How to redirect USB to remote desktop
Users need to create a free FlexiHub account to start using their USB devices with remote machines over a TCP/IP network. A free 7-day trial is offered so you can investigate the power of the application.
After account creation is complete, follow these steps to set up USB over remote desktop connectivity.
- Download and install FlexiHub on the computer that is physically attached to the USB device which will be referred to as the server. Machines that will remotely access the USB peripheral over the RDP are called clients and also need to have the application installed.
- Launch FlexiHub on the server and client and log into your account with the same ID and password.
- Find the USB device you wish to access in the app on the client computer and click Connect.
Once the connection is established the device will immediately be recognized by the client machine.
Helpful FlexiHub features for working with local USB devices on remote desktops
- FlexiHub securely transmits data using 2048-bit SSL encryption offering an extra layer of data protection. This keeps your data safe from misuse from other third parties.
- FlexiHub automatically detects devices connected to the server. As soon as a peripheral is attached, the app detects it and enables it to be shared with clients. You can use 3D mouse in remote desktop, webcams, keyboards, smart card readers, and share many more types of USB devices quickly and easily.
- The application does not require a public IP address since it uses an internal redirection server for sharing USB traffic over RDP. This allows computers that can’t detect the server to still connect an RDP session to the USB device.
- FlexiHub does not require you to install USB drives on the remote machine when it connects a USB device to an RDP session.
- FlexiHub supports remote desktops running on the Windows, Mac, and Linux platforms. You can connect to a USB device from any protocol including Microsoft Terminal Services, Azure, Hyper-V, VMware, Citrix XenDesktop, and many others.
Potential issues when redirecting USB over RDP
You can use native operating system capabilities to redirect USB traffic to remote desktops but you may run into difficulties. Certain devices work better than others because of issues such as bandwidth and network latency.
An example can be seen with USB devices that need consistency high throughput. Latency may impact their functionality in a VDI session. Another problem can come up with USB 3.0 devices attempting to use a USB 2.0 port on the client.
When selecting USB devices that will be used in a native USB redirection environment, an IT team needs to keep in mind the performance requirements of the peripheral equipment.
Factors to consider when redirecting USB to Remote Desktop
- The state of the network is crucial when using USB audio devices. Unreliable networks are not recommended for these devices, as they need high throughput even when idle.
- Webcams are not supported by USB redirection due to high bandwidth requirements that usually exceed 60 Mbps.
- The performance of USB scanners is directly connected to the network’s state and scans may take longer than anticipated.
- WANs can pose latency and reliability issues that impact the performance of USB devices. An example of the problem is illustrated when reading a large file across the WAN. Each read request demands three two-way transfers between the remote desktop and device. A small difference in network latency can be compounded over multiple requests to cause substantial performance degradation.
- Performance can be impacted by the file structure used on large USB disks. These can take a considerable amount of time to be recognized in an RDP session after being connected for the first time. Unreliable network links result in multiple retries which reduces performance. Using NTFS instead of FAT as the underlying filesystem can speed up connection time.
- USB CD/DVD readers, scanners, and touch devices also exhibit problems when usage is attempted on a WAN that has latency issues.