USB over Ethernet

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USB over Ethernet

Postby pk_fox » Mon Sep 24, 2012 11:59 am

Hi All, I know it's possible to do Ethernet over USB but is it possible to do the other way round ? I have an adapter which has an RJ45 socket one end and a USB on the other but when I connect one of my external USB drives to it and plug it into my RJ45 socket on the pc - lots of nothing happens - i.e the drive doesn't spin up or anything - any ideas ?
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Postby Dutch_Master » Mon Sep 24, 2012 12:45 pm

That's simple: USB requires a "master" on the bus to make it work. Neither the USB-Ethernet converter nor the USB harddrive aren't capable of that "master" role, both are "slaves".
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Postby pk_fox » Mon Sep 24, 2012 1:24 pm

Dutch_Master wrote:That's simple: USB requires a "master" on the bus to make it work. Neither the USB-Ethernet converter nor the USB harddrive aren't capable of that "master" role, both are "slaves".


Ok thanks , I now wonder why these adapters are made ?
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Postby nelz » Mon Sep 24, 2012 1:33 pm

Is that a USB socket or plug on the device? If it's a plug, the device is a USB network adaptor, an ethernet "card" that plugs into a USB socket. If it is a USB socket, it is probably one of those devices for extending USB over ethernet cable and contains some sort of repeater to work over longer distances. In that case, you need a pair of them, the RJ45 sockets are only used to connect the two devices to one another.
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Postby greg.d » Mon Sep 24, 2012 3:46 pm

Although I have never tried using an external hard drive with USB over network devices, it is possible to use USB flash drives etc.
Heres a Belkin one we have used quite successfully for modems and dongles.
http://www.belkin.com/uk/networkusbhub/

Also digi do more business oriented products:
http://www.digi.com/products/usb/anywhereusb#overview

Both of the above require software on the PC to use and connect to them.
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Postby guy » Mon Sep 24, 2012 8:07 pm

Strictly, I can't think that either Ethernet or USB can pass over the other. They are distinct hardware standards. What you mean is effectively packet-switched network protocols (things like TCP/IP, UDP, NTP, etc.) over USB cabling, vs. USB signals over Ethernet cabling.

Your "Ethernet over USB" is just networking over USB, which is common enough.

But USB signals over Ethernet standard hardware? I suspect that would be hard, or the USB standard would have just used RJ45 connectors from day one. Something might be possible, but I doubt you'd achieve the 5V supply's full rated current for example.
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Postby pk_fox » Tue Sep 25, 2012 12:10 pm

Thanks to you all - I did think it was unlikely to work :-(
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Postby nelz » Tue Sep 25, 2012 1:31 pm

guy wrote:But USB signals over Ethernet standard hardware? I suspect that would be hard, or the USB standard would have just used RJ45 connectors from day one.


Hard, maybe, but not impossible.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Over-Ethernet-R ... B0029HRYBK
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Postby cmcevoy » Thu Sep 27, 2012 9:21 am

It is possible - I use this Belkin networked USB hub at work. It is plugged into a Windows machine and I suspect it would be a challenge to get it to work otherwise, as it seems dependent on the supporting software to make it work.
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Postby nelz » Thu Sep 27, 2012 10:26 am

Isn't that just a NAS?
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Postby guy » Thu Sep 27, 2012 7:30 pm

nelz wrote:Isn't that just a NAS?

Well, it's a WiFi-to-USB Hub adaptor. That's the data half of USB over 802.11, but not the power half and not over Ethernet. It has a separate mains input to support the USB 5V rail.

It's only a NAS if the USB peripheral is a storage device 8)
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