MAKE:TNT Tools 'n' Tips

Keyspan USB Server

by Fred Sandsmark

As seen in MAKE 04 Toolbox


Tool photo.

I’m in a mixed marriage — my wife has a PC and I have a Mac. We don’t have a lot of desk space, so we use a Keyspan USB Server to share USB devices. This tiny (5 inch by 3 inch by 1 inch), silent device plugs into our network with an RJ45 connector at 100 megabits per second and accepts to up to four USB devices. A simple software application lets us connect our computers to one or more peripherals over the network. It works flawlessly with an Epson flatbed scanner, a card reader, Jump drives, and a USB-powered Zip drive. We could also use it for printers and larger disk drives, but because the USB Server only lets one computer use a peripheral at a time — and because it uses the slower USB 1.1 standard — we stick with a dedicated print server and a network storage device for those circumstances. Still, the USB Server keeps us from buying two of everything and saves us the hassle of unplugging and plugging when we want to move a device from one machine to another.