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Top 8 USB over ethernet software solutions

Olga Weis Olga Weis
Feb 3, 2022

Specialized USB over Ethernet software solutions enable remote access of network-connected devices that emulate a direct physical connection. This article will provide an overview of the most popular USB over Ethernet tools that let you connect to USB devices from anywhere in the world.

share usb over network

Many organizations benefit from the implementation of USB over Ethernet software. Multiple solutions are on the market which can make it difficult to select the right one for a specific situation. We are going to look at the main features of a variety of software tools with a focus on their cross-platform compatibility, price, and the number of USB devices that can be shared simultaneously over the network.

FlexiHub

This USB Network Gate alternative provides additional functionality that facilitates remote connectivity. In addition to sharing USB devices, this USB over Ethernet app enables serial port traffic to be forwarded over a network. This expands the tool’s scope and greatly increases the number of supported devices. The tool provides a user-friendly method of accessing powerful device management capabilities.

Your efficient USB redirector

The main differences between USB Network Gate and FlexiHub include:

  • Remote devices can be connected when one is behind a firewall or NAT and no direct connection is possible;
  • FlexiHub is licensed through a subscription rather than a one-time purchase;
  • Connections are managed through your FlexiHub account;
  • An Internet connection is required to use the app.

A FlexiHub video guide is available.

Lets see what a pros and cons of this USB over Ethernet solution:

icon pros Pros.

  • An intuitive interface makes the tool easy to use.
  • The software is compatible with the Windows, macOS, Linux, and Android operating systems.
  • FlexiChat enables communication between users logged into a FlexiHub account.
  • Virtual environments such as Windows Virtual PC, ESX, Citrix XenDesktop, VMWare, Microsoft Hyper-V, and QEMU are supported.
  • FlexiHub 5.0 supports connecting over RDP.
  • Data is encrypted before transmission to protect it from unauthorized users.

icon cons Cons.

  • An annual subscription is required to use the software.
  • The free subscription does not support connecting to remote devices.
Cost: A free demo is available with limited functionality. Pricing plans start at $12 per month for teams and $14 for personal use.
Try now USB over Ethernet app
14-day free trial

USB Network Gate

USB over Ethernet (aka USB Network Gate) is a software tool that enables remote access to USB ports and their attached devices over a TCP/IP-based network. The application supports remotely accessing USB devices in virtual environments such as Citrix XenDesktop, VMware, VMware ESX, and Hyper-V. The tool also works over the remote desktop protocol (RDP) and with blade servers.

Software for using USB devices in virtual environment

Sharing a device over the network

With USB Network Gate is easy and can be done by using the following procedure:
1
Download the software on the computer with a direct connection to the USB hardware as well as all machines that require remote access to the device.
2
Launch the app on the USB server, that is the machine directly connected to the peripheral device. Open the “Local Devices” tab, select a device, and click “Share” next to its name.
3
Start USB Network Gate on a client computer and open the “Remote Devices” tab. Select an available device and click “Connect”.
4
After the connection is established, USB hardware devices like webcams and printers are recognized as if they had a direct physical connection to the client machine.

Here’s a short video tutorial that demonstrates USB Network Gate:

icon pros Pros.

  • A 14-day trial version of the software is available;
  • Supports all types of USB devices;
  • Works on the Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android operating systems;
  • Cross-platform support enables sharing devices between Windows, macOS, Linux, and Android systems;
  • The tool is compatible with many virtual environments;
  • Supports connecting devices over RDP;
  • 24-hour support is available.

icon cons Cons.

  • You must purchase a license to use the tool after the 14-day trial period.
Cost: 14-day free trial. Licenses are sold as a one-time purchase starting at $159.95.
Try for FREE USB Network Gate
14-day free trial

USB Redirector

USB Redirector is another USB Network Gate alternative that lets organizations share remote USB devices over a LAN, WLAN, or the Internet. The main application can perform as either a USB server or client. Users can also download a separate lightweight client. USB Redirector communicates through a regular TCP/IP connection.

Access USB devices through LAN, WLAN or Internet

icon pros Pros.

  • An edition is available that supports RDP connectivity;
  • Server and client code are combined in one app;
  • The tool supports a wide range of USB devices;
  • There is no need to install device drivers on client machines;
  • The VMware and Virtual PC environments are supported;
  • Users can control which devices and computers can access shared resources.

icon cons Cons.

