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Thin Client USB Redirection - USB over Ethernet Zero Clients

Editorial Team Editorial Team Jul 6, 2023

Under most circumstances, when a USB device gets plugged into a thin client, a USB to remote desktop redirection is done right away. Implementing dedicated thin client USB over RDP redirection software is the easiest way to overcome these issues and configure thin client USB redirection.

thin client usb passthrough

The best solution for thin client USB passthrough

USB Network Gate virtualizes USB ports, making the connected local device accessible from thin clients to servers. USB Network Gate software supports RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol) and Citrix ICA, making itself an excellent tool for terminal server thin client usb redirection.

Enable thin client USB redirection
14-day free trial

Thanks to USB Network Gate, users can enable USB peripheral devices from their thin clients to be shared with numerous remote desktop users.

Moreover, this USB thin client software lets users configure local PCs to automatically detect and connect with USBs on remote machines.

USB Network Gate is available for Windows, Linux, and macOS operating systems, and offers several additional benefits that users will find helpful.

  • Ultra-fast connection speed over any network type (Ethernet, WiFi, Internet, and LAN)
  • Safe and secure data protection thanks to advanced encryption protocols
  • Complete access to remote and local USBs from thin clients on RDP (and more)

Thin client USB to RDP redirection: a step-by-step guide

Learn how to configure thin client USB redirection using USB Network Gate:
Install USB Network Gate on all thin clients that will redirect the USB devices and the server.
 download ung to thin client
After starting the software on a thin client, share the USB peripheral by clicking “Share” in the corresponding tab.
 share usb on thin client
Connect to the terminal server.
 connect to the server from the thin client
From the server, launch USB Network Gate and locate the shared USB device in the “Remote USB Devices” tab.
Hit “Connect” next to the required USB device.
 connect usb device redirected from the thin client

After that, the USB device will appear in the server’s Device Manager and operate with the same level of functionality that a locally connected device would. Only devices shared from the thin client will be visible when connecting to the server over RDP.

USB over Ethernet Zero Client Challenge

A thin client USB passthrough has some restrictions:

  • Many USB devices cannot be redirected to the server over RDP by default. And those that are supported, often encounter various problems.
  • When USB devices attached to thin clients are redirected to a server over RDP, they become accessible to all users connected to the same server.
thin client usb restrictions

How to isolate USB in Zero Clients

RDP and thin clients are frequently implemented in corporate work environments, indicating that a high volume of users requires access to their USB devices during RDP sessions.

Windows usually treats USBs as system-wide resources, meaning that they’re visible to all users. This causes issues when many thin clients need to connect to terminal servers remotely. Even though Windows allows access and control over the system objects (including devices), its functionality usually isn’t enough to assign particular devices to specific users.

USB Network Gate allows users to restrict access to the USB devices (like scanners, printers, USB drives, webcams, microphones, etc) when shared from thin clients. The software allows users to restrict device accessibility to a current session, or a specific domain, or a Microsoft account. This provides additional security for thin client USB redirection.

Enable thin client USB redirection
14-day free trial


Traditionally, a thin client is a desktop terminal without a hard drive. However, it does have a minimum required amount of hardware, sufficient enough for running its OS. A thin client requires a connection to a server (one that stores applications, memory, programs, sensitive data, etc) in its data center to perform its computing.

Thin clients can utilize Remote Desktop Protocol, Citrix ICA, and other protocols as a communication channel.

There’s an array of thin client manufacturers to choose from, but all of them (from big-wigs like HP and Dell down to small-town companies) provide equal solution/service.

Since a thin client’s computing doesn’t happen on a device, but on the servers, thin clients are classified as virtual desktops (VDI) which provides numerous valuable benefits.

  • Heightened corporate data security
  • Administration centralization
  • Lower costs on IT infrastructure
  • Lower costs on modernization
  • Lower energy consumption
  • Simplified centralized backup

Additionally, devices other than standard hardware (like mice, keyboards, monitors, and network cables) can connect to thin clients, provided they can be recognized and transmitted to their terminal server.

Thin clients run their operating system locally and have flash memory instead of hard disks. Since thin clients lack hard drive/local storage options, applications and data get stored on central servers. However, advanced technology in thin clients lets users enjoy a similar experience as what they would encounter using a regular fat client (personal computer).

Thin clients permit local printing, web browsing, audio support, serial device support, terminal emulation, and can even meld network computing and local processing into one.

Thanks to an increased need for remote accessibility, thin clients providing remote access solutions will likely go down in price and grow in efficacy.

In addition, as individual connection protocols advance (like RemoteFX and Citrix HDX), organizations will inherit more efficiency from virtual desktop solutions.

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