Accessory maker Belkin has launched a USB hub that uses the wireless version of the popular peripheral plug technology. Belkin Wireless USB Hub Belkin's Wireless USB Hub: USB-over-next-gen Wi-Fi The unit's specifications and look have changed a bit since we reported on the prototype. Originally intended to be a shiny black …
Spec change too?
Going "sale late August, Belkin said, for $200" is a bit different from the "$130 in June" quoted in the previous article. Does the fact that this comes with an external adaptor mean that it is no longer just necessary to install some software that runs on the laptop in order to use this, but now you need a dongle on the laptop as well? Seems a bit pointless if so...
Pointless? Huh? Of course it requires a radio at each end, that's how radio works. What kind of magic software do you think could suddenly make your laptop magically communicate with a device that it isn't connected to by any wires?
I presume Steve is asking if you have to use the Belkin dongle or can you just use a wireless N adaptor built in to your laptop. If it's the former then I agree the product makes less sense.
"What kind of magic software do you think could suddenly make your laptop magically communicate with a device that it isn't connected to by any wires?"
The kind of magic software that uses a laptops built in wireless?
Its virtually impossible to buy a laptop without wifi these days so if this works over normal wifi I can see the advantage of having say your ipod plugged in at your desk but you can still play music from it when sitting downstairs etc... or the same with printers.
If you already have built in wifi but this device only works with its own dongle as the pc side endpoint then yes its rather pointless for a laptop user as you still have to have something plugged in!
Will be more useful later on
When n-standard wireless is a built-in feature on laptops, this will be more useful as the dongle will no longer be required. I can imagine that some will use this so they can work anywhere in the house or garden with their laptop, but still access all their USB peripherals that are sat wherever their desk is...
Although, it doesn't really add any new capabilities. Why not just buy a network-enabled printer (or one of the increasing range of routers with USB print-server built in), and work things that way? I can't think of one benefit it will offer me. Ah well, someone will buy it. Not me (or Steve!)
I think what Steve is hinting at is that maybe it now requires software that is built into a dongle rather than installed on a machine to use, not that it would work using 'magic'
It would be useful to know if the device will be able to work with pointing devices, keyboards, and other interface devices.
Clearly not 802.11n
802.11x won't cut it:
"But - and here's the crucial point, and one we missed earlier, ahem - the wireless is Wireless USB, not Wi-Fi."
Eventually, we might see laptops that have WUSB "ports" (virtual of course) but I think it would take some rather clever hacking to alter a wireless-n card to accept it.
Silex SX-2000WG !!!
This has been onsale for quite some time (see expansys) Works really well and does not need special dongle - just software which works even within VMWARE!!!!
Very useful device - I have a weather station in the conservatory and the PC collecting the data in the attic. You can also add most peripherals to it (apart from cameras). You can add multiple usb devices via a usb hub as well as having multiple SX-2000WG on your network. Note for printers, scanners etc multiple users can connect to a device (though not at the same time) but you can say have 2 printers on the one SX-2000WG and 2 different computers accessing them.
I would recommend this as it does not have the limitations of the Belkin. It also has a network port which is important as Wireless can be very flakey some times. (note they also do servers without the wireless aspect - only wired)
Been there, done that. Why's this superior?
USB device servers are nothing new, with products from Silex and Keyspan, among others. They work over regular Ethernet, which means your integrated wifi is just fine as one hop in the network. But because of Ethernet's timing uncertainty, they work only with control, interrupt, and bulk transfers (USB message types), not the isochronous transfers required by audio and video devices.
Which is to say, you can move pictures off a connected camera's memory card, since that's a bulk transfer, but you can't run a webcam or a USB headset from a device server.
WUSB should fix that. I stress "should". Without confirmation that this gaping limitation has been surmounted, all further product plugs are useless copypastes of useless press releases.
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