  • The tool only runs on machines running Windows 10 or earlier versions of the operating system.
Cost: 15-day limited trial. Purchase for a one-time price of $74.99

USB Over Network

USB Over Network is a software solution for connecting remotely located USB devices to servers over a LAN or the Internet. The tool is compatible with Windows and Linux systems. A distinguishing feature of USB Over Network is advanced device management that enables the sharing process to be optimized by grouping USB devices that share similar characteristics.

Share and access USB devices

icon pros Pros.

  • The tool supports all types of USB devices;
  • Sharing devices over RDP is supported;
  • Users can share an unlimited number of USB devices over a network.

icon cons Cons.

  • Device isolation in RDP sessions is not supported;
  • Client connections cannot be disabled from the computer acting as the USB server;
  • Shared USB ports are reconfigured when Windows machines are rebooted.
Cost: Pricing plans start at $149.95 for a yearly subscription.

VirtualHere

Multiple users can share USB devices over LANs, the Internet, or private clouds with VirtualHere. The tool can be run with a streamlined installation procedure on Windows, macOS, Linux, and Android machines. An internal VPN subscription service means you cannot be geoblocked from accessing remote USB devices such as a dongle due to your current location. With the software’s trial version you can share a single device over the network.

icon pros Pros.

  • An auto-connection feature reestablishes connections after they are dropped;
  • A built-in VPN subscription is available in the tool to prevent geoblocking;
  • Sharing devices in an RDP session is supported;
  • The tool’s technology can be integrated into commercial applications through an OEM license;
  • Command-line options allow automation of the program’s functionality.

icon cons Cons.

  • There is no display of data transfer volume available;
  • Auto-connectivity is not supported for devices in RDP sessions.
Cost: $49 one-time purchase price.

USB/IP Project

The USB/IP Project is a free USB over Ethernet solution. The tool converts USB I/O requests to IP packets that can be transferred over the network. Remote USB devices can use their original drivers and apps when forwarding data to connected computers. The USB/IP Project can serve as a free USB Network Gate alternative, but several factors need to be considered before selecting this solution as seen in the following lists.

System for sharing USB devices over Ethernet

icon pros Pros.

  • It’s a free-to-use solution;
  • The solution is designed for the Linux platform.

icon cons Cons.

  • The server code only runs on Linux machines;
  • Complex installation with requirements that are designed for experienced Linux users;
  • The software has not been updated in years and does not support advanced USB sharing functionality.
Cost: Freeware with no cost to the user.

USBDeviceShare

USB Share

USBDeviceShare is a USB Network Gate alternative that only runs on older versions of the Windows operating system. This makes it an inappropriate choice for many usage scenarios. If it does fit with your environment, the tool supports sharing USB1.x, 2.0, and 3.0 devices over an IP-based network.

icon pros Pros.

  • The tool allows an unlimited number of devices to be shared;
  • Virtual environments are supported;
  • All types of USB devices are supported.

icon cons Cons.

  • The software only supports systems running Windows 8 or earlier versions of the OS;
  • No technical support is offered by the developer.
Cost: 15-day free trial. A single server license costs $99 with site licenses priced at $499.

HelpWire

What is HelpWire? HelpWire is a remote technical support tool that provides advanced functionality using port virtualization technology. Teams can access and control network-connected USB devices from anywhere in the world. The tool also enables communication with COM ports and connected devices.

Centralized support teams can save time and money using HelpWire to resolve issues with peripheral devices on remote client machines. They achieve the same level of functionality over the network as if they had a direct physical connection to the given device.

HelpWire is designed as a solution for multiple usage scenarios including:

  • Support teams working to resolve issues with remote client machines;
  • Promoting a company brand with white-labeling their support tool;
  • Providing support in complex, multi-platform environments;
  • Protecting data transmission vie robust encryption.

icon pros Pros.

  • Multi-platform support provides connectivity across the Windows, macOS, Linux, and Android operating systems;
  • Advanced encryption and secure connections protect data in transit;
  • The live chat feature lets teams address customers’ issues quickly and interact with clients more personally;
  • The tool’s GUI can be white-labeled to reflect company branding or display a logo.

icon cons Cons.

