How to share USB external
hard drive on a network

Common problem – you need to connect an external USB hard drive to several computers in the network (Wi-Fi/Ethernet/LAN/TCP/IP). All computers need access to the contents of the disk, but you cannot attach the device to each of them.

How to share external hard drive over network? Let us have a look at some of the solutions!

Share over Network

3 ways to share external hard drive:

  1. Software to share USB storage over Network
  2. Share storage through a high-speed USB cable
  3. How to share USB hard drive over Wi-Fi

Software solution to share USB storage over Network

Electronic Team, Inc. offers a convenient solution to this problem - USB Network Gate (aka USB over Ethernet), a software application that enables you to share USB storage over network.
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USB Network Gate

Share USB over Ethernet on Windows
4.9 Rank based on 179+ users, Reviews(72)
Download 14-day trial, You can share only 1 local USB-device
USB Network Gate

Share external hard drive over network in just a couple of steps:

  1. Download and install the app - on a computer to which a device is to be connected and all machines that need access to the device.

  2. Connect a drive to the computer via USB port.

  3. Launch USB Network Gate and share hard drive over network via its interface.

With USB Network Gate you will be able to share any USB device on Windows 10 and below, Mac, Android and Linux.

These are the main advantages offered by the app:

Remote access to USB devices regardless of their physical location
Work in virtual environment and RDP sessions
Citrix ICA protocol support
Per-user session – a USB device can be shared only with a certain user over RDP, and other users will have no access to it.
Cross-platform solution – works with Linux, Mac, Win, Android
No additional devices required

Share storage through a high-speed USB cable

You can share USB external hard drive over network with the help of a high-speed USB cable. USB 2.0 solution provides the following functionality:

Share and transfer data between two computers via USB port.
The speed of data transfer can be over 15 Mbps, and thanks to dual buffer the data can be transferred in both directions.
Work in Mobile PC and SOHO environment.
Make use of advantages offered by single chip ASIC Hi-Speed USB host to host communication and bus powered from a port.
Data link

The solution is compliant with USB specification v. 1.1 and 2.0.

Overall, USB 2.0 seems to be a good solution to share USB drive over network, but since you are limited by the cable’s length, it is unlikely you can use it for sharing data between multiple computers that are not located in proximity to each other.

How to share USB hard drive over Wi-Fi

One more way to share USB storage is to map it as a network external hard drive over Wi-Fi.

  1. First locate it in the router settings – open a browser on a computer connected to a Wi-Fi network, type in the router’s IP address, it usually has a format like

  2. Login using your credentials, go to Settings and find ‘Drive storage’ tab or section. Right-click on the drive you need and choose ‘Map network drive’ in the context menu displayed.

  3. Give your drive a name to identify it easier, and check ‘Reconnect at sign-in’ option.

  4. Once you are done with the setup, click ‘Finish’. You might have to restart your PC or laptop to see the storage drive.

Router Drive

This solution is quite convenient and requires no cables or additional hardware, but it is limited by the network availability, unlike Electronic Team, Inc. software solution – it allows you to share external hard drive over Ethernet, Internet and other networks. You are not restricted to the area covered by Wi-Fi signal.

All said and done, our take would be USB Network Gate. This seems to be the most convenient way to access remote USB external drive as it is not restricted to the network area and does not require additional equipment.

USB Network Gate

Requirements for Windows (32-bit and 64-bit): XP/Vista/7/8/10, Windows Server 2003/2008/2012/2016/2019
Also available on macOS, Linux OS and Android , 6.08MB size
Version 8.2.2087 (9th Jan, 2020) Release notes
Category: CommunicationApplication