WiFi and USB have both become inexpensive and ubiquitous connectivity solutions, so the idea of exploiting them both at the same time a single device makes sense. IOGEAR's latest take on the theme is its Wireless 4-Port USB Sharing Station, which allows up to four USB peripherals (external storage, camera, printer, etc.) to be shared over a WiFi network and in the process provides a recipe for an uncluttered desktop environment.
While some devices come WiFi-enabled out of the box (printers especially), most of them rely on cords. Resembling an ordinary WiFi router, the IOGEAR Wireless Sharing Station in fact requires a WiFi router to establish a WLAN within the station's range. After plugging USB gadgets into its four ports, they become accessible to PCs, smartphones, tablets and other devices.
An office environment with shareable multi-function printers, or external hard drives, seems to be the most obvious application of IOGEAR's device. Another likely application is a simple surveillance system, made up of a USB-powered video recording device accessible via WiFi when plugged into the station. Other USB devices that could be shared include speakers, flash memories, memory card readers, MP3 players, or even USB toys.
Working with MAC OS and Windows, the station is compatible with USB 1.1 and 2.0, and comes with an Ethernet port. The device also supports a USB hub extension to increase the overall number of available ports. The IOGEAR Wireless 4-Port USB Sharing Station is priced at US$99.95 at IOGEAR's website, while it's already been made available via Amazon at around US$75.