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USB over Ethernet

USB over Ethernet: a Detailed Guide on Top-6 Apps

USB over Ethernet (also called USB over Network or USB over IP) solution allows you to share USB-based devices over Ethernet, Wi-Fi, LAN, or even the internet. With its help, you can operate printers, webcams, scanners, and other USB devices over a distance and can access data from a USB flash drive connected to a remote machine.

Olga Weis Olga Weis Last updated Jul 29, 2022

The most convenient way to access USB over Ethernet is by using special software or hardware, like an adapter, a hub, and a USB to Ethernet cable.

In this article, we want to help you to choose the best USB sharing software for your needs.

1. What tool to choose - software or hardware?

It’s critically important to choose the right tools when it comes to hardware-based sharing of a USB through Ethernet. Depending on your specific situation, you may need an adapter, a USB hub, a CAT5e cable extender, or some other wires and gadgets.

Share USB via Ethernet with a dedicated software solution (e.g., FlexiHub) works for all types of USB peripherals and operating systems, and that alone makes this method so popular. Plus, a software USB extender has no limits on distance or the number of USB ports you can share. And you won’t have to spend money on any extra gadgets (like a USB hub or USB-RS32 adapter) and CAT6 LAN cabling.

So before you start spending on any of these, please, make sure you’ve reviewed USB over Ethernet systems comparison. The variety of hardware and software tools for USB redirection can be confusing, so here is the comparison chart of the top solutions on the market:

License type
License type
Various subscription plans
Single static license
Single static license
N/A
N/A
Subscription options
Subscription options
• Personal: 3 connections*/5 nodes**
• Team: min. 5 members
• Business: custom
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Free demo limitations
Free demo limitations
5 shared devices
30 days
2 shared devices
15 days
Windows only
1 shared device
10 days
N/A
N/A
Price per device
Price per device
USD 13.25
USD 37.50
USD 49 Total
USD 14.99
USD 13.49
Multiple device log-in
Multiple device log-in
up to 5 nodes/account***
N/A
Unlimitted
N/A
N/A
Proxi-server
Proxi-server
Redirection Server
• no need for external IP
• multi-network communication
• works through the Firewall
N/A
EasyFind
for extra USD 10/month
N/A
N/A
Supported platforms:
Supported platforms:
Server-side
Server-side
✓ Windows
✓ Linux
✓ macOS
✓ Android
✓ Windows
✓ Linux
✓ Windows
✓ Linux
✓ macOS
✓ Android
✓ Windows
✓ Linux
✓ macOS
✓ Windows
✓ Linux
✓ macOS
Client-side
Client-side
✓ Windows
✓ Linux
✓ macOS
✓ Windows
✓ Linux
✓ Windows
✓ Linux
✓ macOS
✓ Windows
✓ Linux
✓ macOS
✓ Windows
✓ Linux
✓ macOS
Firmware for microcontrollers
Firmware for microcontrollers
Raspberry (upon request)
N/A
Raspberry
routers
NAS (QNAP, Synology, etc.)
N/A
N/A
Security
Security
Login tokens for safe account sharing
Lock for device access control
Access control list
Scripts for access control
N/A
N/A
Encryption
Encryption
2048-bit SSL
N/A
SSL
N/A
N/A
RDP support
RDP support
N/A
N/A
Yes
N/A
N/A
COM-port devices support
COM-port devices support
Windows only
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A

* Connection number defines how many remote devices you can connect to over the network at the same time

** Node is a machine you can log into your account on

*** You can have more for an extra fee

Modern USB over Ethernet apps are as reliable as any physical gadget, cost much less, and often have some handy extra features to offer. Let's overview the complete 2022 Top-6 list.

FlexiHub

Price: From $14/month

Supported OS: Windows, Linux, macOS, and Android

Demo Limitations: 30 days / you can establish up to 5 sessions

FlexiHub holds the leading position in the field of USB over Network solutions. The main winning points of FlexiHub owe its popularity to are:

  • ★ powerful technology, we will have a better look in a moment;
  • ★ user interface that is enjoyable and easy to use for everyone;
  • ★ and, most importantly, FlexiHub is accommodated for both big corporates and individual users.
FlexiHub GUI

Let’s find out what makes FlexiHub so unique and exceptional!

Technical aspect:

  • ● Sharing of USB and COM ports (unique feature)
  • ● Best-in-class security. Advanced 2048-bit SSL traffic encryption: no hacker will ever get access to a single bit of your data!
  • ● FlexiHub can, in just one click, fix issues you may have using USB with RDP or thin clients and USB redirection to a virtual environment.
  • ● Only FlexiHub has Tunnel Servers that significantly improve the data transfer speed and allow to connect machines with no public IP address and protected by NAT orLAN security policy.
  • ● FlexiHub supports ARM-based devices like Surface Pro X, Galaxy Book S, and many others.



