When you are required to work with USB devices remotely, employing USB redirector software is an excellent solution. Our previous articles have discussed the pros and cons of various tools, and we now focus on what we consider the best option. We’re going to show you how to use FlexiHub to revolve your issues with accessing remote USB devices.
FlexiHub is a USB redirector for Linux and Windows systems. It is an easy to use solution that enables you to share USB devices over a network. Here are the simple steps required to set up FlexiHub.
Install the application on the computer that is physically connected to the USB device that you wish to share with other users. This machine acts as the server.
Install FlexiHub on all the remote machines that will be clients and access the device shared by the server.
Share the device through FlexiHub’s interface on the server.
Open the application on a client machine and select the peripheral you want to access from the app’s list of shared devices.
Click ‘Connect’ to establish connectivity with the remote equipment.
It’s really that easy! FlexiHub provides remote connectivity to USB peripherals over any IP-based network such as your LAN, WAN or the Internet. Devices that are attached to a port on your computer are dynamically recognized by FlexiHub. It provides an informative description of the device type, making easier to locate your chosen peripheral.
The utility uses advanced encryption techniques to create secure connections which keep your valuable data from prying eyes as it traverses the network. You can further protect specific USB devices by password protecting them. This locks them down from unauthorized use from any network-attached machine.
How to redirect USB for Windows
Before you can make use of FlexiHub, you need to take advantage of the USB redirector’s free download which is used to install the tool on all participating computers. You also need to create a free FlexiHub account. After that, it’s a matter of a few easy steps and you can start sharing USB devices remotely.
You can create your FlexiHub account on the website or from within the application once it is downloaded. During account creation, you can select the number of connections you will need. Let’s look at how to use this USB redirector with Windows 10 systems.
Launch FlexiHub on both the server and the client that will participate in sharing the USB device. Log into the software on both machines using the same email and password credentials obtained during registration.
Share the device from the server computer and use the FlexiHub interface on the client machine to ‘Connect’ to it. All available devices are displayed by FlexiHub.
You now have the same level of control over the peripheral device from the client as if you were directly connected to it.
You can opt for a free USB Redirector FlexiShare subscription that does not afford you the versatility to access remote devices. Based on the number of computers you wish to share a device with, you select the connections you need when opening a paid FlexiHub account.
FlexiHub USB Redirector Linux
Now let’s take a look at using USB redirector for Linux. As you will see, working with USB redirector for Ubuntu or other Linux distributions is very similar to using the Windows version. A free subscription allows you to connect to shared USB devices. If you want to use your Linux system as a platform from which to share connected peripherals, you need to select a paid subscription. Once your account is in order, you can connect to remote devices with the following procedure.
1. Download and install FlexiHub on the machine with a direct connection to the USB device and the computer that will access the equipment remotely.
2. Launch the application on both machines and log into it with the same credentials.
Note: Logging into your account on the FlexiHub website is only useful for managing your account and selecting the number of connections you require. You use the same credentials to log into the app when you are ready to redirect USB traffic to remote computers.
3. Locate the device you wish to share from the FlexiHub interface on the remote machine and choose ‘Connect’.
4. After connectivity is established you can access the peripheral from the remote system as if you had it directly connected to your computer.
Note: The default settings enable all client nodes to access devices attached to the USB ports of machines actively logged into your FlexiHub account. You can limit this access by password protecting selected devices which prevent their general use. You can also lock them to prohibit all remote access.
USB Redirector for Linux
Connecting to a remote device with this USB-redirector for Linux utility from the client side simply involves clicking ‘Connect’ after selecting it from FlexiHub’s list of available devices. These will be all of the unlocked devices on the connected FlexiHub nodes.
Right-clicking on the device enables you to modify the compression level of the USB transmission. This can help you preserve bandwidth and increase the speed with which devices communicate. Compression needs to be used intelligently in order to be useful.
Uncompressed data such as that transmitted by scanners are good candidates for compression. Other types of data do not lend themselves to being compressed and attempting to do so will waste system resources. An example is webcam transmission which is already compressed at the source and will not benefit from efforts to compress it further.
Click ‘Disconnect’ when you terminate your connection to the USB device.
FlexiHub USB Redirector is a commercial product that requires a paid subscription to remotely access USB devices. If you prefer a USB redirector of the open source variety, the USB/IP Project offers a solution that might be just what you need. It’s a simple and popular free USB redirector.
The goal of the USB/IP Project is to develop a general system of USB device sharing over IP networks. Data is transmitted by encapsulating the I/O messages from USB devices into TCP/IP messages that can be used for communication between computers. The tool enables the original USB applications and device drivers to be used without modification by remote devices.
As illustrated in the accompanying diagram, the VHCI (Virtual Host Controller Interface) driver is configured as a USB host controller driver on the client machine. The role of the VHCI is to enable the connections, enumeration, and initialization of remote USB devices by emulating a physical host controller driver. It takes the request blocks generated by USB devices and encapsulates them into USB/IP requests which are sent to remote servers. The Stub driver on the server host receives the transmission and turns it back into USB requests that are communicated to physical USB devices.
Requirements: Windows XP/2003/2008/Vista/7/8/10/Server 2012