How To Set Up A USB-Over-IP Server And Client With Debian Lenny - Page 2

3 Installing And Using USB/IP On The Client


First we must install usbip on the client. The steps are the same as on the server:

vi /etc/apt/sources.list

Add the Debian Squeeze (testing) repositories at the end of the file:

## Squeeze / Testing
deb squeeze main
deb-src squeeze main

deb squeeze/updates main
deb-src squeeze/updates main
vi /etc/apt/apt.conf

Put the following line into this file:

APT::Cache-Limit "100000000";
vi /etc/apt/preferences

Make the file look as follows:

Package: *
Pin: release a=stable
Pin-Priority: 700

Package: *
Pin: release a=testing
Pin-Priority: 650

Update the package database...

aptitude update

... and install usbip as follows:

aptitude install usbip usbip-source module-assistant

We need to build the usbip kernel modules for our Debian Lenny kernel, that's why we must install the usbip-source and module-assistant packages as well. We can now build the kernel modules as follows:

m-a prepare
m-a update
m-a a-i usbip-source

Afterwards we load the vhci-hcd kernel module:

modprobe vhci-hcd

To check if it really got loaded, run:

lsmod | grep vhci_hcd

The output should be similar to this one:

client1:~# lsmod | grep vhci_hcd
vhci_hcd               15844  0
usbip_common_mod       11332  1 vhci_hcd
usbcore               118160  2 vhci_hcd

To make sure that the module gets loaded automatically whenever you boot the system, you can add it to /etc/modules:

vi /etc/modules

Now connect to the usbip server and get a list of available USB devices:

usbip -l

( is the IP address of the usbip server.)

You should find the SanDisk USB flash drive in the output (BUSID 4-5):

client1:~# usbip -l
     4-5: SanDisk Corp. : Cruzer Micro 256/512MB Flash Drive (0781:5151)
        : /sys/devices/pci0000:00/0000:00:04.1/usb4/4-5
        : (Defined at Interface level) (00/00/00)
        :  0 - Mass Storage / SCSI / Bulk (Zip) (08/06/50)


To attach that device to the client, run:

usbip -a 4-5

client1:~# usbip -a 4-5
8 ports available

port 0 attached

Now run...


... and you should find the remote USB device in the output on the client:

client1:~# lsusb
Bus 001 Device 004: ID 0781:5151 SanDisk Corp. Cruzer Micro 256/512MB Flash Drive
Bus 001 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0002 Linux Foundation 2.0 root hub

You can now use the remote USB device as if it was a local USB device (e.g. mount it, format it, write to it, read form it, etc.).


4 Detaching A Remote USB Device

A remote USB device can be detached as follows:



usbip --port

... to find out the port that the remote USB device uses on the client - in this case it's port 00:

client1:~# usbip --port
8 ports available

Port 00: <Port in Use> at High Speed(480Mbps)
       SanDisk Corp. : Cruzer Micro 256/512MB Flash Drive (0781:5151)
       1-1 -> usbip://  (remote devid 00040002 (bus/dev 004/002))
       1-1:1.0 used by usb-storage
Port 01: <Port Available>
Port 02: <Port Available>
Port 03: <Port Available>
Port 04: <Port Available>
Port 05: <Port Available>
Port 06: <Port Available>
Port 07: <Port Available>

We need the port number to detach the device:

usbip -d 00

client1:~# usbip -d 00
8 ports available

port 0 detached

On the server, we use the BUSID (4-5) to bind the USB device to the local system (the --other switch binds the device to the local system so that it is not available over the network anymore):


usbip_bind_driver --other 4-5 

server1:~# usbip_bind_driver --other 4-5
** (process:7333): DEBUG: write "del 4-5" to /sys/bus/usb/drivers/usbip/match_busid
** Message: bind 4-5 to other drivers than usbip, complete!

Now go back to the client and check if the remote USB device is still available:



If all goes well, it shouldn't be listed anymore:

client1:~# lsusb
Bus 001 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0002 Linux Foundation 2.0 root hub


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By: John Zbesko

Good article about a new feature (to me, anyway) in linux. Is this capability at the heart of the USB device pass-through used in virtual machines, such as Virtualbox?


No, its not. It is completely unrelated, though it might serve the same goal, even more.

 Though, after some testing, USB/IP is still not really reliable because it does not try to reconnect in case of temporary network outage. Maybe that's just a bug.

 On the other side, its kernel part has been integrated early this year in the official linux-staging kernel branch, and its userland is being shipped in most mainstream GNU/Linux distributions already.