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USB Set Free

Kiss your cables goodbye--USB is going wireless.

Everything's doing it: plugging into a USB port. Now you can do it wirelessly--connect USB hardware to your PC, that is--with Belkin's Cable-Free USB Hub. This untethered option for your USB hardware provides a glimpse into the future of the ubiquitous standard.

We tested the small, $200 gadget, which uses UWB technology to achieve a practical throughput of 30Mbps to 45Mbps. Its chief benefit is to let you relocate your USB peripherals without cables. It's also a way to add a quartet of USB ports to a PC that's maxed out.

Setup involves installing the software, hooking a dongle up to your PC and registering the wireless hub. The process was a little tricky, but only because we were working with an early version of the software. Once the hub was up and running, any USB device we plugged in was recognized as though directly connected to a PC USB port.

One drawback: The hub's design makes for a tight fit with USB peripherals that don't use regular USB cables. We had to squeeze a chunky USB Flash drive in to connect it. Performance is best when the dongle and hub are in sight of each other. All in all, this early wireless USB device is promising.

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This article was originally published in the June 2007 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: USB Set Free.

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