There are many more technical benefits of FlexiHub we can name, but let’s get to the reasons why this solution can be a perfect fit for your needs.

Some work remotely with the team that needs to access devices in the office or on a thin client. Or, in a particular case, you may want to access your favorite hardware (dongle, printer, etc.) you don’t want to replug all the time. Are you a business owner looking for a way to cut your expenses and switch to remote operation?

None of the other solutions listed below have such flexible terms and conditions of use as FlexiHub.

For individual users, FlexiHub is the easiest solution possible. One-click, and you have access to any USB or COM device no matter the distance!

For businesses, it has high-capacity service plans with custom software branding and precise customization for your specific business needs. Our sales team will work with you to ensure the developers' crew fulfills your every requirement to the fullest extent.

For a team that needs access to the same devices, FlexiHub offers a team account with centralized monthly billing and convenient user management that allows secure collaboration within and outside the team.

FlexiHub is the most flexible and technologically advanced service today’s market has to offer.

USB Network Gate

Price: Starts from $159.95

Supported OS: Windows, Linux, macOS, Android

Trial limitations: 14-day trial, You can share only one local USB-device

USB Network Gate by Electronic Team, Inc. should be on your radar if you need a software tool that works better than any hardware USB-Ethernet adapter. It is an effective USB extension app that turns a machine into a USB server that reliably redirects traffic from USB-based devices across a network.

USB Network Gate provides a convenient way to share printers, dongle keys, card readers, web cameras, and any other peripheral plugged into a USB port of your computer over any network, including WiFi, Ethernet, LAN, or the Internet.

The best features of USB Network Gate


USB redirection to VM

USB Network Gate helps resolve the issues of accessing local a USB device from VMware, VMware ESX, Citrix XenDesktop, and Microsoft Hyper-V virtualization environments.

The solution lets you share USB over the Remote Desktop Protocol, making it simple to work with a local USB device in a remote session.


USB device isolation on Windows OS

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 a Microsoft user account


Safe and reliable connection

USB Network Gate can compress traffic. This allows for improving the data transfer speed and optimizes bandwidth usage, so the high-speed 100 Mbps connection is not required. The app supports advanced 256-bit SSL encryption that guarantees the security of your communications. It's especially important when you share USB cameras or license dongle keys all over your network.

VirtualHere

Price: $49

Supported OS: Server runs on the Synology, QNAP, ASUSTOR, ReadyNAS, and MyCloud NAS Devices, Raspberry Pi, AMD64, x86, MIPS, ARM, PowerPC, ARM64, etc. running ANY version of Linux, and now runs on OSX, Android and Windows AND WSL2

Trial limitations: 14-day trial, You can share only one local USB-device

VirtualHere is a handy app that eliminates the need to physically plug USB devices into your computer when you want to use them. With this solution, your valuable peripherals can be accessed remotely over a local network, the Internet, or in the cloud.

The app has a clean and friendly GUI and requires minimal effort to be installed. It’s compatible with Windows, macOS, Linux, and Android. You can remotely access USB devices that are plugged into your NAS, which is also a great advantage.

Some other benefits you get with this app include a built-in VPN subscription service and a special version for network-attached storage.

VirtualHere GUI

USB over Network

Price: Starts from $149.95
Monthly-based licensing starts from just $10.70/month

Supported OS: Windows, Linux

Trial limitations: 15-day trial, only one USB device can be connected by the client.

Another great tool for remote access to USB-based devices is USB over Network by FabulaTech. The utility works perfectly well on Windows and Linux operating systems.

It gives you a way to connect to USB dongle keys and other peripherals even if they are located miles away from you. With this application, you get an effective USB server auto-discovery feature which allows you to find all USB servers installed in your local network without specifying their remote IP address.

USB over Ethernet (Windows only)

Price: Starts from $54.99

Supported OS: Windows only

Trial limitations: no

USB over Ethernet by KernelPro is a software solution with two separate parts. A server-side app is used to share USB devices over the Internet (i.a., Wi-Fi), VPN, and local network connections. It has a very limited free trial version that lacks almost all advanced features and only allows one connection at a time, so it doesn’t really give you a complete impression.

USB over Ethernet

The client-side of this software is entirely free. It allows you to connect to the devices shared with the server-side app and use them just like you would use local devices directly connected to your machine.

