable communication between a system and other network nodes. A MAC client can be either a hardware-based client or a software-based client.
Clients that have exclusive use of one or more NIC rings are called hardware-based clients. You can assign rings for exclusive use by hardware-based clients depending on the ring allocation supported by the NICs.
Clients that do not have exclusive use of NIC rings are called software-based clients. They share rings with other existing software-based clients or with the primary client. The rings that the software-based clients use depend on the number of hardware-based clients that have priority in ring allocation.