When we were first introduced to the Belkin Network USB Hub, the Belkin representative declared that the installation process was just 5 minutes. Call me skeptical, but I figured that was just a gimmick and that it was unlikely to take just 5 minutes to set up networking device that could be used with a printer. My experience with trying to use my printer over my home network until now has been totally futile, I’ve tried several devices and software applications and have never been able to share my printer successfully over my network.
Then comes alone Belkin’s USB Network Hub which promises a painless and quick way to share my printer on my home network, as well as a scanner, hard drive or media card reader, digital camera, or other similar device. The way the hub works is that it kind of tricks your computers in to thinking that the devices plugged in to the hub are local to that computer. Needless to say I was eager to try this device out.
The device itself is beautifully minimalist. It looks practically identical to Belkin’s white USB & Firewire hub, which i’ve been using for a while. I’ve always liked Belkin’s products’ design, they tend to create sleek, minimalist and modern devices that are very Apple-like.
In the box an AC adapter and short black ethernet cable are included, along with software. Like the instructions indicated, I plugged the charger in to the hub and connected the hub to my wireless router using the ethernet cable. Next I installed the software that came on the CD on to my desktop running Windows Vista, that included the “Control Center”. The Control Center program picked up my Canon MP780 multifunction printer immediately. Color me very impressed. And the whole process did take about 5 minutes.
I then took the CD out and installed the Control Center on to my laptop running Vista that is currently on my home wireless network. And presto, it picked up my printer right away as well. With my fingers crossed, I attempted to print out a word document. About 10 seconds later I heard my printer chugging away from across the room. I didn’t even have to go in to Norton’s Internet Security and change my firewall settings – it just worked. However, it’s important to note that in order to print on a computer, using the Control Center software, the printer has to be enabled, and disabled on the other computer that is connected to the hub. However, that is simple enough to do and just requires a few clicks.
In the future I look forward to connecting a USB hard drive to the device so that I can share its files across several computers on my home network. The device contains 5 USB 2.0 ports, so that leaves a good amount of room to play with. The Belkin USB Network Hub retails for $129.95 and they expect to have Mac Drivers for the device sometime soon. Overall, I’m really happy with the Network USB Hub – the sleek device actually delivered what it promises, and I would recommend it to anyone looking for an easy way to share devices on their home network without a headache.
Simple to set-up, delivers as promised
No Mac Support yet – but it’s on the way