USB over Ethernet - Simple and Powerful Solution For
Everyday Use


When computer networks were not that wide-spread, to transfer files from one computer to another we used removable media. Now that almost every computer is connected to the network, sometimes you still have to manually perform some actions, but this time with different USB devices. For example, every time you want to use a scanner, a flash drive or a security key, you have to physically connect it to your computer’s USB port. And now let’s imagine that you need to access the same USB device from different PCs located far from each other. What will you do? The solution is easier than you think.

All you need is USB to Ethernet technology that will share your USB peripheral over the network.

Content

  1. What is USB to Ethernet technology?
  2. Best USB over Ethernet software. How to choose
  3. What are the spheres of application for USB over Ethernet technology?
  4. Hardware USB to IP converters
  5. Alternative USB over Ethernet software solutions
  6. The core strengths and advantages of software USB to LAN redirectors
  7. The frequently asked questions about USB over Ethernet software

What is USB to Ethernet technology?

USB over Ethernet technology is a simple way to redirect a USB device across your local network so that it appears on a remote computer like it was attached to the machine physically. The technology is supported by a wide range of software or hardware USB redirectors. And probably the hardest task is to find the optimal solution among a myriad of similar apps and devices.

In this article, we’ll cover the best offers in the market of USB over IP programs and hardware and highlight the benefits they bring.

USB Network Gate by Electronic Team, Inc.

Electronic Team, Inc. has developed a tool that enables access to network-connected USB devices such as your Android phone.
UNG logo

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

Best USB over Ethernet software. How to choose

Here are some of the most common criteria users take into account when selecting a solution to share USB over Ethernet:

1. The security of data transfer. Different software tools offer different levels of protection when redirecting data over the network. If you are going to share USB over Ethernet, you should make sure your USB over LAN application forwards your sensitive data over encrypted channels.

2. The software integration option. It’s important whether the solution can be utilized only as a standalone USB over IP app or can be integrated into a custom product.

3. The price. There are free and paid USB over network apps. If you are developing your own product and your goal is to add some basic USB sharing capabilities to your project, the free solution may be sufficient. However, if you are looking for some advanced USB redirection features like remote access to USB devices over RDP, forwarding of USB to a virtual environment or blade servers, etc. it would be wise to consider a paid application with a powerful feature set.

Now, let’s have a look at some of the most efficient software USB to IP converters to date.

USB Network Gate


USB Network Gate by Electronic Team, Inc. is a USB sharing application that definitely deserves your attention. This solution will be your reliable assistant in redirecting USB devices of any kind (including 3D Printers, web cameras, card readers, digital TV tuners, and many more) across Ethernet, WiFi, LAN, or the Internet.


USB Network Gate by Electronic Team, Inc.

USB Network Gate is friendly, functional, and reliable, so it’s not surprising that the app gained popularity among so many users worldwide
UNG logo

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

Why do users choose USB Network Gate?


The app allows you to seamlessly share and access USB devices over Ethernet not just on Windows but also on Mac, Linux, and Android OSes. Being cross-platform compatible, this program makes it possible to share USB peripherals between different platforms, for example, connect from Windows to Mac, from Mac to Linux, etc.

The utility helps resolve the issues of accessing local USB devices from VMware, VMware ESX, Citrix XenDesktop and Microsoft Hyper-V virtualization apps.

The solution lets you share USB over the Remote Desktop Protocol, making it simple to work with local USB devices in a remote session.

USB Network Gate has the ability to compress traffic, which allows improving the data transfer speed and optimizes bandwidth usage.

The app supports advanced 256-bit SSL encryption that guarantees the security of your communications when you share USB via Ethernet.

FlexiHub


Another efficient software USB over IP extender, FlexiHub, is aimed at providing remote access to USB equipment over the Internet. Its mission is to create virtual copies of USB ports on remote computers. By connecting a real USB interface to its virtual copy over the network, FlexiHub allows accessing a real USB device attached to this real port from a remote PC where the virtual interface is created.

Flexihub

The good reasons to go with FlexiHub:

The software comes with a clean and intuitive interface that will get you what you need simply and efficiently.

