Using USB with Thin Clients
USB, or Universal Serial Bus, has become a standard in peripheral communications. It has a few special considerations for use with the remote desktop protocol with terminal services in the thin client world.
USB Keyboard and Mice
USB keyboards and mice work without an issue in all versions of ThinManager. Package 6 and later allows hot plugging of these devices. Some older ACP Enabled thin clients with PS/2 keyboard connectors need a PS/2 keyboard to access the IP Configuration Menu. Once the static IPs are set and the thin client has connected to ThinManager for the first time you can use a USB keyboard without problems.
USB drives are disabled by default. An administrator must allow access by adding the USB Flash Drive module to the thin client in the Terminal Configuration Wizard. The access can be set to “Read”, “Read/Write” or “None”. This can prevent viruses, Trojans, and other un-authorized programs from affecting a system through an infected USB drive.
A USB device can be used as a TermSecure ID if the drive has an internal serial number. Add the USB Flash Drive module to the thin client in the Terminal Configuration Wizard and set the “Use with TermSecure” to “Yes. This is a simple method for testing and proof of concept but the contactless HID (RFID) card reader provides better long term solution because the USB drive connectors have a limited amount of insertions.
Devices that communicate as a keyboard wedge, using the keyboard protocol, will work without an issue. Data is sent as characters from the device such as a scanner, scale, or caliper, to the session to be used.
Devices requiring special drivers
Devices that require special drivers like USB printers won’t work when attached to a thin client because USB does not map to the session. There are devices available, such as the Digi AnywhereUSB, that act as a USB-to-Ethernet device that allows USB devices to be connected and mapped to the terminal server where the appropriate drivers are loaded.