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network config not working on newer libvirt


up until a year ago, I was running a server with Debian 10 (stable) on it with the latest versions of libvirt, qemu and kernel 4.19.x Debian 10 had to offer (both libvirt and qemu versions were really old).

the network config was simple, one of the vm acted as a router and provided the ip for both the host and the vm.
I've recently switched distro and now I'm running latest stable libvirt, qemu and kernel 5.4.x
I've tried to reinstate the network config on the new distro but I cannot get ip via dhcp for the second vm.
if I assign manual ip and gateway, I have access to the outside world.

here are the relevant dumps:
network on the router vm:
    <interface type='network'>
      <mac address='52:54:00:53:1c:6b'/>
      <source network='default'/>
      <target dev='virtsw0-vm1'/>
      <model type='virtio'/>
      <address type='pci' domain='0x0000' bus='0x21' slot='0x01' function='0x0'/>

the other vm
    <interface type='network'>
      <mac address='52:54:00:5a:4c:8c'/>
      <source network='default'/>
      <target dev='virtsw0-vm2'/>
      <model type='virtio'/>
      <address type='pci' domain='0x0000' bus='0x00' slot='0x03' function='0x0'/>

and finally:
<network connections='2'>
  <bridge name='virtsw0' stp='on' delay='0'/>
  <mac address='52:54:00:6b:1b:92'/>

as it is possible I'm missing a kernel config, here is the output of lsmod:
vfio_pci               49152  6
vfio_virqfd            16384  1 vfio_pci
vfio_iommu_type1       32768  2
vfio                   28672  16 vfio_iommu_type1,vfio_pci
ip6table_nat           16384  1
iptable_nat            16384  1
ebtables               24576  0
bridge                143360  0
stp                    16384  1 bridge
llc                    16384  2 bridge,stp
cfg80211              647168  0
x86_pkg_temp_thermal    20480  0
kvm_intel             237568  8
vhost_net              24576  3
vhost                  36864  1 vhost_net
tap                    24576  1 vhost_net
kvm                   663552  1 kvm_intel
tun                    53248  8 vhost_net
r8152                  73728  0
nct6775                57344  0
mei_me                 32768  0
hwmon_vid              20480  1 nct6775
irqbypass              16384  22 vfio_pci,kvm
mii                    16384  1 r8152
mei                    77824  1 mei_me
coretemp               16384  0
efivarfs               16384  1

and the .config at https://dpaste.com/9ZUCBDE9R

any ideas how to fix it?



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