Electronic Design

Belkin 802.11g and USB Hub

Belkin provided three products for the home media system. These included the stylish USB 2.0 7-Port Hub (see Fig. 1) and a set of 802.11g devices including the USB adapter (see Fig. 2) and the Range Extender/ Access Point (see Fig. 3).

The USB hub splits its 7-ports with two on top and five out the rear. The top connectors are ideal for USB flash memory sticks and transient devices such as MP3 players The powered USB hub can be stacked two high.

The 802.11g USB adapter was handy in our project because there was not wired network nearby and all the PCI expansion slots were used. The USB adapter turned out to be the ideal solution although it is most often used with a laptop. Installation and operation is the same as with an internal adapter as was performance. A USB extension cable with a vertical connector is included with the package.

The 802.11g Range Extender/Access Point is designed for a 400 foot coverage area. Your mileage may vary. You will need another access point like a Belkin Wireless G Router to use the unit as a range extender. It must be within range of the router but it can then provide access to 802.11g nodes within its range but outside the range of the router access to the network. In this case, all you need for the unit is power.

In access point mode, the unit is connected to an Ethernet network. It then links any 802.11g nodes within its range to the wired network. Setup of both modes is relatively trivial but make sure you use the WPA security options.

The Belkin USB 2.0 7-Port Hub (F5U237v1) is priced at $49. The 802.11g USB adapter (F5D7050) is priced at $59 and the 802.11g Range Extender/Access Point (F5D7130) is priced at $69. Also check out the 802.11g MIMO versions and the Pre-N versions that provide even better range and throughput. They are backward compatible with these 802.11g products.

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