Unfortunately, setting up a wireless USB Host/Hub is somewhat more complicated than setting up a wired USB hub. With a traditional wired USB hub, you just plug it in, and XP/Vista automatically installs the drivers. In a matter of moments, you see the familiar message, "your new device is ready to use."
To set up the IOGEAR product, you first install software and reboot your system. Next, you plug in the Host adapter "dongle" and Windows will install drivers for that. Finally, with the Host adapter properly installed, you plug in the Wireless USB hub into a second USB port. At this point in time, both the USB dongle and the Wireless USB hub are connected to your computer’s USB ports. Once connected with a wired connection, additional drivers are installed for the Hub. Finally, you set up the association between the wireless Host and the wireless hub (Figure 6). With that completed, you unplug the USB cable, and the hub and host adapter connect wirelessly.
Perhaps it’s just a pet peeve of mine, but I noted that none of the drivers had passed Windows compatibility certification. During the course of installation, I must have clicked on "continue anyway?" five or six times. Doesn’t anyone certify their drivers?
Figure 6: Association Setup (left), Association Successful (right)
The wireless connection is managed by a third party application named WiCenter (Figure 7) from Stone Street One. The application can manage USB, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connections.
Figure 7: WiCenter Console
Across the bottom of the screen are the device classes that WiCenter can control. The status screen shows the IOGEAR Wireless USB Hub connected with a secure connection. Note that the signal strength is shown as Very Low. When this screen shot was taken, the distance between the Host adapter and the Wireless hub was around three feet. It’s important to note that the IOGEAR Wireless USB hub does not currently support either USB speakers or USB Web cameras, so if you’re thinking of connecting either of these two types of devices, the Wireless USB hub isn’t for you.
Figure 8: WiCenter showing connected USB Devices
In Figure 8, above, WiCenter shows a single attached USB Mass Storage Device. Actually, I had plugged in a multi-slot card reader with both a CD and an SD card inserted. WiCenter only showed a single card, but Windows explorer showed both of the memory cards as mapped drives. (Drives F: and H:)