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Belkin Home Base

Belkin Home Base

Printers, hard drives etc on your WLAN

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Review There is no shortage of wireless routers that will let you hook up a printer and maybe some USB storage too and make them available to anyone on the network. If your router lacks this ability, there are plenty of gadgets that will add it by bridging USB to an Ethernet port.

The downside of either approach will be instantly apparent to anyone whose router and printer and not close to one another. If the gadgets aren't adjacent, you end up with long cables or powerline Ethernet adaptors, all of which defeats the object.

Belkin Home Base

Belkin's Home Base: wireless device sharing over your home network

This is what put us of sharing a printer on the network, even though our router will let us do so. Now, though, we can, thanks to Belkin's Home Base accessory - a wireless printer sharing device.

Home Base is a small box with four USB 2.0 ports round the back, though it can handle up to 15 devices, connected through hubs. It has an Ethernet port if you do want wires, but crucially there's an 2.4GHz 802.11n Wi-Fi adaptor inside that will talk to your router from any point in your premises that's capable of getting a decent signal.

That means it needs to be powered, of course, so the Home Base has its own AC brick and therefore isn't quite as neat a solution as being able to plug a dongle directly into your printer's USB port.

Belkin Home Base

Only four USB ports, but up to 15 devices can be connected through hubs

Home Base comes with software for both Windows and Mac OS X, and the user experience is the same whichever operating system you prefer. Belkin advises you set up the Home Base using a wired connection to the router and then go wireless. That's what we did, but having done so we can't see any reason why you shouldn't initialise the box over the WLAN.

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