Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Digi USB hubs connect over IP, LTE and 5G

Steve Rogerson
May 2, 2019



IoT connectivity firm Digi has introduced network-attached remote USB hubs that create the ability to connect USB peripheral devices to a PC over an IP or, with a cellular module, LTE and, when available, 5G network.
 
The AnywhereUSB Plus hubs are designed as a cost-effective and efficient option for the growing number of enterprise and industrial users looking to replace serial and older proprietary connections with USB products, especially for applications such as kiosks, logistics tracking, restaurant kitchens, manufacturing lines and software licence key fob management.
 
Offered with two, eight or 24 USB 3.1 gen-one connectors to enable USB device connectivity from local, remote or virtualised hosts, these hubs connect USB peripheral devices to a PC over an IP or, with a cellular module, LTE network. The modular approach to cellular support means devices are 5G ready.
 
USB products continue to proliferate and replace serial and older proprietary connections as a cost-effective and efficient option for enterprise and industrial users. Often, however, users lack sufficient USB ports on host computers for all their devices, need devices to be distributed over greater distances, or wish to avoid the cost of hardened computers. Whether connecting a point-of-sale ordering system to fulfilment, managing and tracking software licence dongles via USB key fob, or uploading and downloading data and firmware to physical devices, users are increasingly relying on USB connections for critical applications.
 
These applications require secure connectivity, higher speed connections and port densities, and the flexibility to allow different systems to connect to USB devices without having physically to connect, disconnect or move equipment around. Digi addresses these needs with USB 3.1 support and gigabit and higher network speeds in industrial and rack-mountable form factors. The eight- and 24-port versions provide hardware support for future deployment of Digi’s suite of Core plug-on LTE modems.
 
AnywhereUSB Plus products have built-in Digi TrustFence security framework and DRM remote manager, an IoT device management application.
 
Later this year, in addition to USB 3.1 port connectivity, all eight- and 24-port models will be software upgradeable to support Core LTE cellular modules. Also, at a later date, Digi will be introducing SKUs that add wifi connectivity. Enterprise and industrial users that need remote or local USB in the kitchen, on the factory floor and anywhere in between, can use the reliability, security and device management capabilities of the two-, eight- or 24-port packages.
 
“USB connectivity has become a real point of interest for organisations operating kiosks, ATMs and manufacturing lines, among other applications, and we’ve designed the Digi AnywhereUSB Plus to meet the specific needs of those,” said Scott Nelson, vice president at Minnesota-based Digi. “We believe we’re at the forefront of the industry in providing the best, most scalable devices in this space, including in a future that relies on cellular standards.”