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Is there any USB adapter that you can plug in your PC and will convert the USB output in wireless and then have a second USB adapter that will receive the wireless signal and reconvert it to USB input? The second USB adapter would preferably have to be relatively small.

UPDATE:

What I'm really trying to do is: a really long USB cable, but without the cable; in other words, "wireless USB". I'm trying to connect a robot that I built and that has a USB port. Of course, I could add a wireless interface but it'd be long and complicated... that's why I came up with this idea. USB hubs aren't really an option since the said robot has to move around.

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  • so you want a USB extender that uses some wireless tech, because the robot is a USB device? or is the robot a USB host? you can't connect two USB hosts directly via USB, even using extenders. you need some kind of network for that. – quack quixote Mar 14 '10 at 2:45
  • I would honestly say that if you are serious about further experiments then you should try working in either bluetooth or XBee. XBee actually seems like a better choice if you are just mucking around with ideas and designs. Also, what microcontroller are you using for the robot? If you are using the Arduino platform then setting up the XBee for communication with a control computer would not be terribly difficult. I believe that it would also be fairly easy with most other microcontroller platforms. – spowers Mar 14 '10 at 14:33
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    I assume he means that the robot acts as a USB device rather than a host, and is looking for something that has a "to device" end for the robot and "to host" end either directly connected to the PC or inside a hub like the one I linked to. I have seen extenders where one end is as small as a typical wireless adaptor but I can't remember if that was at the host end or the device end (probably the host end, as this would be most convenient for laptops, which is not the way around Olivier is looking for) though I can't find any to link to after a cursory search. – David Spillett Mar 14 '10 at 16:09
  • The USB host would be my computer and the robot would be the device. Thanks for helping out but it seems what I'm looking for doesn't really exist :/ – Olivier Lalonde Mar 15 '10 at 10:34
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Wireless USB hubs and extenders do exist (this hub, for instance) but they appear to be rather expensive. I would expect their to be noticeable speed and latency issues so I wouldn't want to run an external drive or video device using one, but for something like a printer it should work well (though for that particular use you might find it significantly cheaper+easier to buy a new printer with wireless built in and connect it to your existing wireless AP as a network printer).

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  • interesting device. uses wifi (802.11g) for the link extension so it may conflict with other wifi, but does seem useful. – quack quixote Mar 14 '10 at 2:48
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I would say this is not simple to do for one reason - power supply. USB is in most cases used also to power the connected device. Imagine you would like to connect a flash drive this way. USB cable transmits 5V to the device so it can work. Using wireless dongle connected to PC would provide power to the dongle, but not to the remote USB (smaller plug for input to the usb flash disk). For this reason, such wireless USB cable would require its own power supply (eg. a battery, which will be relatively big and you would need to charge it often, or a wall plug).

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    He had said that was trying to connect to a robot. Power supply was not a problem, for sure. – alextoind Mar 24 '17 at 11:23
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    You make an excellent point that I don’t think most people factor into the question... an external hard drive for example gets its power from the very cable that communicates with it... replace the cable with some kind of wireless technology now how does the hard drive get power without needing to slave it to a wire that connects to power? It would defeat the intended application of usb over the air... nice pull! – Michael Sims Nov 9 '20 at 5:33
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I've recently found the answer, with the help of some feedback from my own thread (here).

To have the a USB device extended over the wireless network, you'll need something called a "virtual USB" setup. One service I've successfully used was VirtualHere (Windows compatible), with an alternative being USB/IP (more for Linux).

Essentially, the "USB adapter" you've mentioned would have to be a computer with WiFi capabilities; In the case of a robot, perhaps the WiFi-included version of a Raspberry Pi computer could do the trick.

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If it capable of accept a USB wifi adapter use that to connect to it to your wifi. Then communicate over IP.

If not, you could strap a raspberry pi 3 onto your robot, and connect that to your wifi. Its will offer a large amount of functionality, including storing pre-built routines on the SD card. The Pi has USB ports so you can run a short 1 foot or less cable, and connect the 2 devices.

You then have to operate over TCP/IP.

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There's a device made by Speedybee which claims to be a Bluetooth to USB host adapter, so you plug it into a USB device. It needs power of course since it's not going to get any from the USB device. It seems to have been made to talk to their drone flight controller but it says it allows a serial port over USB up to 110kbaud. So it might be usable for your robot.

https://www.speedybee.com/bluetooth-usb-adapter/

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Your questions are a little ambiguous -- we don't know what you're trying to connect. There are two possibilities: a USB device, or another computer.

  • To connect another computer, you'd use a NIC. USB Wifi NICs exist and are on the market; put one on each computer, and configure an ad-hoc network (or use a wifi router or AP). You could also use a USB serial port to connect two computers, but existing products will probably be designed for wired use.

  • To connect a USB device, you'd use a USB extender. Wired versions are available; they convert USB to ethernet cabling to extend the signal range beyond USB's 5m limit.

    I don't know of any wireless extender products, but it's not impossible. It'd make an interesting DIY project.

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This sounds like a job for Bluetooth? Bluetooth is designed to be the wireless peripheral connector protocol.

You can get Bluetooth compatible versions of almost all USB peripherals (mice, printers, webcams, speakers, etc), and these days USB Bluetooth dongles to plug into the back of your PC can be smaller than your thumbnail.

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Thomas M brought up an excellent point, which is that USB technology is intended to provide both data transfer AND POWER to the connected device.

So the concept of creating a USB OVER THE AIR technology doesn’t really work because at best, you could, in theory, convert the usb data protocol over to some kind of wireless protocol, but then how do you address the power requirement of the end device? Sure, you could make the wireless USB receiver device capable of being plugged into the wall for power and that would only give you an advantage of being able to replace a usb cable with a power supply instead... From an engineering / product design perspective I can’t see much utility in a USB OVER THE AIR technology and if you really do need it, then get a raspberry PI and use ‘VirtualHere’ which seems to be a mature and flexible USB over TCP/IP technology that has a wide variety of platform support.

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