FlexiHub has versions for Windows, macOS, Linux, and Android operating systems. You’ll have no problem establishing cross-platform connections, be it Windows-macOS, Linux-Windows, or any other combination.

You can communicate with other users logged in to your FlexiHub account via a convenient FlexiChat.

The app encrypts data traveling over an Internet connection, this way protecting it from unauthorized access.

FlexiHub is fully compatible with VMWare, ESX, Citrix XenDesktop, Microsoft Hyper-V, Windows Virtual PC, QEMU virtualization software.

What are the spheres of application for USB over Ethernet technology?

There are many situations where sharing USB over Ethernet is the best solution. Below you’ll find just some of the most common scenarios.

Sharing peripheral devices in an office


Do you have lots of computers and a limited number of peripherals in your office? No need to buy additional devices. Just share the peripherals over the network. You can connect any USB device, be it a printer, a scanner, a laser plotter, etc. to one of your office PCs and share the peripheral with all employees over WiFi. What makes it possible is a compact USB over Wi-Fi software application installed on the USB server - the machine to which the required device is connected physically.

Connecting to a USB hard drive from multiple computers


Or, maybe, you want to back up all of your computers onto one large USB hard drive? A software USB extender over Ethernet is what you need. A dedicated app will share USB over network in such a way that several machines will be able to access the same USB hard drive over a local network.

Accessing USB devices in a virtual machine


Can’t connect to your host’s USB from a guest OS? USB over Ethernet technology comes to the rescue. You install a USB to LAN software on both your host computer and a virtual machine (VirtualBox, VMware, Hyper-V, Xen, Citrix, etc.) and the program forwards locally attached devices over the network making them accessible to the guest operating system.

Sharing security dongles


Looking for a way to copy your security dongle? You can do this with the help of a reliable USB to LAN software powered by USB to LAN technology. All you need is a program like USB Network Gate or FlexiHub. Whether you’re planning to use your hardware key on multiple remote computers or just want to prevent it from being damaged or lost, you can always rely on one of these compact software apps to share your device across the network

Connecting remotely to iOS and Android devices


Need to test your app on an iOS or Android device which can’t be physically attached to your local machine? Connect to the device remotely. USB to Ethernet technology not only will allow you to communicate with a required gadget over the network but will also provide full access to its functionality as though the device were attached directly to your PC.

Redirecting USB over RDP


USB over Ethernet technology can be especially useful for those who are working in a remote desktop session. Every time you connect to the remote side over the Microsoft RDP protocol, the technology redirects local USB devices to your remote desktop environment, making it possible for you to fully access USB peripherals plugged locally.

Sharing a webcam among multiple users


Want to know how to access a webcam form a remote PC? Well, if you don’t want to carry your device along and just wish to connect to it from a remote computer, there’s a solution. As long as you’re in the network, USB to Ethernet technology gives you a way to access your webcam from anywhere. To make this happen, you just need to share the device with a special USB redirector app and set up a video signal using a dedicated one-click software solution.

Using one keyboard and mouse with two computers


To get your work done in an efficient way, you may need to enable remote access to your input and output devices. Operating multiple computers via a single monitor, keyboard, and mouse becomes possible thanks to USB to Ethernet technology which shares the peripherals over LAN.

Hardware USB to IP converters

Kensington ShareCentral 2

If you are tired of constantly plugging and unplugging computer peripherals, this compact hardware tool will be a perfect solution for you. The ShareCentral 2 allows you to switch between any two USB devices by pressing the corresponding buttons. You simply attach the desired USB peripheral to your USB switch and connect the hardware to two PCs via USB. Now, you can switch each of the USB devices from one computer to another. LED lights will show you which machine is currently enabled.

USB2-SWITCH2

Our next pick is the USB2-SWITCH2 tool working without drivers on Windows, Mac, and Linux machines. This hardware solution can provide two computers with shared access to a single USB-based keyboard, mouse, USB graphics adapter, etc. Also, you can connect the switch to a powered USB hub with multiple USB devices attached and change control of these devices between the connected computers

The US224 Peripheral Sharing Switch

Another easy way to share your keyboard and mouse between two computers is the US224 Peripheral Sharing Switch. This device offers four built-in USB ports and a convenient remote port selection feature. In addition to a USB keyboard and mouse, it lets you share up to two peripheral devices. The hardware is compatible with multiple platforms, including Windows, Linux, Mac, and Sun.

