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Monday, August 07, 2017

IP-over-USB technology enables easy browser access for embedded devices

By Nick Flaherty www.flaherty.co.uk





German debug specialist SEGGER has launched IP-over-USB technology that lets a web browser easily access a USB device from any host: Windows, Linux, or macOS.

No driver needs to be installed, with connection via http://usb.local as the URL in the browser. With this, the flexibility of the web interface can be used for configuration and setup processes, as well as data retrieval. User manuals, tutorials etc. can simply be provided from the device itself via the same web interface.

In addition to browser access, any other IP service that is desirable can also be added, such as ftp access, telnet or proprietary UDP or TCP communication. With support for both IPv4 and IPv6, IP-over-USB it is fully future-proof. Controlling multiple devices from a single host is supported: individual devices can be distinguished by serial number.

The technology is aimed at just about any USB device. Take Bluetooth headphones, for example, this would allow an indication of the battery level, setting of EQ parameters and limiting of volume, pairing setup, etc. - thus making the product a lot easier to use. Other examples include printers, uninterruptable power supplies, solar inverters and chargers – all of which need to visualize status and control how the device operates.

The technology is based on emUSB-Device, a high-performance USB device stack specifically designed for embedded systems. It runs on any microcontroller and is platform-independent. The flexible device stack allows the creation of multi-class devices using nearly any combination of the provided classes. emUSB-Device provides classes for the Media Transfer Protocol, Mass Storage Device, CDROM, Human Interface Device, CDC-ACM (Serial port communication), IP-over-USB, printer and a sophisticated Bulk communication class. 

“We believe this to be a must-have for any state-of-the-art USB device: Using the IP-over-USB technology in combination with a built-in web server, the device can easily be accessed from any host (Windows, Linux, Mac) by simply typing the device name into the web browser. The end user can access his device more easily than ever before. No setup program, no driver, no special knowledge required,” said Rolf Segger, founder of SEGGER.

For evaluation, a trial package targeted to SEGGER’s emPower board is available for download https://www.segger.com/products/connectivity/emusb-device/add-ons/ip-over-usb/

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