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The best USB over Ethernet solutions of 2018

USB over Ethernet software is one of the best ways to get remote access to a USB device located too far away to be connected directly to your local computer. We have tested and compared the most popular solutions in the market of USB to Ethernet software, and here’s what we found out:
USB Network Gate
USB Network Gate is an efficient app that allows you to share USB over LAN, Ethernet or Internet on different operating systems (Windows, Mac, Linux). The program lets you create cross-platform connections and share USB devices among an unlimited number of network users. The software supports the RDP protocol and allows redirecting USB peripherals to a virtual environment (VMware, Citrix XenDesktop, and Microsoft Hyper-V) and blade servers.
USB/IP
The USB/IP Project is focused on sharing USB devices across the IP network. What the software does is redirects USB I/O messages to the network and transports them to remote computers over TCP/IP. This makes it possible for any network machine to access the full functionality of any remote USB peripheral over the IP network as though the device were connected to the computer directly.
VirtualHere
VirtualHere is a dedicated program that allows forwarding USB over WiFi easily and effortlessly. The app is designed to share USB devices over LAN and the Internet so that a user gets the ability to browse the device’s contents and control it without having it physically present. VirtualHere is compatible with a wide range of platforms.
USB over Network by Fabulatech
USB over Network is a great solution for redirecting USB devices to remote network PCs running Windows or Linux over Ethernet. The distance is not the matter with this efficient USB via Ethernet app. USB over Network will let you access your valuable USB peripherals even if you are in another country or on the other part of the world. The program fully emulates the USB stack of remote USB devices and redirects them over LAN or the Internet.

Share USB over Ethernet with the best software

Having compared all of the abovementioned solutions, we came to the conclusion that USB Network Gate by Eltima is rightfully considered to be the optimal and most efficient app for USB network sharing. The software provides support for a wide range of advanced features and stands out for its stability and the ease of use. This dedicated program offers a host of clear benefits like the ability to create cross-platform connections, regular updates and improvements, support for USB devices of virtually any type, and more.

USB over Ethernet software comparison

Below, you'll find the comparison table that will show you the differences in capabilities of the most efficient and popular USB sharing software available today.
Product to compare:
USB Network Gate Eltima Software eltima.com
USB/IP Takahiro Hirofuchi usbip.sourceforge.net
VirtualHere VirtualHere Pty. Ltd. virtualhere.com
USB over Network FabulaTech, Inc. fabulatech.com
Tested version
v8.0.1828 (Windows)
v4.0 (Linux)
v4.1.410 (Mac)
v0.2 (Windows)
v0.1.7-3 (Linux)
v3.3.8 (server)
v4.2.3 (client)
v5.2 (Windows)
v5.2 (Linux)
MAIN FEATURES
Sharing an unlimited number of USB devices
Working with USB devices of all kinds
Compatibility with USB v3.0
Traffic compression
not from GUI
Cross-platform compatibility: creating connections between (32 or 64 bit) Windows, Linux, and macOS servers and clients
partially
Ability to set password authorization when connecting to remote USB devices
custom script is required
Network traffic encryption for secure device sharing
for each device
SSL, not from GUI
SSL, for program
Password protection of the server side
Ability to auto-connect to newly plugged USB devices
Availability of the Activity log (for monitoring all actions and operations)
less detailed
Support for RDP channel
Support for Citrix ICA channel
Ability to configure the exact TCP port for connections
for each device
for program, not from GUI
for program
Ability to disconnect a client from the server
Ability to disconnect a client from another client
Auto-reconnecting a client upon reboot
Availability of the command line options
No need for a device driver on the server side to share devices
Automatic reconfiguration of the shared USB ports upon PC booting
only on Windows
Localization to multiple languages
ADDITIONAL FEATURES

What is USB over Ethernet software?

Printers, scanners, webcams, flash drives - all these and many other USB peripherals make our life more comfortable from day to day. As a rule, such devices connect to a computer via a standard USB cable, which is a great solution when the required device is located near your PC. However, it often happens that the USB peripheral you need to make use of is far from your current location.


What should you do then?

The solution is pretty simple. A dedicated USB over Ethernet software will let you easily share USB over the Internet and access USB devices remotely from your computer. What USB over Ethernet software does, in fact, is helps redirect multiple remote USB devices across different networks (LAN, WiFi, Ethernet, the Internet). There’s no shortage of these solutions in the market today, so when making your choice you need to take into account such important factors as the price, cross-platform compatibility, and the maximum number of USB devices you can share simultaneously.

Some aspects that are common to most USB over Ethernet programs:

  • The software is usually paid;
  • The availability of a free trial;
  • The price depends on how many connections to remote USB devices you can create at a time.

How to share USB over Ethernet?

USB Network Gate by Eltima is probably the most effortless way to wirelessly connect to a remote USB device. Here’s a simple video with instructions on how to share a USB peripheral across the network with this dedicated tool:



Where can USB over Ethernet technology be used?
USB over Ethernet software has lots of areas of application, and below you can find some of the most popular ones.
1. Remote access to security dongles
Software developers often secure their products from copying with the help of USB dongles. And it often happens that using such software protection keys customers may face some problems. For instance, when you move your dongle back and forth between different computers, the dongle is getting worn out what can affect its performance, or if you’re working for a big company, you may face the need to share one security key among multiple workers. USB over Ethernet software can easily help you overcome these and many other challenges. With a dedicated app, you’ll be able to copy your device to a remote computer and get full access to its contents and functionality.
2. Redirecting USB to a virtual environment
One of the biggest shortcomings of most virtual machines is that they provide no access to USB ports of their host computers. This means working in a virtual environment, you often cannot access a USB peripheral attached to a host PC. A decent USB over Ethernet software solves this problem once and for all. The app like USB Network Gate will forward your 3D mouse, printer, scanner, mobile phone, or any other device right to a VM.
3. Sharing of the office peripherals
You can also use a USB over Ethernet tool to share a single gadget or USB device like a printer, laser plotter, webcam, external hard drive, etc. with all of your office workers over your existing Ethernet or Wi-Fi network. Thus, you won’t need to buy a separate peripheral for everyone in your office. Simply install a wireless USB port redirection solution and share one device with everyone. All company workers will be able to connect from multiple Windows, Mac, and Linux systems to the same peripheral without having to switch around any USB cables.
4. Wireless access to remote iOS and Android devices
USB to Ethernet software will come in handy for developers who need to test or debug their creations on remote iOS or Android solutions. Thanks to efficient USB to network technology, a remote iPhone, iPad, etc. will appear on the programmer’s local computer like it was directly connected to that PC.

How to choose best USB over Ethernet app

All USB to Ethernet solutions that we focused on can be used either as a standalone tool or a part of a custom project.

The providers of some of the USB over Ethernet apps we tested offer the traffic compression feature that helps speed up interaction with certain types of devices and reduce Internet traffic. For example, USB Network Gate and VirtualHere. Some make it possible to auto-connect to newly plugged USB devices. Others support the callback connection option (for server computers located behind NAT), and so on.

If you're an IT tech and need to implement just a couple of USB remote access features within your project, you should take a closer look at the free solution. But if you require a tool with the maximum set of USB sharing features, check out our reviews to find the one among the paid apps.

Can you trust USB over Ethernet apps to share your data?

One of the most important criterion when choosing a USB to Ethernet solution is the availability of the traffic encryption option. When redirected over the network, user data should be reliably protected from interception or unauthorized access. For instance, USB Network Gate by Eltima offers advanced 256-bit SSL encryption that provides a high level of security for network connections.