Forum Thread

USB Network Hub Advice

sam81 242 19 November 28, 2015 at 10:01 AM
I need some guidance on what exactly it is I need to acquire.

I use astronomy equipment and I usually set up a laptop with the equipment to acquire the images and to control the setup. I was thinking it might be better to eliminate the laptop and buy some kind of hub for the USB cables (from the various pieces of astronomy equipment) to connect into. The problem is that the entire rig is set up outside around 75 feet from inside the house and I understand that USB cables of that length do not exist due to signal loss over distance.

Therefore, I think I need some kind of hub that accepts the USB cables from the equipment but uses an Ethernet cable to transmit the data. I'm looking for something simple. Something that runs the Ethernet cable right back to my PC inside the house and allows me to receive data from the equipment as well as send commands back.

I think I would also need some type of "splitter" that connects into the single Ethernet port into my PC and has two inputs; one for the Ethernet cable from the hub and another for access to the internet.

Does a hub like this exist? If so, does anyone have a good recommendation based on experience?

Thanks!

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#2
Quote from sam81 View Post :
I need some guidance on what exactly it is I need to acquire.

I use astronomy equipment and I usually set up a laptop with the equipment to acquire the images and to control the setup. I was thinking it might be better to eliminate the laptop and buy some kind of hub for the USB cables (from the various pieces of astronomy equipment) to connect into. The problem is that the entire rig is set up outside around 75 feet from inside the house and I understand that USB cables of that length do not exist due to signal loss over distance. [This is true].

Therefore, I think I need some kind of hub that accepts the USB cables from the equipment but uses an Ethernet cable to transmit the data. I'm looking for something simple. Something that runs the Ethernet cable right back to my PC inside the house and allows me to receive data from the equipment as well as send commands back. Amazon [amazon.com] has several hubs that accomplish this.

I think I would also need some type of "splitter" that connects into the single Ethernet port into my PC and has two inputs; one for the Ethernet cable from the hub and another for access to the internet. Any 4 port switch could provide this functionality. I believe that all relatively recent desktops have 2 Ethernet ports built into the motherboard.

Does a hub like this exist? If so, does anyone have a good recommendation based on experience?

Thanks!
This is what I suggest. Go to Amazon [amazon.com] or some other place and buy a Yagi antenna. Continue to use your laptop as before in the remote location except now you connect wirelessly to it. You could use VNC Free [vnc.com] or Teamviewer [teamviewer.com] to control the remote laptop. So in this case you would buy 1 high gain antenna and the rest is all free software.

Good luck.
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#3
Quote from sam81 View Post :
I need some guidance on what exactly it is I need to acquire.

I use astronomy equipment and I usually set up a laptop with the equipment to acquire the images and to control the setup. I was thinking it might be better to eliminate the laptop and buy some kind of hub for the USB cables (from the various pieces of astronomy equipment) to connect into. The problem is that the entire rig is set up outside around 75 feet from inside the house and I understand that USB cables of that length do not exist due to signal loss over distance.

Therefore, I think I need some kind of hub that accepts the USB cables from the equipment but uses an Ethernet cable to transmit the data. I'm looking for something simple. Something that runs the Ethernet cable right back to my PC inside the house and allows me to receive data from the equipment as well as send commands back.

I think I would also need some type of "splitter" that connects into the single Ethernet port into my PC and has two inputs; one for the Ethernet cable from the hub and another for access to the internet.

Does a hub like this exist? If so, does anyone have a good recommendation based on experience?

Thanks!
This is not from personal experience, but the following is cheap and well reviewed: http://www.amazon.com/Monoprice-E...b+extender. If you need more than one input at the other end, just plug it into a run-of-the-mill USB hub.

You can get it directly from monoprice as well: http://www.monoprice.com/product?p_id=6042, who are also my go to for ethernet cables.

Edit: as a general warning, this is USB 1.1 only. USB 2.0 extenders are considerably more expensive.
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Last edited by quotidian November 28, 2015 at 11:16 AM
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#4
Quote from dale_101798 View Post :
This is what I suggest. Go to Amazon [amazon.com] or some other place and buy a Yagi antenna. Continue to use your laptop as before in the remote location except now you connect wirelessly to it. You could use VNC Free [vnc.com] or Teamviewer [teamviewer.com] to control the remote laptop. So in this case you would buy 1 high gain antenna and the rest is all free software.

Good luck.
Actually, I currently do use Teamviewer right now. I should have mentioned this in the OP. What I'm trying to eliminate is the laptop, its power cable, the table, and chair. I'm trying to cut out some of the hardware out of the equation by hopefully running something directly to the rig itself.
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#5
Quote from quotidian View Post :
This is not from personal experience, but the following is cheap and well reviewed: http://www.amazon.com/Monoprice-E...b+extender. If you need more than one input at the other end, just plug it into a run-of-the-mill USB hub.

You can get it directly from monoprice as well: http://www.monoprice.com/product?p_id=6042, who are also my go to for ethernet cables.

Edit: as a general warning, this is USB 1.1 only. USB 2.0 extenders are considerably more expensive.
This concept might actually work. I would need two of these things for two pieces of equipment that require USB, along with two 100' Ethernet cables. I will ponder this some more. Thanks!
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#6
An adapter like that uses USB 1.1 could be kind of slow if you're transferring images over that connection. If you're just controlling it and your capturing images and storing them directly on the camera's SD card or similar it might be fine.

It would be significantly more involved to setup, but something like a raspberry pi could be an alternative to the computer.
Quote from sam81 View Post :
This concept might actually work. I would need two of these things for two pieces of equipment that require USB, along with two 100' Ethernet cables. I will ponder this some more. Thanks!
It might not be fast enough for your needs. If 11mbps of bandwidth is enough for both pieces of equipment, you might be able to get away with powering a usb hub off a battery and only 1 cable, but you could introduce some problems.

If you ran a permanent electrical outlet out there, you could also try HomePlug AV2 adapters.
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Last edited by jkee November 29, 2015 at 11:19 AM
#7
I had thought about the Pi too, but it seemed like it might be too much of a project. If the OP is up for taking on a project though, a Pi would be a much better dedicated remote machine than a laptop. The equipment will either need ARM Linux support or they'll need to setup USB over IP. I'm not sure that the stripped down version of Windows 10 that can also run on the newer Pis would do the job.

Quote from jkee View Post :
It might not be fast enough for your needs. 11mbps of bandwidth is enough for both pieces of equipment, you might be able to get away with powering a usb hub off a battery and only 1 cable, but you could introduce some problems.
Yeah, that is the danger with there. If I were going to try a hub, I'd try a powered hub. One other option is a powered USB 2.0 repeater cable: http://www.monoprice.com/product?...1&format=2.
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