Wireless USB is the future. But Belkin’s four-way hub sees it get off to a fairly dull, expensive start
Sometimes something falls on your desk that makes you feel a bit like you’re a presenter on Tomorrow’s World. Wireless networking may be quite passé these days, but the possibilities that Wireless USB (WUSB) opens up could cause Peter Snow levels of excitement.
It’s a bland moniker for a revolutionary tech, but pretty soon everything will have WUSB built in. Cameras, phones, MP3 players, memory sticks: you name it: cables will be cut forever.
Huge transfer rates
WUSB takes advantage of ultra-wideband radio technology to broadcast high bandwidth data across a huge swathe of high frequencies that are outside the licensed spectrum. Like normal USB cables, it’s an instant, easy but unsecured way of transferring data between up to 127 devices and a host PC.
If that sounds like so much geek-speak, don’t worry. The important bit is that it can transfer at up to 480Mb/s within a three metre range, making it somewhere in the region of 200 times faster than Bluetooth. Quicker and less fussy than Wireless N, it’s suitable for beaming high def pictures and movies between a PC and a hard drive or printer.
Simple to set up
Belkin has the notable honour of being the first to bring out a WUSB certified product: but the pomp and glory is overkill for a simple four-port hub. One half of the kit is a small adaptor that slots into an available USB port. The other half is a powered hub into which you can plug your printer et al.
The problem is that a camera or phone with WUSB built in simply has to be placed near your PC in order to be used. Combine it with a wireless power source (like eCoupled) and you’ll never need a cable again.
However, spending over £100 to use cabled devices via a hub that has to be within three metres doesn’t really buy you a lot of convenience over a normal £10 hub. In fact, since the transceiver has its own power supply, it actually adds a cable to the total number of spaghetti strings currently mating by your feet.
There are a few advantages, particularly for laptop users short on port space, but as exciting as WUSB is it’s better to wait until you have a few enabled gadgets that need a hub, rather than the other way round.
Belkin Wireless USB Hub review
Kudos to Belkin for being first with a new tech, but at this price it’s an expensive indulgence