It can be extremely useful to be able to access USB dongles when working in hypervisor environments such as a Hyper-V or VMware workstation. This article intends to show you how to implement a Hyper-V USB passthrough (a.k.a. USB over Ethernet redirection) so your local USB device can be recognized by a Hyper-V host or client.
USB passthrough is the technical term used to describe the process of enabling a virtual machine (VM) to access local resources like printers or USB dongles via RDP. This can be done with a Hyper-V USB license dongle or by implementing USB redirection at the Hyper-V host level.
The Problem of Hyper-V USB Device Redirection
When you are in the active window of a running virtual machine, you cannot access any local peripherals (USB or SCSI) that are connected to the host computer. In order for Hyper-V to connect to a USB peripheral, you need to redirect its traffic from the host to the guest VM. This may not be possible due to the limited number of USB ports on the virtual machine. In some cases, there may be no available ports at all.
USB Redirector software solves this issue and allows you to redirect USB dongles, PnP devices, and even a USB hub to a Hyper-V virtual machine or a VMware workstation. With this utility, you can access any network-attached USB device in your virtual machine via Ethernet. This allows you to work with USB peripherals that are not in physical proximity to your VM. Just follow this simple procedure to make this possible.
Steps for Hyper-V USB Device Redirection
1Download USB_Network_Gate.exe from the official webpage and install the app on both the physical and virtual machines.
2Share a USB dongle that is attached to a physical server. This can be any computer that is attached to your network.
3After the dongle has been shared from a server it can be accessed by a virtual client machine. Use USB Network Gate on the VM to establish communication with the USB device.
4Your Hyper-V or VMware ESX Device Manager will display the shared device. At this point, the virtual machine can use that device just as if it had a direct physical connection to the equipment.
The pros and cons of using USB Redirector to enable Hyper-V USB Dongle support:
- Cross-Platform compatibility supporting the Windows, Linux, and Mac operating systems.
- Minimal network configuration is required.
- Support for a wide variety of USB devices.
- Stable USB connections.
- Network connectivity is required to implement the redirection of local devices.
- The software is a paid, commercial application.