|Name||Network USB Hub: Belkin Home Base|
|At a glance:||Setup seems a bit unreliable,Simple to use when it’s up and running,Very bare in terms of features|
|Summary:||A simple way to share USB drives, but lacks functionality and speed.|
Belkin’s Home Base provides a wireless access point for up to four USB storage devices – flash drives, hard drives, card readers – whatever you connect up. It’s a great way to turn existing USB drives into NAS, but lacks the features and performance you’d find in a dedicated NAS box.
I connected up a 7200RPM Seagate hard drive in an Iomega USB-to-SATA enclosure, with the drive formatted as NFTS. Once detected by Belkin’s ‘Home Base Control Center’ software, it was immediately mapped to a drive letters in Windows – useful indeed. Unplug the drive from the Home Base, and it disappears in Windows. Nice. Nicer still, it works for many printers, too.
While setup was clunky and drive detection was a bit slow, there was still no real technical know-how involved. It really is an out-of-the-box solution.
Being a simple file-sharing device, the Home Base offers no security options. The root of each drive is shared, as if you plugged it directly into your own computer. You can’t assign specific drives to specific users, or even password-protect access. You can password-protect the browser-based configuration interface to prevent changes to the Home Base’s own settings, but that’s all.
Home Base Control Center offers basic backup functionality, to a nominated hard drive connected via USB. For more advanced backup functionality, rely on your operating system or your favourite backup software.
The Home Base works as a DLNA media server, streaming media to your gaming console, Windows 7 PC or DLNA-compatible media player, from either one specific drive or all drives connected to the Home Base.
Read speeds from our 7200RPM test drive were low, averaging 5.44MBytes/sec read and 2.75MBytes/sec write. Still, enough to stream video at 720p, and well worth it for the convenience of wireless USB drives.