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Connecting a laptop to desktop using USB to ethernet while keeping desktop network connection?


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I am researching this particular situation to see if it is possible, before we invest the time and money to go much further...

I have a corporate intranet that has desktops and wired access to network shares, etc. I also have a number of netbooks that have to operate in remote locations with no wireless or wired internet connectivity, using data loaded at the office.

I need to securely transfer database files to several netbooks in turn without using USB drives or other removable media, or wireless, which have the potential for loss, risking the data. A secure, wired connection is our preference.

Our plan is to use a USB to RJ-45 connector (such as an Apple USB Ethernet Adapter) to connect to the netbooks. Then, plug the USB in the desktop, and plug the Ethernet cable to the netbook's RJ-45 port. For proof of concept, we've done some initial testing with one device, and have managed to find modified drivers to get the Apple device to work under Windows 7, and looking at it's properties can see a successful Ethernet connection. Setting up the share is more complicated.

We control the hardware and software on each machine, so we intend to make an simple user-friendly GUI application to move the data back and forth (before and after its use at the distributed netbook locations). I suspect that this should be simply a mapping of the netbook as a drive, and copying to and from.

Can anyone provide any advice or guidance as to the best way to accomplish this? Any specifics on setting up the connections? (If we can retain the network share while copying directly to the netbook, this would be best, but if necessary, we can copy down to the desktop, disconnect from the network, connect to the netbook, copy, disconnect, delete the desktop copy, and reconnect to the network.)


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Forum Editor

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I've done exactly the same thing with a client company in the past. In that case it involved transferring sensitive banking data to laptops which were to be used by the client's representatives in the field.

My preferred method, given the need for avoiding removable media,was the one you describe in your final paragraph; we instituted a policy of copying to a dedicated desktop and using a single authorised member of staff to disconnect the desktop from the network after the copy process, copying the data to the laptops, disconnecting them, deleting the desktop copy and reconnecting the desktop.

It worked smoothly, and was very secure, given that one person handled the process. As far as I know the client still follows the same procedure.

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