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I'm thinking about buying a USB hub with a lot of USB ports and an Ethernet port, such as this one, then connecting a lot of Raspberry Pi Zeros to it. The goal is to connect all of them to network, while providing power at the same time. Would this work or would only one (or none) be able to access network?

If not, besides buying one of USB-to-Ethernet adapters, such as this one, for each of the Raspberry Pi Zeros, are there perhaps other options? This with the desire to keep the costs and cabling mess down, of course.

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Sorry, that wont work. Only the 'master' Pi0, plugged in to the 'uplink' port using a OTG cable can use the gadgets, among which all the other Pi0's and the builtin Ethernet adapter. You could configure network over USB and configure the master Pi0 to route the other Pi0's traffic over the one Ethernet port. Probably this is somewhat too hard for someone that needs to ask this question..

  • I came to think of this: instructables.com/id/How-to-Make-a-Raspberry-Pi-SuperComputer – kuzeyron Aug 16 '17 at 7:10
  • Thanks josn - so in the example of the USB hub I linked, you're saying that whatever is plugged in into the side USB port (labelled USB3.0 IN) will be able to use other things plugged into the top USB ports and the ethernet port, but not the other way around? I'll look into the USB networking setup, that seems like a viable alternative. – levant pied Aug 16 '17 at 17:37
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It is possible to achive this. The USB port can be acting as a master (host) or a slave.

*Using the Linux USB Gadget modules, we can get the Pi Zero to emulate a whole host of USB devices including

  • Virtual Serial – So can get a serial connection into the Pi, similar to using the UART pins. You can use Putty (on Windows) or Screen (on Mac and Linux).

  • Virtual Ethernet – You can get your Pi Zero to appear as a USB Ethernet modem. With a little configuration, you can then get full SSH, VNC, FTP etc.*

Reference:

http://blog.gbaman.info/?p=699

https://learn.adafruit.com/turning-your-raspberry-pi-zero-into-a-usb-gadget/overview

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    Thanks MatsK, I think that's what josn suggested as well. Good links though, I'll check them out to see if this is a viable alternative! – levant pied Aug 16 '17 at 17:39

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