Cutting the Cords: New Technology for the Wireless Home Office

Coming soon to a home office near you is wireless USB, a short-range, high-bandwidth wireless protocol making its way into a bevy of systems and peripherals. The protocol opens the door to a number of cool uses, including wirelessly connecting a display to a PC or wirelessly connecting a digital camera to an external hard drive for file storage. Here's a look at some of the latest gear designed to help cut the cords.

For customers that want to tap into wireless USB before the technology is widely proliferated in devices, Belkin International offers its Wireless USB Hub. The product features a four-port unit to connect USB devices such as printers, scanners, hard drives and digital cameras, as well as an adapter that plugs directly into the client to enable it to speak wirelessly to the connected USB devices. Belkin's Wireless USB Hub has achieved "Certified Wireless USB" status from the USB Implementers Forum and is priced at $199.

D-Link's Wireless USB Starter Kit includes a four-port hub and a wireless client-side adapter to enable users to set up wireless connectivity between their computers and USB peripherals. The kit provides a range of up to 30 feet and operates on the 3.1 GHz to 4.8 GHz wireless frequency range supported by the protocol. It is priced at $219.99.

Fujitsu's Lifebook A6210 notebook PC is available with optional wireless USB support. The system features a 15.4-inch widescreen display, a spill-resistant keyboard, 3 GBytes of memory and a 250-GByte shock-mounted hard drive. It is priced starting at $1,149.

Imation's Apollo Pro WX is an external hard drive that boasts wireless USB capabilities. Compatible with PC or Mac computers, the 3.5-inch drive features built-in sleep mode and a one-touch backup synch button. It is scheduled for availability this quarter in capacities ranging from 250 Gbytes to 1.5 Terabytes.

The Lenovo ThinkPad T61 laptop is based on Intel's Core 2 Duo processor. It features a 15.4-inch TFT display. A model with 2 Gbytes of memory, a 160 Gbyte hard drive and optional wireless USB support is priced at approximately $1,195.

For customers looking to wirelessly connect a high-resolution display, Iogear might have just the thing. Its Wireless USB to VGA Adapter Kit provides driver software, a USB adapter and a VGA adapter to enable users to display PC content on a remote monitor. It is priced at $229.95.

Kensington's Wireless USB Docking Station enables users to wirelessly connect to printers, keyboards, external hard drives and other devices via its 5 USB ports. It also includes an audio out port for external speakers and provides wireless connectivity at up to a 15-foot range. It is priced at $229.99.