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USB over Ethernet Software Comparison: Find Your New Favorite

Olga Weis Olga Weis Last updated Sep 22, 2021

Having a quick and easy way to share USB devices with remote computers is highly desirable in lots of work-related situations. Extending USB via Ethernet using 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 in 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.

FlexiHub

This app supplies the user with a method of accessing devices over Ethernet. It accomplishes this by creating a virtual copy of the physical USB port on a remote machine that needs access to the USB equipment. When a device is connected to the physical port, FlexiHub connects this real interface with its network-attached virtual copy. Now the remote machine with the virtual port can access the device as if it were physically connected.

flexihub

FlexiHub supports Windows, Linux, macOS, and Android, and cross-platform connectivity with zero compatibility issues between any of the supported platforms is easily achieved. The tool also works with many virtual environments, including ESX, VMWare, Microsoft Hyper-V, Citrix XenDesktop, and Windows Virtual PC. The tool offers users a simple and intuitive method to access USB dongles and other USB-based devices via Ethernet with no special configuration requirements.

USB Network Gate (aka USB to Ethernet)

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. UNG 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.

USB Network Gate has gained popularity with users around the globe due to its reliability, capabilities, and user-friendly interface. The software offers two exceptional features that will protect your data and reduce your network bandwidth usage. The tool also has the capacity to compress all data transmission to improve transfer speed and minimize the demands on your network. These elements of the application help make it the best USB over Ethernet software solution.

usb network gate

The best features of USB Network Gate

  • The app allows you to seamlessly share and access any USB device via Ethernet not just on Windows but also on Mac, Linux, and Android OSes. Being cross-platform compatible, this program makes it possible to share a USB device between different OSes, for example, connect from Windows to Mac, from Mac to Linux, etc.
  • 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 Network Gate can compress traffic. This allows 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.

USB/IP - free software alternative

USB/IP project is designed to establish a general system for sharing a USB device through Ethernet networks. This solution is free. Its mission is to convert USB I/O messages to IP packets for their further redirection to a required computer. What’s nice about the project is that you can use original USB device drivers and programs for remote peripherals. As for the weaknesses, USB/IP solution hasn't been updated for quite a long time and is recommended for experienced users rather than computer novices.

Also, it can't be used as a software extension for a USB hub and requires at least a 100 Mbps network connection to work with latency-sensitive devices like scanners, webcams, or security cameras.

USB/IP

USB over Network

Another great tool for remote access to USB-based devices is USB over Network software. 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 Network

VirtualHere

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, 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

USBoverEthernet by KernelPro

Remotely accessing a USB device over any type of IP network is easy with this professional-grade application. It enables you to access a USB device attached to a remote machine from your local machine over Ethernet even if there is no physical CAT6 cable between them. The tool accomplishes this without requiring you to install the device’s driver on the computer to which it is connected.

USBDeviceShare

USBDeviceShare is another tool that enables sharing of a USB device through Ethernet. Network-attached USB devices can be accessed remotely as if they were directly attached to the remote machine. The device can be used to interact with programs even though it is not physically connected to the computer. 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.

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 Microsoft user account.
  4. 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.

FlexiHub

Requirements: Windows, macOS, Linux, Android and Raspberry Pi.
Size: 8.89MB
Version: 5.2.14094 (6 Sep, 2021)
User rating: (4.8 based on 78+ users)