Transferring a large amount of data between devices on a local network can be a major pain in the butt… However I’ve come across a few tools out there that have made it a bit less painful. Listed below is a set of 7 tools I’ve used with good results.
A new addition to this page. Developed by a company called Criptext, who offer a secure email service. As easy to use as AirDrop on macOS. Has apps for iOS, Android, and macOS.
FDT – Fast Data Transfer (Free, Open-Source)
FDT is a Java based tool that uses UDP to transfer data. The app itself is packaged as a JAR containing both the client and server which makes it extremely portable. Unfortunately the convenience ends there; Using it requires access to the command line, the Java runtime, and the JAR itself on both machines. However, the speeds it can achieve are quite impressive; Peaking at 30 mb/s in my testing.
ExpeDat’s claim to fame is it’s MTP (Multipurpose Transaction Protocol). This protocol uses UDP to transfer data much like FDT does, however it’s a standalone app and has no reliance on Java. This is a commercial product that is quite expensive ($3000 for a single license). However at the time of this writing they offer a 15 day trial so it might be useful if you only need to do a few one-off transfers.
Resilio Sync (Free/Paid)
Sync once branded under the name of BitTorrent is a folder synchronization tool akin to Dropbox. It uses mesh based peer-to-peer connections to route your file transfers along the most efficient paths to the destination. I measured transfer speeds at around 23 mb/s using Sync. The only gripe I have is that it can take a long time for Sync to index a folder when first setting it up but at least it’s just a one time affair. Once it’s setup it’s just as convenient as Dropbox.
Syncthing (Donationware, Open-Source)
Syncthing is Resilio Sync’s open-source alternative. Setting it up requires some command line knowledge and fiddling with it’s web based interface. Transfer speeds were in the same ballpark as Sync peaking at around 23 mb/s.
File Transfer (Free/Paid)
This app uses Bonjour (zeroconf) to detect other devices running the app on your LAN and provides you with a buddy list of devices that you can drag files onto.
Dukto (Free, Open-Source)
An old favorite of mine. Dukto is cross platform, with apps for both desktop and mobile. Much like File Transfer, this tool uses Bonjour (zeroconf) to detect other devices and provides you with a list of buddies that you send files, text snippets, and the contents of your clipboard to.