  • No free trial version is available.

What are the benefits of USB over Ethernet technology?

USB over Ethernet software is very useful in a wide variety of circumstances. Here are some of the typical ways USB over Ethernet technology is implemented.

  • Sharing peripheral devices in an office

USB over Ethernet tools enable organizations to extract the maximum value from their USB peripherals. Sharing equipment like printers, scanners, and storage devices across a LAN or the Internet eliminates the need to purchase duplicate devices. Redirecting USB traffic over a network enables devices to be used productively in cross-platform environments without complex configuration changes. Another advantage of sharing peripherals over the network is less clutter by reducing the number of cables necessary to access devices. Productivity is enhanced by eliminating the need to physically unplug and reconnect peripherals.

  • Redirecting USB traffic to a virtual environment

Many virtual environments do not provide access to the host computer’s USB ports, severely limiting their functionality. This limitation can be addressed with USB over Ethernet solutions that allow virtual machines to communicate directly with the host computer’s ports. Making attached USB devices available to the virtual environment enhances their value to the organization.

  • Gaining remote access to security dongles

USB dongles used to protect software from unauthorized use can be accessed with USB over Ethernet applications. Accessing these protective devices over the network saves on the wear and tear associated with constantly plugging and unplugging them into different machines. Multiple users can simultaneously connect to a network-attached dongle or security if needed. Full functionality is achieved by the remote computer accessing the dongle.

  • Wireless access to remote iOS and Android devices

The ability to access remotely-connected mobile devices as if they were physically attached can be instrumental when developing and testing applications. Connecting remotely to an iPhone or Android device over the network lets a developer get firsthand information regarding a project’s progress.

How to choose the best USB over Ethernet software

Selecting the top USB over Ethernet software for your organization requires the consideration of several factors including:

  • Choosing a tool that supports the type of operating systems that comprise your environment;
  • Obtaining the right mix of compression and encryption to reduce bandwidth requirements and protect data transmission;
  • Selecting a tool that can negotiate firewalls and NATs if necessary;
  • Auto-connectivity capability when connections are initiated or need to be reestablished;
  • Support for RDP sessions if they are used in your environment;
  • Price and installation considerations.

In most cases, a paid application will provide the functionality required for a corporate USB over Ethernet solution. Free solutions can be hard to install and do not offer the same type of support as paid alternatives. Make sure that the USB over Ethernet tool you choose gives your organization the functionality it needs to get the most from its USB devices.

USB over Ethernet software: Frequently Asked Questions

The ability to encrypt data transmission is one of the most important characteristics of any USB over Ethernet sharing solution. As long as you use such apps as USB Network Gate, you don’t need to worry about the security of data transmitted over ethernet. The application uses advanced 256-bit SSL encryption which protects all network communications from unauthorized access.
USB over Ethernet software by Electronic Team, Inc. will let you share as many USB peripherals as you need. The number of devices you can share at a time will be limited only by your system’s capabilities.
Yes, USB over Ethernet software as USB Network Gate is a multi-platform solution. It’s compatible with Windows, Linux macOS, and Android operating systems. With this app, you can create server-client connections between different platforms in any combination.
Yes, you can integrate USB Network Gate functionality into your own software or hardware product and share local USB devices or communicate with remote ones right from your app.
A critical question to ask when selecting a USB to Ethernet application is the capability of the tool to encrypt data transmission. You need to ensure that your data is fully protected against unauthorized access or corruption as it is redirected by the software application. Electronic Team's, Inc. USB Network Gate application provides secure connections using advanced 256-bit SSL encryption so you can be sure your data is safe.
Top choice

USB Network Gate

  • Rank 4.7 based on 72+ users
  • Requirements: OS: Windows 7 SP1/8/8.1/10/11; Windows Server 2008 R2/2012/2012 R2/2016/2019/2022
    Architectures: x86, x64, ARM64
    . 9.25MB of free space.
  • Version 10.0.2450. (17 Jan, 2022). Release notes
  • Languages: Deutsch, English, Français, Italiano, 日本の, 한국어, Polski, Português, Русский, Español, Tiếng Việt, Nederlands, 中文
  • Pricing: Starts from $159.95