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 - USB over Ethernet software.
All you need is USB to Ethernet technology that will share your USB peripheral over the network.
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 converters. 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 Ethernet programs and hardware and highlight the benefits they bring.
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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 USB 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 Ethernet app or can be integrated into a custom product.
3. In a shared computer environment, use USB Network Gate to isolate any connected USB devices and prevent unauthorized access. With any USB peripheral device, whether it’s a USB drive, camera or audio card, you can manage access by specifying a session ID, or a specific user by Microsoft user account.
4. 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 Ethernet converters to date.
USB Network Gate - professional USB over Ethernet software
USB over Ethernet like 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 sharing 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.
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.
Another efficient software USB over Ethernet 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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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