USB Networking Indroduction

by Johannes Helmig [Published on 7 Jan. 2001 / Last Updated on 7 Jan. 2001]




You have the need to connect 2 Windows systems to be able to exchange some data.
You are (not yet ?) willing to install network cards and to deal with Ethernet cables
( coax, Twisted pair, hubs,.....) ?
( there are possibilities to connect via USB to an Ethernet Network )

Lets investigate some other options by looking at the back of your system (desktop PC or
notebook):


You should have:

1 or 2 Serial ports ( also called COM-ports)
connector with 9 pins ( "9-pin male")
Parallel port ( also called printer port )
connector with 25 holes ( "25-pin female" )
1 or 2 USB (Universal System Bus)
Desktop system have usually 2 ports,
Notebook computers usually only 1port.


These plugs/connectors can be used to connect 2 systems together.
Such connection is called : Direct Cable Connection ( DCC )


Like with any component on your system, you need hardware and software:

Hardware : all these connectors on the back of your PC had been originally designed to connect
add-on components to a system ( like parallel port: Printers, serial port : external modems,
USB: scanners, digital cameras,......) with 1 system as "controller".
And the cables used to plug into these connectors are designed for this use.

via Serial or Parallel cable : Direct Cable Connection


if you like to connect via USB to an Ethernet Network, you need to use a USB Ethernet Adapter


via USB (Universal System Bus) : Networking via USB cable

have a look at the connectors of a USB-cable:

The connector to plug into the PC/notebook is flat
The connector to plug into the USB device is square

When now using these plugs to connect 2 systems (= 2 "Controllers"),
you need a special cable with proper plugs and with some electronics to
switch the signals between the 2 systems :

(too complex to self-made, you need to purchase it).

I used for my USB network the "Net-Linq USB Connection Cable" from
Parallel Technologies.
Network speed up to 500+ Kbytes /sec
(Effective data transfer rates are depending upon PC type, CPU speed and protocol overhead )

www.helmig.comParts of these pages on USB Networking are a cooperation with
Parallel Technologies, the creator/ inventor/ developer
of the DirectParallel® technology licensed to Microsoft
for the Direct Cable Connection (DCC) feature in
Windows 95/98/2000/ME/XP ( supplier of the fast
DirectParallel® cable and of USB connection cables).

USB is a fairly new technology for PCs , and only recent operating systems have support for USB:

no support for USB !
supports on Windows95 OSR 2.1
with USB Supplemental Support
full support for USB
full support for USB
no support for USB !
full support for USB
full support for USB

You can use USB to connect 2 PC's and/or notebooks:

Windows9x USB Networking Installation
Windows2000 USB Networking Installation
Windows XP USB Networking Installation




Unlike Direct Cable connection via Serial or Parallel cable, which is limited to just 2 systems,
more than 2 PC's and/or notebooks can be connected via USB-cables:

You will need a USB-hub.

one system can be connected
directly to the USB hub (computer A),
while all other systems must be connected
via the USB Network cable to the hub



You can also create a network with both Ethernet and USB networking cables:

Note:
Computer A is now equipped with
2 network adapters:
- the Ethernet Card
- the USB Network Adapter

This creates now a multi-Segment
network
, requiring a more complex
configuration to make all system
(on both the Ethernet segment and
the USB segment) visible in the
Network Neighborhood and
accessible.

(the Net-Linq USB Connection
cable includes for this a
"Bridge Protocol")

On Windows XP systems,
use the Windows XP Network Bridge

Using TCP/IP on such a combined network will require an advanced Setup.

See Also

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