While I have spent many an hour daydreaming about Belkin's wireless USB hub this little gem of a device is even better...
It is called the 'Network USB Hub' (code: F5L009uk) - a product which we have heard snippets about before - and it looks set to revolutionise both home and office networking.
The concept, like all the best things, is remarkably simple: trick your computer to think that the devices on the network are directly attached to the computer.
In the meantime special caching techniques allow for support of USB devices and isochronous transfers at full speed. Furthermore, the software allows easy control of the USB devices to be swapped between computers.
So in a single stroke we have a device that takes an average printer and makes it a networked printer, takes a standard external hard drive and makes it a NAS appliance, takes a scanner, card reader, webcam, MP3 player, USB drive, even keyboard and mouse - to be frank, whatever your mind can think of - and makes it accessible by every computer on the network. Please excuse my language, but I think that's bloody brilliant.
The hub itself plugs directly into your router and has five ports, but - since it also has its own power supply - supports chaining of devices (Belkin told me it has tested adding up to 15 devices successfully) so why attach anything to a USB port on your computer ever again?!). The hub even handles multiple users - though only one connected to each device at a time.
Perhaps the best part however is pricing and availability. This isn't a product for the far and distant future, it's out next week and for just £79.99 including VAT.
I'm sold. How about you...?