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USB over IP: Access USB Devices over the Internet

USB over IP technology enables the efficient use of USB devices over IP-based networks. Network-connected USB peripherals can be accessed remotely with full functionality from any device attached to the network.

Olga Weis Olga Weis Last updated Nov 8, 2023

USB sharing over IP networks eliminates the need to move equipment or swap cables to allow access by multiple and physically dispersed users. The technology behind USB over Internet functionality even makes it possible for computers without USB interfaces to use network-connected devices.

How does USB over IP software work?

USB over IP software works by employing a combination of virtualization and encapsulation. This enables computers without physical USB ports to access USB devices. Data from a USB device is encapsulated so it can be transferred across a TCP/IP network. The information is then de-encapsulated by a virtual USB port implemented by the USB over TCP/IP software.

A USB to IP implementation requires the software to be installed on the computer that is physically connected to a USB device that will be shared over the network. The same software is also installed on all remote machines that will access the peripheral over the network.

It lets an organization share USB equipment over IP networks without needing to install device drivers on the remote machines. The tool creates secure communication channels through which USB data can be transmitted over the Internet or a private internal network.

Businesses can enjoy significant benefits by implementing USB over Internet functionality. Companies can extract the maximum value from their investment in remote access to USB devices by using the equipment more efficiently throughout the organization.

Let’s look at an example that illustrates the many ways USB over IP software can help a business. We will look at how the technology helps a company with brick-and-mortar retail establishments and a diverse office structure.

The USB equipment used to support the retail component of the business can be network-connected so the information on all transactions is communicated to the databases at the home office. Data from devices such as credit card readers, barcode scanners, and cash registers is made available to network-connected office computers.

Productivity is increased in the company’s home office by implementing a USB over IP software solution to facilitate sharing and remote access of its USB equipment. The specific ways productivity is enhanced with an IP over network solution include:

  • • Saving time by eliminating the need to swap cables and move equipment to make it available to multiple users;
  • • Enabling remote employees to access office equipment from their home office or any network-connected location;
  • • Allowing devices such as a USB storage device to be used efficiently by everyone in the office.

The list of the types of equipment that can be shared and accessed remotely with FlexiHub

  • • Printers, scanners, and smart card readers;
  • • Cameras and other audio/video devices;
  • • Personal healthcare and diagnostic equipment;
  • • HID devices, USB hubs, and game controllers;
  • • Mass storage devices and USB security dongles.

How to access remote USB devices over IP

FlexiHub is an easy-to-use USB over IP software solution. It is compatible with the Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android operating systems. A prerequisite for using the application on any OS is to create a free FlexiHub account.

Remote access USB devices over IP on Windows

Let’s take a look at how to use FlexiHub using the Windows operating system for our demonstration.
  • 1.
    Download and install FlexiHub on the computer that is directly connected to the USB device you want to share. We’ll call this host machine the server. The tool also needs to be installed on all computers that will be accessing the shared device remotely. These computers are called clients. blank
  • 2.
    Launch FlexiHub on the server and log into your account. Use the same credentials to log into FlexiHub on the client computers.
    share USB over IP
  • 3.
    On a client machine, find the USB device connected to the server that you wish to access. Click the Connect button next to its name.
    connect USB over IP
  • 4.
    The device will immediately be recognized in the same way as a directly connected peripheral once connectivity is established. The client computer can now use and control the machine as if they were physically connected. blank

Share USB over IP on Mac

Here’s how to set up and use FlexiHub on a Mac.
  • 1.
    Download and install FlexiHub on the server and client machines.
  • 2.
    Start the app on the server and client and log into both with the same FlexiHub account credentials.
  • 3.
    Identify the device with which you want to connect and click the Connect button to establish connectivity.
    USB over IP for macOS

How to share USB devices over IP on Linux

FlexiHub is also available for Linux. Installation and usage are essentially the same for the other major operating systems.
  • 1.
    Download and install FlexiHub on the server and client machines.
  • 2.
    Start the app on all machines and log in with the same FlexiHub account.
  • 3.
    Click the Concept button next to the device you want to access remotely.
    USB over IP for Linux

How to access to USB devices over IP on Android

The Android operating system requires a slightly different approach to using FlexiHub since the Android version can only function in the server mode (i.e. only share connected USB devices).
  • 1.
    Install FlexiHub on the Android device connected to the USB peripheral and clients that need remote access.
  • 2.
    Start FlexiHub and log in on the Android device and client machine with the same credentials.
  • 3.
    Connect the Android device to the USB equipment (via OTG adapter) and make sure it is recognized by FlexiHub.
    USB over IP for Android
  • 4.
    Click Connect on the remote machine to access the shared USB device.

Unique FlexiHub features

FlexiHub has many features that make it an attractive USB over IP solution. In many usage scenarios, these features make it a more effective tool than a USB over IP freeware application.

Secure Connections

FlexiHub implements secure USB data transmission with 2048-bit SSL encryption. This feature keeps your data safe by making it unreadable by unauthorized third parties.

Automatic Device Detection

FlexiHub detects and displays information regarding connected devices automatically for easier identification of shared resources.

Proxy Server

FlexiHub has a set of proxy servers that enable connected computers to detect and access remote devices without a public IP address.

Data Compressing

Higher data transfer rates and reduced bandwidth consumption are possible by having FlexiHub compress data before transmission.

Creating Login Tokens

This USB over IP software lets you create a secure login token that can be shared with other users. The token enables users to connect to shared USB devices without providing them with login credentials.

Lock Devices

Devices can be locked with FlexiHub which makes them unavailable to remote network-connected client computers. Locked devices will not appear on FlexiHub’s list of available devices.
Connect to usb over the internet with one click
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  • Requirements: Windows, macOS, Linux, Android and Raspberry Pi.
  • 10.45MB Size.
  • Version 6.1.15025. (19 Feb, 2024).
  • Pricing starts $14 per month billed annually
Connect to USB over network with one click