Pros Easy to set up; nice design; excellent concept
Cons Doesn't really work.
Summary What everyone says about this product is true: It's very easy to set up and get running. In theory it should be great.
The practice is a different matter. It works fine - until you try using your computer for anything other than looking at the USB peripherals on your network. That's where the troubles begin.
The more work you try to do, the more often the devices start randomly disconnecting themselves. Microsoft Office, in particular, gives it fits.
The printer sharing is fine - if you don't mind waiting several minutes to print a page and dealing with endless "printer not ready" pop-ups.
I'm sure that Belkin will, over time, work out the kinks in this. I have purchased other Belkin products and been happy with them.
But I would wait a couple of years before investing in this.
Pros Very well done software, happy with product
Cons Misleading packaging, slow performance on wired network
Summary First and foremost, I have a big gripe with the packaging on this device. It says "Share printers, access media - WIRELESSLY". There is absolutely NOTHING wireless about this. It is a wired network device. The package continues to footnote that a wireless router is not included, but that's expected; WHO said I want my USB hub where my router is?! Belkin should include a radio or at very least offer the ability to plug in an inexpensive USB wifi adapter.
That out of the way, I moved on and set it up on my wired network. The software installed easily enough and one of the two printers I connected to it worked right off the bat, effortlessly. I was particularly impressed with the software's sharing features.
So I went to try to scan with my PSC 950, and no dice. My PSC950 is aging a bit and the scanner isn't too great so I was thinking I'd just replace it if it turned out to be incompatible. I downloaded the latest firmware and it didn't change anything. The "update" button showed I was up to date. Then I decided to try it on another computer. I went to the web to download the software, and noticed a newer version. Upon installing the 1.3 software from the web, my PSC 950 began to work flawlessly. Hooray!
For kicks I tried hooking up a Western Digital external hard disk. It worked just fine, but a throughput test revealed the Belkin's big weakness - poor performance. The hard drive could not break around 3.3MB/sec. 25mbps will do just fine for my needs but those looking at this as a way to remotely connect backup hard disks should probably look elsewhere. And yes, that's 25mbps on a 100mbps wired network. Pity because it's so great in every other respect.
Idea for people complaining about the lack of "smarts" when it comes to sharing printers and hard disks. This IS a networked usb hub, not a "print server", and not a NAS file server. Designate some always-on PC to "Share" the devices virtually connected through the Belkin if you want traditional, more intelligent queuing or simultaneous file access. Frankly what the included Belkin software allows is above what I would expect from such a device.
While it sounds like I'm rattling off a lot of negatives, the positive is that it *really works* for what I want it to do. I tried a Wireless USB adapter from IOGear prior to this and it was a total disaster. I'm impressed. With any luck Belkin can tweak the firmware and get more performance out of the hardware. Whatever the case I finally have a satisfactory solution to my multifunction printer quagmire that's plagued me for years.
Pros Super easy to set up, works like a champ
Cons None I've found, does what it says it will do
Summary After wrestling with an actual Print Server from another company for 6 or 7 hours, only to find out my printer isn't compatible, I was desperate to avoid a repeat. Lots of research led me to question most of the other print server choices and their compatibility with my Samsung ML-1450 Laser Printer.
The Belkin Network USB Hub box said "Industry's 1st reliable print server". The Best Buy computer guy said that it was so new he hadn't heard any feedback about it. I decided to take the plunge and I'm so happy I did. It's a little more expensive than other print servers, but what's a Saturday of frustration worth to you?
The "secret" of this thing that separates it from the others is that you don't need to mess with a bunch of IP addresses. It comes with a small resident program that you install on each computer that convinces it that the printer is actually plugged in directly. As a matter of fact your XP will pop up with the Discovered New Printer message, even while wireless through the router.
All you do is plug the Hub into your wireless or wired router, then into your USB printer. You then install the Control Center (takes just a couple of seconds). When you run the program you can already see the printer there on the list. Since a printer can only be "Connected" to one computer at a time, you simply direct the computer, through the Control Center, to connect, print, then disconnect when finished. The last step is to go to your printer icon through the Control Panel and through Properties, and click on the "Virtual USB Printer Port" in the Ports section. That's it! It was so easy. The Control Center automatically told the XP firewall that it needed access. There are also very detailed, easy to follow instructions (pictures) on how to set other common firewalls made by the big companies.
It's also great that since it connects directly through my existing wireless DSL router, I don't even have to program it for WEP or WPA-PSK codes.
I don't think you'll regret getting this Print Server, I mean Hub. I guess you can connect lots of other things through it...external hard drive, for instance. It's so easy to set up, I think I could could talk my mom through it over the phone. Worst comes to worst, it'll take only a fraction of the time to find out it doesn't work for you than other brands! How's that for an endorsement!
Pros It makes your usb devices accessable over wifi connections which could be benifical to laptop users and avoid having to plug devices in all the time. A USB server option.
Cons It only allows one user to connect to a device at a time be it a printer or storage device. It can be slow on data transfer as well.
Summary Ok, so I bought this as a solution for a printer and storage server but unknown to me was the limitation that it only allows one user to connect to a device at a time. In other words, two computers couldn't use an externally attached USB drive at the same time. I thought this would be more like a NAS server/print server and more. What it really does is make your USB ports available over the network. I can see its potential but the box was misleading. It could be useful for laptop users so they don't need to plug devices in all the time but that's not why I bought the product. It will be returned to the store tomorrow.
Pros Attaches most USB peripherals, specially printers. My Epson 1260 photo scanner works perfectly too.I have my computers set to manual connection, allowing me to access my peripherals from any computer, even wirelessly. Then I disconnect, freeing them.
Cons It has one power LED and none for USB connections. I would prefer ALL power, network and USB connections on the back and on the front: power, network and USB port LEDs. Network connection should be gigabit.
Summary I am running Windows 7 on my desktop, XP on two laptops, on a wireless 300 N Gigabit network. This hub has 4 printers, an Epson 1260 photo scanner, a webcam (which on the "Connection Control" says it may not work, but works,) attached. I've attached my camera, a multi card reader and external hard drive. They all work. The hard drive is very slow because it goes through the 100MB port of this network hub. That is almost one-fifth of USB speed of 480MB. To me, the real charm of this unit is cits onnectivity. If my computer is on my network, I'm connected, even wirelessly! All my computers are in one room, so sliding across the floor to change paper is easy. If I'm outside and want to print to standard paper, I just connect and print, and pick up the document later. It sure beats bringing out the printer too. It has run all the peripherals I have connected to it with full functionality. just as if they were connected to my computer. I just wish I could justify the purchase of another one.