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Anyone fed up with having to plug peripherals into their laptop - or run a desktop PC as a peripheral server on the network - could find a USB network server useful, according to Keyspan.

The company has just announced its USB 2.0 Server, which lets users share many kinds of USB devices - printers, scanners, cameras, storage - over a wired or wireless network. It has one 10/100 Ethernet port and two powered USB 2.0 ports.

The device - which lists for $129, and looks likely to sell for around £75 in the UK - includes print server functionality, with bi-directional comms so users can monitor ink and paper levels, say. It can also be used with a USB 2.0 hard disk as a basic NAS system.

It works with both PCs and Macs, and by connecting USB devices over a LAN, it also avoids the distance limits of USB cabling. The only limitation is that USB audio/video gear is not yet supported, Keyspan claimed.

There are stacks of USB print servers and storage servers around, but only a few others - such as IOgear's multi-function USB server, which was also introduced very recently - can also support multi-function printers, scanners, data-loggers and the like.&reg

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