Keyspan USB Mini-Hub
By Joel Shore
what did you buy this week that plugs into a USB port? Keyboard?
Scanner? Mouse? Camera? Printer? Speakers? Headset? Coffee mug? (Just
kidding on that last one.) Of course by now you’ve run out of USB
ports. Well, Bunky, don’t fret. We’ve found the answer.
The folks at Keyspan have come up with a solution so small, so easy to
use, it’s almost hard to believe. And they’ve done it for mere $49.
Keyspan’s 4-port USB Mini Hub is a mere 1 cm thin—and no bigger than a
credit card—yet it offers all the functionality of a much bigger
desktop USB hub. Though designed for the new generation of superslim
laptops, it’s perfectly happy hiding behind your desktop system. The
darn thing is even certified for Windows XP. (It’ll work just fine on
your Macintosh, too.)
Unlike other "travel" or "pocket" hubs, the Keyspan Mini Hub offers
the functionality of much larger desktop units with:
Supports self- and bus-powered modes
Full speed (12 Mbps) USB data rates
Full USB specification compliance
- Compatible with all USB devices
Available in silver or black, the mini hub includes a built-in USB
cable that is stored within the Mini Hub's case for carefree travel.
No more lost cables—at least for this product!
Set-up in seconds. Nothing could be easier to use. I flipped up the
little cover and unfolded
the connector cord, which is only three inches long. I could have
plugged that cord directly into my PC, but I didn't. That's because I
wanted to connect a printer and CD burner that I had sitting several
feet away. So, I plugged a USB extension cable into my PC, and then
plugged the Keyspan mini-hub into the cable. The great thing about USB is that you can
leave the PC turned on while plugging in devices.
I opted to use the external power adapter (called “self-powered”
mode), but I could have chosen to omit the adapter and use the hub in
“bus-powered” mode, where it draws it’s operating power from the PC.
(For those who care about such things, self-powered mode supplies 500
mA of current to each of the hubs four ports; bus-powering supplies
100 mA. Both modes supply 5 volts DC to each port.)
There’s no software to install. Windows XP popped up a message that a
new USB device had been found. Seconds later, another message informed
me that the device was ready for use. Not a single keystroke or mouse
click was needed. It’s the easiest hardware installation I’ve ever
Next, I plugged my Lexmark inkjet printer and Plextor CD burner into the mini hub and I
was in business. Total time? About a minute.
Keyspan isn’t particularly well known, but if they keep coming up with
clever solutions like this, they could soon be a household name.
Reference Guide recommends the Keyspan 4-port USB Mini Hub.<