1. How to share a USB dongle over Ethernet?
A USB dongle is a peripheral device that plugs into a USB port. It is often simply referred to as a dongle or key. It has many purposes, including data storage and transfer; providing the ability to connect to wireless networks; and offering a level of security for software copyright protection and restricted hardware access.
A common use case is software that includes a key on a dongle. In order for the software to be installed or launched, the software key needs to be present. In a multicomputer environment, it is not efficient or financially viable to require a key for each computer. One key can be shared across all the machines on your network but in order to do this, you need to be able to share the USB dongle over Ethernet.
Electronic Team, Inc. has provided an effective solution with their application USB Network Gate. This USB over Ethernet software explicitly allows you to share USB devices with many different remote devices over Ethernet, LAN or WAN.
By making use of advanced port virtualization technology, USB Network Gate facilitates the virtual replication of USB ports, and in turn, any devices that are connected to these virtual ports can be redirected over the network to any other machines on the network. This allows the security key on the dongle to be accessible by all the connected machines as if the dongle was physically connected to each computer.
Steps to share your USB dongle
- Download USB Network Gate and install it on both Server and the Client machines. Remember the Server is the machine where the dongle is physically connected, and the Clients are the machines that require remote access to the dongle.
- After installation, start USB Network Gate on the Server. A list of devices will be displayed. Select the dongle you want to share and click the ‘Share’ link.
- Open USB Network Gate on the Client. A list of available devices will be displayed. Find the dongle you shared in Step 2 and click the ‘Connect’ option. Repeat this step on all the Client machines that require remote access to the dongle.
- Once you have completed these simple steps, the key will be accessible to all the client machines and the device will show up in the Client’s Device Manager as if the dongle was physically connected to it.
It’s important to note that USB Network Gate makes use of advanced encryption for all data transmissions, which means you can rest assured that all the data that is relayed between the shared dongle and the client machines are secure.
USB Network gate is also OS agnostic – Windows, Mac and Linux support it. The Server and the Client machines can have different operating systems yet still access and utilize the remotely shared USB dongle.
2. What is a dongle and why do you need to share it?
A dongle is a security key that helps to protect both software and hardware. In order to protect their software from unlicensed installation, some software companies may require a key to be inserted into a USB port in order for their software to be installed or accessed. Software can also be protected against unlawful copying and distribution by ensuring that the security key must be present in order for the software to run if at all.
There are different levels of licensing when it comes to a security key. If the dongle allows for network license management, this means the dongle can be shared and accessed simultaneously by multiple clients across LAN. This allows a single key to be used to unlock multiple instances of the software without requiring the purchasing of additional keys
A network license key is useful but costly and might not be viable for smaller organizations or the general public. A single user USB key is a more affordable alternative for many users. While more cost effective, this does pose a problem when different people require access at the same time.
One simple way of overcoming this is to share the USB dongle across the network. Refer to point 3 below for the dongle key sharing guide.
3. How to share a dongle key?
Donglify is an application aimed specifically to overcome issues around sharing a dongle with multiple computers across a network.
Donglify simply creates virtual instances of USB ports and provides remote access to these ports. Donglify is compatible with Windows OS only.
Sharing a HASP Key (Hardware Against Software Piracy)
- In order to use Donglify, you have to create an account. Once that is done, download the software and install it on both clients and the server.
- Launch Donglify on your server machine. Remember the Server is the machine where the physical dongle is attached.
- Click the “+” icon to display a list of available dongles.
You’ll notice a “Multi-connect” or “Single-Connect” icon next to the listed dongles. Multi-connect allows several simultaneous remote connections while the single connect will only allow one machine to connect to the shared dongle at a time.
- Click the radio button to select the dongle you want to share. Click “Share”
- Now on the client machine(s), start up Donglify and log in with the same account details. All the available devices will be listed on startup.
- Select the dongle you want to access and click “Connect”.
Your USB key will not be available and as if physically connected.