It was 18 months ago that I first reported on Belkin's wireless USB hub and though the finished product looks little different it is finished.
Newly dubbed the 'Wireless USB Hub' (from 'CableFree USB Hub'), this linguistically logical product should finally free up your peripherals in a way promised since May 2005.
The concept is simple: plug the antenna into a free USB port on your computer, place the USB hub in a separate – more convenient – location and plug devices into that. The two then communicate happily with full backwards compatibility with all USB1.0 and USB2.0 products. Distances up to 3m guarantee the full USB2.0 speed of 480Mbps with that dropping down to 110Mbit at 10m. Sure USB products still need to be plugged into a power socket and they still need a wired connection to the hub, but they no longer have to be tethered to a computer.
The Belkin hub will connect up to four devices remotely too meaning printers, memory keys, scanners, webcams, external hard drives and more no longer need to wrestle for desk space. Just as useful, notebooks only need to plug into one device to reconnect with four if they have been accompanying you on your travels.
With an anticipated RRP of $200 the Hub doesn't come cheap but its benefits aren't to be taken lightly either. It launches in the US in August with an international release right behind it.
Funnily enough, when I first covered Belkin's WUSB Hub I said, "If by this time in 2007 I am the proud owner of a dual core laptop with series ‘eight’ graphics card, WiFi Digicam and High Def Blu-ray cinema setup all interconnected by WUSB you’ll be reading the stories of a rather smiley News Ed indeed."
Well, that's pretty much the case – but now I want a quad core laptop with wireless N and a dual format streaming HD home cinema setup all connected by WUSB. *Sigh*