How to make any USB device wireless

It’s a well-known fact that most modern peripheral devices connect to computers via a USB port. What makes a USB connection possible is a USB cable providing a reliable, although not perfect, way to link devices with the computer's USB interfaces. Also, it’s no secret that USB cables are limited by the distance, so you may want to connect USB devices wirelessly.

Thankfully, there are dedicated software and hardware tools that provide remote access to USB devices over Wi-Fi. Read on, and you’ll learn how to make a device wireless and which solution may help you do it easily and securely.

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Best USB over Wi-Fi software

What if I tell you that you can remotely connect to your computer’s USB ports and use the devices connected to them as if they were physically connected to your remote computer without using a cable. Interesting right? Now just take a moment and think about all the possibilities this will bring to your business, company, and personal projects if you can share USB over Wi-Fi.

The principle of USB over WiFi sharing with a help of a software

USB Network Gate

The first solution we’ll have a closer look at is USB over WiFi software by Electronic Team, Inc. This app works as a wireless USB server and allows connecting to remote USB devices across the network: Wi-Fi, Ethernet, or the Internet. The software gives you a way to securely access remote USB peripherals like they were attached to your local computer physically.

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USB over WiFi software screenshots

Here’s how you can create a wireless USB connection with USB Network Gate:

  1. First, you need to download and install USB Network Gate on the computer that will be physically hosting the USB device to be shared over Wi-Fi (server). Then you also download and install the software on the computers that will remotely connect to and use the shared device (client).

  2. Now you plug the USB device into the USB port of the Server (a computer that will share the device), then open USB Network Gate and click on “share local USB devices” this automatically shares the device and makes it available for other computers (clients) to connect to the USB device.

  3. Finally, on the client side (computer remotely connecting to the shared USB device) open USB Network Gate click on “Remote USB devices” to connect and start using the shared USB device.

Simple right? That is how USB Network Gate works. USB to Wi-Fi, that is wherever your Wi-Fi network spreads to so does your ability to access remote USB devices.

Let's consider the key advantages of this app:

  • USB Network Gate helps you share USB over Network among multiple computers by creating a wireless USB bridge so people from your home, office, or any part of the globe can use it.
  • Yes, you heard me right! From any part of the globe, you can connect to the USB device over Wi-Fi and use it as if it was physically connected to your computer.
  • I know when you heard connect to a USB device over WiFi, the security of the connection and shared device popped into your mind. Well, you do not need to worry about security because it is possible to see what computer is currently using the shared device.
  • One thing I like most about this solution is that it gives you total control over the shared device activities. USB Network Gate allows setting up a connection password for controlled access to USB devices shared over Wi-Fi.
  • It as well enables monitoring user activities, for instance, a user might forget to disconnect from a shared device long after completing a task, you can monitor and control it.
  • The program is compatible with Windows, Mac, Linux and Android platforms.

Also, the software comes with a 14-day free trial, so you can evaluate its functionality and check whether the app meets your needs.

You can buy a copy of USB Network Gate for $159 (for one shared USB port). To find more information, you can refer to the official page of the app.

FlexiHub

FlexiHub is another popular software application that can help you redirect USB devices, including printers, USB security tokens, 3D mice, external hard drives, etc. to any remote machine no matter the location.

USB over WiFi software screenshots

To create a wireless connection with FlexiHub is pretty simple. Let’s see how it works:

  1. You register a FlexiHub account here.

  2. Select a subscription plan that is right for you and start your free trial.

  3. Download and install FlexiHub on the machines that will participate in the connection. Those include the computer to which the device you want to share is connected physically (server) and the one from which you will connect to the device remotely (client).

  4. Start the app on both computers and log in to your FlexiHub account.

  5. On the client computer, find the device in the device list (it will be shared and displayed in the software interface automatically) and click the Connect button.

There you are! Now your system will recognize the remote device like it was a locally-attached peripheral. The device will appear in the Device Manager of your computer.

Core Benefits of FlexiHub solution:

  • What makes FlexiHub an absolutely great solution to the problem of remote access to USB devices is the ability to share USB over Wi-Fi with just a couple of clicks. Once you log in to your account on the PC with a USB device plugged in, the peripheral becomes accessible to other computers over the network. All you need to do is log in to this account on the remote computer or send an invite to a remote user for connecting to your peripheral.

  • Also, you can restrict access to any of your local devices by simply clicking the Lock button next to the device’s name in the software interface.

  • Platforms supported by FlexiHub include Windows, macOS, Linux and Android.

The app offers a 7-day trial with the ability to share one local USB device.

The software is available by subscription. The price for a yearly plan starts with $159.99 per connection. Here’s the official website of the app if you want to know more: https://www.flexihub.com/

USB wireless hubs

As for hardware solutions that are available today, it’s worth mentioning a wireless USB hub (also known as a wireless USB extender or Wi-Fi USB hub). This device lets you extend USB over Wi-Fi in such a way that a remote USB device becomes accessible without being directly connected to your computer.

Wireless USB 3.0 hubs come in different sizes and fit a different number of Wi-Fi USB ports. Most models have from 1 to 4 “wireless” USB ports, which means they can simultaneously share up to four devices over the network.

An example of Wireless USB Hub and Adapter Kit developed by IOGEAR

Here’s how a wireless USB cable extender works:

The mission of a wireless USB hub 3.0 is to transform data that is received from attached USB devices into Wi-Fi signals which are then redirected to other users of the Wi-Fi network. The peripherals that need to be used remotely should be directly plugged into the hub’s USB ports in order to be shared across the local network. By using a software that comes along with the hub, all attached peripherals can be accessed wirelessly from remote computers located in the same WI-Fi network.

What to take into account when choosing a USB wireless hub

These are some important factors you should consider when choosing between several Wi-Fi USB hubs:

The number and generation of USB ports

When you’re choosing a USB hub, probably the most significant aspect to pay attention to is the number and generation of USB ports. As is known, ports of USB 2.0 type offer lower maximum data transfer speeds compared to those of USB 3.0 type.

Power charging

Some models are provided with a power charging tool which gives them an additional advantage over other similar solutions.

Compatibility

Another important thing you should remember is that not all wireless USB port extenders will be compatible with your devices. Therefore, it will be a good idea to read the small print and check whether the device you’re purchasing can work with your computer and peripherals you are going to share.

USB Network Gate

Requirements for Windows (32-bit and 64-bit): XP/Vista/7/8/10, Windows Server 2003/2008/2012/2016/2019
Also available on macOS, Linux OS and Android , 5.4MB size
Version 9.0.2236 (8 May, 2020) Release notes
Category: Network Software