The best features of USB over Ethernet are: USB device sharing/accessing, free client app, auto-reconnection, compatibility with Hyper-V, VMware, and other virtual machines

Note: This solution has no support for Windows 11

USBDeviceShare

Price: $99 (Unlimited number of devices)

Supported OS: Windows 2000, XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows Server Editions, and Windows 8

Trial limitations: 15 days trial version

USBDeviceShare is another tool that enables sharing of a USB device through Ethernet. All types of USB devices can be shared using USBDeviceShare. The list includes (but is not limited to) Mass Storage devices, Human Interface Devices, Audio, Video, Printer, Scanner, Bluetooth, Wireless, Still Image Capture, Communication devices, etc.

All varieties of USB are supported by USBDeviceShare. It can handle USB 1.x, 2.0, and 3.0 devices which provide variable speeds of data transmission. This app offers a handy software solution for accessing a USB device over an IP network.

USBDeviceShare by SysNucleus

How to choose the best software solution?

Here are some of the most common criteria users take into account when selecting a software USB extender:

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 a peripheral over Ethernet, you should make sure your USB sharing application forwards your sensitive data over encrypted channels.

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. Only FlexiHub has UI modification and White labeling options.

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 a blade server, etc., it would be wise to consider a paid application with a powerful feature set.

Let's start sharing!

We’ve reviewed every critical aspect you need to consider while choosing a USB over Ethernet sharing solution. Don’t waste your time and try the demo version of FlexiHub right now! FlexiHub is the most easy-to-use tool. Once you sign in for your account, you can access any remote USB/COM port device in just a couple of clicks.

Here is a brief guide on how to share USB over Ethernet:

  • 1.
    Register a FlexiHub account.
    Register a FlexiHub profile
  • 2.
    Download the application on the computer with the physical connection to the USB device and start the software.
    Download Flexihub
  • 3.
    Log in to your account. Make sure that the device you would like to connect over the network is displayed in the main window.
    Login flexihub
  • 4.
    Repeat steps 2 & 3 with the remote computer that will access the device over the network.
    Serial device over IP
  • 5.
    Click the Connect button next to the required remote device to establish the connection.
    Connection
After that, the remote machine will be able to use the full functionality of the device as if it had a direct connection to the equipment.

USB over Ethernet FAQ

Each time you connect to USB via Ethernet using FlexiHub, it lets you decide whether or not you want to enable traffic compression for the fastest speed your network can manage. So if you really wanna get more Mbps or find out how fast USB-Ethernet software can be, opt for FlexiHub and you’ll never have issues with webcams or any other USB devices that are isochronous and thus sensitive to latency and bandwidth.

Among the three connection modes available for FlexiHub users, the fastest one is the direct connection with no UDP protocols or Redirection Server involved. The app will automatically set it up for you, provided that both machines you’re linking have public IPs and none is NAT-protected. The actual number of megabits for the data-in-motion will depend on your network’s throughput rate.

On top of that, the later FlexiHub versions come with the new Keep Connections Active feature. If the Internet connection is lost or the remote device gets physically unplugged, the app will pause the session instead of terminating it. Once the Internet is back, or the device is reconnected, the connection will be re-established automatically.
FlexiHub is one of the ultimate software USB extenders for safe USB-Ethernet connections great for accessing security cameras or license dongle keys from any distance. Thanks to the advanced 2048-bit SSL encryption, you won’t have to stress over the risks of your sensitive data getting into the hands of the wrong people.

On top of it, FlexiHub offers you a great way to protect your account credentials so that you won’t have to expose these confidential data to anyone. Just create a login token and pass it to other users you want to share your FlexiHub account with.
Out of the two well-known ways of sharing a USB over IP with a Raspberry Pi, with no fiddly configuration process, try a USB extender that works with all types of USB devices and any popular OS. And that’s the one that involves using FlexiHub. Of course, you can opt for another method and try your luck with some freeware solution instead of a hundred-percent efficient paid app. This choice is totally yours to make.
Not all good USB extension software solutions are costly. With the right tool, you can use a USB device over Ethernet for free without ever spending on a USB to Ethernet CAT5e cable. And there’s absolutely no need to root through the Internet looking for freeware that will actually work and is not a trojan horse. Some of the top paid apps, FlexiHub for instance, offer a free trial. The gratis connection sessions are usually limited, but you can make the most out of them by redirecting USB hubs so that all devices plugged into those hubs become available for remote connection.
Connect to USB over Ethernet with one click
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Connect to USB over Ethernet with one click