The virtualization technologies offer lots of benefits when there is a need for running various operating systems at the same time. Hosting multiple guest OSes on the single machine helps you cut software-related costs but what is more, it allows you to be more flexible when it comes to managing limited IT-resources.
Still and all, despite all its advantages, virtualization also has certain drawbacks that make its use troublesome. For example, your VMware Workstation may not detect a local USB device and it will not show up in the Device Manager.
One problem that is often encountered with virtualization apps is in enabling the software to fully and reliably forward data from serial and USB devices to the virtual environment. In some cases, you may access the devices from the virtual machine but have issues getting the peripherals to function correctly.
Another problem arises when USB devices can be redirected from the host to the guest OS but a limited number of USB ports are available to the virtual machine.
In this article, we will tell you how to get around this issue and connect any number of USB devices to VMware virtual machines easily and securely.
USB Network Gate enables any USB device to be forwarded over a local network, Ethernet, or the Internet. This allows VMware workstation USB passthrough to be enacted even when you have no USB devices physically connected to the host machine.
Simply install USB Network Gate on all networked computers with USB devices attached and these devices can be shared with your VMware virtual machine.
This unique ability provided by USB Network Gate opens new opportunities for connecting virtual environments over the network and can be instrumental in working with POS devices, industrial automation systems, and many other applications.
The maximum number of devices that can be connected at once is two. Using a hub does not impact this number, as the virtual devices are detected, not the hub.
Releasing a device is done by selecting a port to which it is connected and choosing None in its menu.
If the auto-connect feature was disabled when a device is attached to the host machine, you can manually connect it through the VM > Removable Devices menu.
By default, devices attached to the host machine are connected to the VM rather than the host. But if a VMware workstation USB device is not showing up, you need to redirect the USB device manually.
You may also need to do this after powering the VM off or unplugging and re-attaching the device.
VMware Workstation should retain the connection to the host machine’s USB port, but if the device does not reconnect and is still available you can redirect it manually by selecting VM > Removable Devices > Device Name > Connect, which will disconnect it from the host.
In order to implement the USB passthrough capabilities on an ESXi host, you should follow several simple steps.
But, before you start, take into account that VMware ESXi allows you to mount a USB device to only one virtual machine at a time.
If your local USB device is currently connected to a virtual machine, you will not be able to add it to another one until the device is disconnected from that machine.
Also, you should remember that VMware ESXi lets you connect USB devices to guest OSes only if the physical devices are attached to the host on which the virtual machines run, which is opposed to dedicated USB passthrough software capable of working with any remote devices over the network.