"Finally, networked scanning!"4.0 starson by djrobx
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.