USB/IP - a Peripheral Bus Extension for Device Sharing over IP Network

Takahiro Hirofuchi, Eiji Kawai, Kazutoshi Fujikawa, and Hideki Sunahara

This paper received the Best Paper Award at the conference.


As personal computing becomes more popular and affordable, the availability of peripheral devices is also increasing rapidly. However, these peripheral devices can usually only be connected to a single machine at time. The ability to share peripheral devices between computers without any modification of existing computing environments is, consequently, a highly desirable goal, as it improves the efficiency and usability of such devices. Existing device sharing technologies in the pervasive computing area are not sufficient for peripheral devices designed for personal computers, because these technologies do not provide the degree of networktransparency necessary for both applications and device drivers. In this paper, we propose USB/IP as a peripheral bus extension over an Internet Protocol (IP) network. This novel device sharing approach is based on the sophisticated peripheral interfaces that are supported in most modern operating systems. Using a virtual peripheral bus driver, users can share a diverse range of devices over networks without any modification in existing operating systems and applications. Our experiments show that USB/IP has sufficient I/O performance for many USB devices, including isochronous ones. We also describe performance optimization criteria that can be used to achieve further performance improvements.

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