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USB dongle server: software and hardware solution

Olga Weis Olga Weis
Oct 21, 2021

By the dongle server definition, it’s a very handy tool you can use for accessing remote USB license dongles. There are two available options: the software and the hardware one. Keep on reading to find out more about both of them.

  1. USB dongle server software
  2. Hardware dongle server

The software option involves the use of a dongle server that makes a USB dongle accessible across your network. When using a dongle server, it is not required to have the license dongle connected to the client’s machine for the client to access the protected data directly.

Hardware dongle servers have a substantive limitation on the number of users that can access the dongle in a typical point-to-point network connection: only one at a time. Luckily, there is a more versatile and user-friendly software alternative called Donglify. With its help, you can even redirect USB security keys over the Internet!

USB dongle server software

Donglify doesn’t have the connectivity limits of a hardware dongle server. Using the advanced port redirection technology, Donglify allows you to connect a slew of USB dongles to a computer, and then share the license keys with multiple users over the Network. No additional hardware is required.
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Available on Windows 7/8/10, Server 2008 R2/2012/2016/2019/2022, Windows 10 on ARM.
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How to make a dongle server using Donglify

Check out this video guide if you want to know how Donglify can help you with setting up a USB dongle network server

Share dongles

Dongle server software: step-by-step instructions

Before you can use Donglify, you’ll need to sign up for an account on the Donglify website. Once you have successfully created your account, you will be able to download the dongle server software.
1
Install the application on the server (the device where the physical dongle will be attached) and then on all the client machines requiring remote access to the USB dongle. Start Donglify and log in to your account, when prompted.
 Log in for Donglify
2
In the window that appears after login, click on the "PLUS" icon to reveal a list of USB dongles that can be shared with the client machines.

Take note of the "Multi-connect" and the "Single-connect" text boxes next to the USB dongles’ names. The "Multi-connect" means that you can have multiple concurrent connections to that USB key dongle, and the "Single-connect" indicates that the device allows for only one client connection at a time.
 list of USB dongles
3
Select the USB dongle you want to share by clicking the radio button next to it, and then click "Share".
 Select the device
4
On all the client machines, launch Donglify and sign in to your account. After that, you’ll see a list of available devices. Select the one you want to connect to and click "Connect".
 Donglify as dongle server
5
Yes, it’s really all that it takes. Donglify becomes a reliable USB key server in just five simple steps, and now your software dongle can be accessed from anywhere on your network.

Some key features of Donglify:

  • Multi-connect: use this handy feature to make a USB dongle software accessible from a handful of remote computers on a single occasion.
  • Time and costs savings: minimizing the risks of losing or damaging your USB dongles or having them stolen without compromising their availability for users.
  • Top-notch security: the 2048-bit SSL encryption will take care that sharing your software license dongles over the network is completely safe and totally reliable.
  • Easy set-up: Donglify’s installation and initial configuration are so easy you can start using it in no time at all. Plus, there is no need for any extra hardware and software.
  • Access control: you can assign a dongle to a specific user, department, customer, etc.
  • Full compatibility: Donglify works with almost every USB dongle on the market *

Who uses a USB dongle server?

You’re going to all the way benefit from using Donglify if you are:

  • A service provider that has to do with licensed product maintenance for various customers. Using Donglify, you’ll be able to deal with all your hardware license keys remotely and practice an individual approach to each client.
  • A developer of a licensed software looking for an easy way to give a product trial to potential customers without having to mail them hardware dongles. With Donglify, you can make a dongle available for remote access through the Internet for as long as you need. No mailing cost, no dongles lost.
  • A large or medium business with numerous field staff and/or extensive branching network. Utilize Donglify to share dongles through your network and every employee will be able to access those as needed whenever they go. This way, you’ll have no stress over damaging or losing any of your keys as they’ll be all safe in your main office.

Anyone who owns a licensed software product protected with a USB security key.

Hardware dongle server

You may be wondering how a USB dongle server works? A dongle server is a hardware device that is used to make USB dongles available on your network. A network USB dongle server eliminates concerns regarding cable lengths or the physical location of a USB dongle.

We are going to investigate the features of a popular USB license dongle server.

A network dongle server by SEH Technology

SEH’s dongle servers are easy to use. The plug-and-play devices just need to be connected to your network with dongles attached to their available USB ports. Once the hardware is installed, a virtual USB connection needs to be established between the USB dongle and its client. This is accomplished with the device’s USB to Network (UTN) functionality using SEH UTN Manager USB dongle server software.

After that simple procedure, you can access the USB dongles over the network and use them as if you had a physical connection between the device and your local computer.

SEH offers two models of USB dongle network server for use in different environments.

The SEH dongleserver Pro enables users to securely access license dongles over a network. The device is meant to be used in small offices and can hold up to eight USB dongles. The unit includes a lockable housing to ensure the safety of the security dongles.

dongleserver Pro

Following are some of the features of the SEH dongleserver Pro:

  • Four USB 3.0 SuperSpeed ports
  • Four USB 2.0 Hi-Speed ports
  • Support for Windows, Linux, and Mac operating systems
  • Gigabit Ethernet
  • Monitoring and logging capabilities with integration into server monitoring services
  • Robust security that includes encrypted connections, time-based port keys, port access controls, dongle-port marriage, 802.1X authentication, and certificate management
  • Regular software updates are provided.
  • An optional rack mount is used to enable installation in a server rack and provide easy access to the device.

The dongleserver ProMAX is a larger version of the device and is designed to be used in server rooms and environments that need its extended capacity. The ProMAX enables network access to software license dongles and offers more reliability than the dongleserver Pro. The device provides redundancy with dual network connections and two internal power supplies. An integrated SD card backs up all passwords, parameters, and certificates for additional protection. Operational information is easily obtained through the device’s multi-segment status and fault display.

dongleserver ProMAX

The following features are included with the dongleserver ProMAX.

  • Five USB 3.0 SuperSpeed ports
  • 15 USB 2.0 Hi-Speed ports
  • Operating system support for Windows, Linux, and OS X/macOS
  • Dual network connectors
  • Gigabit Ethernet
  • Two built-in power packs
  • SD card to back up configuration data and transfer it to other devices
  • Informative status displays featuring acoustic warnings
  • Connectivity to monitoring server services for logging and monitoring
  • Enhanced security with encrypted connections, dongle-port marriage, time-based port keys, 802.1X authentication, and certificate management, port access controls, and more
  • Regularly updated software
  • Optional rack mount kit for use with a server rack to enable access with telescopic slides

The finite number of ports and lack of a multi-connect feature on a hardware dongle server can limit the viability of this solution. If you want to know how to build a dongle server without these limitations, you should consider using dongle server software.

This type of specialized application enables a physical USB security dongle to be shared across the network through virtualization techniques. Dongle server software eliminates the need for additional hardware and enables any number of network-attached dongles to be shared remotely.

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