Alternative USB over Ethernet software solutions

In essence, USB switch solutions highlighted above can come in handy for sharing USB devices between two computers. If you have more than two machines which require shared access to the same USB device, you should try to make this device accessible over the network with the help of a software USB to Ethernet tool.

As we have already mentioned, USB Network Gate and FlexiHub are probably the most efficient solutions you can find today. Some other popular USB sharing apps include:

USB/IP - free software alternative


USB/IP project is designed to establish a general system for sharing USB peripherals over the IP network. This solution is free. Its mission is to convert USB I/O messages to IP packets for their further redirection to a required computer. What’s nice about the project is that you can use original USB device drivers and programs for remote USB peripherals. As for the weaknesses, USB/IP solution hasn't been updated for quite a long time and is recommended for experienced users rather than computer novices.

USB over IP

USB over Network


Another great tool for remote access to USB-based devices is USB over Network software. The utility works perfectly well on Windows and Linux operating systems. It gives you a way to connect to a USB peripheral even if it’s located miles away from you. With this application, you get an effective USB server auto-discovery feature which allows you to find USB servers installed in your local network without specifying their remote IP address.

USB over Network

VirtualHere


VirtualHere is a handy app that eliminates you of the need to physically plug USB devices into your computer when you want to use them. With this solution, your valuable peripherals can be accessed remotely over a local network, the Internet or in the cloud. The app has a clean and friendly GUI and requires minimal effort to be installed. It’s compatible with Windows, macOS, Linux, and Android, which is also a great advantage. Some other benefits you get with VirtualHere include a built-in VPN subscription service and a special version for network attached storages.

VirtualHere

The core strengths and advantages of software USB to LAN redirectors

To sum up, let's consider the clear advantages of software USB to Ethernet converters over the hardware solutions:

1. Unlike hardware devices, software tools can let you share an unlimited number of USB devices.

2. In addition to local networks, dedicated software apps work over the Internet and WiFi.

3. You don’t need to install any additional drivers.

4. No cable clutter on your desk.

5. Most software solutions support cross-platform connections, whereas hardware USB to Ethernet converters are usually designed for working with a particular OS, etc.

The frequently asked questions about USB over Ethernet software

1. How to share USB over Ethernet?

Here’s one of the easiest ways to share a USB device over your local network:

Download a USB sharing app and install it on all computers that will communicate with your USB device remotely as well as on the machine (server) where the peripheral is attached physically.

Start the software on the server PC, find the device in the “Local Devices” tab and hit “Share” next to it.

On a remote computer (client), head to the “Remote Devices” tab, locate the device and click “Connect”

This is it! Now, the peripheral will appear in the Device Manager of the client machine although it’s not connected to the PC physically.

2. Is it safe to share USB data over Ethernet?

The ability to encrypt data transmission is one of the most important characteristics of any USB over IP sharing solution. As long as you use such apps as USB Network Gate or FlexiHub, you don’t need to worry about the security of data transmitted over the network. Both applications use advanced 256-bit SSL encryption which protects all network communications from unauthorized access.

3. How many USB devices can be simultaneously shared over Ethernet?

USB Network Gate by Electronic Team, Inc. will let you share as many USB peripherals as you need. The number of devices you can share at a time will be limited only by your system’s capabilities.

4. Does USB over Ethernet software work on other platforms than Windows?

Yes, USB Network Gate is a multi-platform solution. It’s compatible with Windows, Linux macOS, and Android operating systems. With this app, you can create server-client connections between different platforms in any combination.

5. Can I integrate USB over Ethernet functionality into my own app?

Yes, you can integrate USB Network Gate functionality into your own software or hardware product and share local USB devices or communicate with remote ones right from your app.

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 , 5.59MB size
Version 8.1.2013 (12th Jun, 2019) Release notes
Category: CommunicationApplication