The popularity of the USB interface has made devices using this method of connectivity a common sight in the workplace. The plug-and-play nature of equipment using the USB interface makes them very convenient to use and easy to move between different computers. But is there a way to connect a USB device to a computer wirelessly? Let's find out!
Sometimes, sharing the equipment physically is not enough. Swapping cables can get tiresome and involves moving devices to machines that may not have a free USB port available. Then decisions need to be made regarding which device is more important and should be connected at any given time. Cabling can get messy, and in many cases, you will be constrained by the size of the device when considering how to move it and share it.
You may want to share an important piece of equipment with users in other physical locations or remote offices.
In these situations, a wireless USB connection would be an elegant solution. There are several ways to turn a typical USB peripheral into a wireless device. This can be done either with hardware or software that will make it appear as if you are using wireless USB devices.
Keep reading to find out:
If you need to make your USB devices wireless, USB over Wi-Fi software is going to be one of your best options.
USB Network Gate offers a software solution that enables you to utilize wireless USB devices by making them available to any network-attached machine. It allows you to share equipment with remote users located anywhere in the world. USB Network Gate eliminates the need for additional cabling or equipment and lets multiple users access a device simultaneously.
You can also employ a hardware solution to make your USB devices wireless.
Wi-Fi USB hubs or USB sharing stations are pieces of hardware equipment for USB devices sharing with multiple users over a Wi-Fi network.
A wireless USB hub works by taking connected USB devices and converting their signals to wireless signals available to networked users.
In terms of range, wireless USB 2.0 Hubs transmit up to 480 Mbps within 10 feet. Beyond 10 feet, data transfer rate drops to approximately 110 Mbps.
Alternatively, a much faster type is the USB 3.0—which transfers data up to 4.8Gb/s.
Unsurprisingly, this means that Wireless USB hubs are available in a variety of different sizes, allowing users to connect with multiple unique devices. These Wireless USB hubs often provide anywhere from 2 to 6 USB ports.
Setting up a wireless USB extender is a straightforward process:
Step 1: Install the device’s software. This is required in order for the computer to recognize and connect to the USB device wirelessly.
Step 2: After successfully installing software, establish a connection between your device and a wireless network. (Or with an RJ45 cable.)
Step 3: Connect the USB device to a USB port on the wireless hub.
There are some drawbacks to this option when compared to USB Network Gate.
So, by using this solution, you are limited by the number of ports available on the USB hub. Therefore, sharing a significant number of devices may require multiple hubs.
The USB hub needs to be in the range of your wireless router to minimize latency. It also needs to be connected to a power supply.
Another inconvenience of utilizing Wi-Fi USB hubs is that the devices that connect to hubs must be connected directly (physically) using a USB cable.
The “wireless” aspect references only its capability to connect to a computer via a Wi-Fi network connection.
The last method we will look at converts a USB device to Bluetooth signals.
A Bluetooth USB adapter plugs into a free USB port and allows a computer to communicate with other nearby and Bluetooth enables devices. This connection potentially allows the two computers to share a USB device. There may be distance limitations with this solution and it requires additional hardware and an open USB port.
The USB2BT devices most frequently come with a built - in battery. Reliant upon the usage, the USB2BT could potentially run for hours—or EVEN days.
Please note: A majority of peripherals (such as keyboards and webcams) are compatible/supported by the device.
Additionally, such power consumption can vary, and the data rates rely upon the wireless connection. Thus, functionality can be slow due to a weak signal.
Many folks question whether a so-called wireless USB "cable" really even exists. What users are really referring to when thinking of a wireless USB cable, is the following setup where USB adapters give users the option of:
Such options were available in the past, but carried many drawbacks that ruined their chances of gaining popularity. Such drawbacks include very short efficacy ranges, high latency, regular disconnections, and no support for modern operating systems.
Moreover, these solutions demanded stable power supplies. In almost all scenarios, USBs also need to provide power to the connected device.
Just consider for a moment, attempting to connect with a flash drive in such a way.
A USB cable transmits 5V to the device, allowing it to function. Utilizing a wireless dongle that is connected to a PC would provide power to the dongle, but would not provide power to the remote USB device.
Now you know how to make a USB device wireless using hardware or software. The software option offers more flexibility and removes any distance limitations by enabling USB communication to reach any network-connected user. While using any of these methods enables you to create wireless USB devices, USB Network Gate is the most effective and efficient means of sharing USB devices without any limitation on distance or additional hardware.