USB over IP, a good friend indeed

As ThinGuy was filming his USB over IP demo (fantastic stuff) in which he used a AnywhereUSB device from Digi, I was unpacking my Keyspan USB server which I had recently seen in action at a customer site. The value of this type of technology became evident straight away, as it extends over the network the capability of connecting most USB devices without a driver (at the device end, that is).

When does this come in useful? Well, most typically in a VDI world, where your PC is now out of physical reach (forever may I add) and where you are left with the need of connecting USB devices to this non-physical entity of yours.

While my Keyspan server is only USB 1.1 (the USB 2.0 model couldn't not be found in Australia yet and I'm always a bit concerned about purchasing overseas - when things go wrong, you pay the price in shpping costs) I have to say that so far I'm overjoyed by the possibilites, as well as the features/flexibility of the product. Maybe not much of an example, but after installing the device, I was able to share a USB floppy across a Mac PowerBook (over wireless) and a Windows XP PC with no floppy, as well as a USB Drive. I'll keep testing odds and ends...

And it is this feature that is appealing - sharing a single USB server and its ports across a number of users using Sun Rays - very flexible and powerful indeed! Now, if only it supported isochronous devices... (these reserve a defined
amount of bandwidth with guaranteed latency, so you can see where the limitations come from!

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