- Brand Name: Keyspan
- Model Number: US-4A
- Hardware Platform: PC
- Connectivity Technology: usb
Keyspan US-4A 4-Port USB Server (12 Mbps)
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- USB device server makes USB devices available to multiple computers on a network
- Overcomes the 5-meter USB cable limitation, allowing the host computer and the USB devices to be separated by any distance - 100 feet, 100 miles or more
- Provides four USB 2.0 high-speed ports
- Supports USB printers, scanners, hard drives, keyboards, mice and more
- Works over both Ethernet and Wi-Fi networks, making it easy to print to a USB printer from a Wi-Fi laptop
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From the Manufacturer
Works Over Both Ethernet and Wi-Fi Networks
Supports Multiple Devices
Provides Full-Speed Data Transfer
Free Software Upgrades
What’s in the Box
Top Customer Reviews
I was a little worried when I saw the 'documentation' was smaller than a CD, but everything went off without a hitch:
Step 1: Power up the USB server with no USB device hooked up to it, and connect it to the network via RJ45.
Step 2: Install the software (if WinXP, use the unsigned drivers). Your OS searches the network at this time and finds the USB Server.
Step 3: Hook up your USB devices.
If you have a Multi-Function printer, you NEED this device, because even if you find a compatible print server, it will only let you use the print function. A Printer Server turns your Multi-Function printer into a Uni-Function Printer.
With this device, it will be just as if the printer were directly connected to your PC. In fact, you are not limited to PCs; you can connect ANY USB device to it (camcorder, scanner, webcam, even a mouse or keyboard).
The ONLY advantage that a print server has over this device is that with a server, multiple PCs can control a target device at once (really, that's not quite true, since the requestes are put in a queue).
With the USB server, every PC uses a little administration program. When launched, it opens a window that lists all of the devices that are connected to the USB server. A PC on the network that wants to use a device (i.e. print) needs to first take command of that device. You just select the device by name, and hit the connect button. From that point on, it's as if the printer were plugged directly into your PC. Others trying to use the printer would see that you were subscribed to it; they would have to wait until you release the subscription - which you have to do manually.Read more ›
1. Toms Networking does a comparison between this product and Silex's SLX SX1000U. I would strongly suggest anyone thinking about buying this product to read the article. The article can be found at:
2. Although Silex's product only has one USB port, you *can* connect a USB hub to support up to 15 devices. The KeySpan device supports 4 devices, but you cannot add more devices.
3. I found that the unit would experience problems if I submitted a print job greater than 7 MB through the KeySpan. I reset the printer and nothing got fixed. Only when I power cycled the KeySpan did things work. I am using the latest version, v1.3.1, which also upgrades the KeySpan firmware.
4. Toms Hardware also reports that it would crash with several different devices. I read on other web sites that the Keyspan software causes the blue-screen-of-death (IRQ_LESS_THAN_EQUAL errors), so I tend to believe that the problem is caused more by the Keyspan drivers than the HP ones.
5. In some parts of its web site, KeySpan advertises that this unit supports USB v2.0, but if you read the fine print it's supporting at USB v1.1 speeds.
6. I discussed with KeySpan about connecting external hard drives. This unit is really meant for multi-function printers and cannot support external HD's.
7. I decided to return this product and try out the Silex instead. Although there is a lot of potential for this device, I would not suggest it for enterprise environments. I read the glowing Amazon reviews but would put more skepticism about their comments now that I have tried it for myself.
8. I will update this review later when I have a chance to try the Silex unit.
In that time, I have installed the latest software and updated the firmware. The two really took me about 5 minutes.
The update adds a nice feature for single-PC networks. If a device is labeled a single-user device, then you don't need to take control of it every time you want to use it.
I also found out that it is possible to boot others off the server (actually everyone).
If you go to the Admin tab on the server SW, and edit the server settings (something simple like a password change), it will reboot the hardware (not your PC), which will disconnect all shared devices. This is a rather brute-force approach, but the manual doesn't indicate any other way.
Even after an extra 10 minutes of use, I think this device is the best thing since a USB thumb drive (which you can connect to the server as well).
This thing is just TOO COOL!!!!
- end of gushing -
My setup is:
Wireless network from laptop to Netgear wireless router/ADSL modem
USB server plugs into one of the network ports on the router
USB devices that work fine:
- HP multifunction printer/scanner
- Western Digital 120GB USB hard disk
- Old Palm III cradle, plugged through a Gembird serial-USB adaptor cable
- digital camera USB
It's not perfect and the s/ware is a bit flaky at times, but since downloading the latest s/ware and firmware it's much better than it was initially - now generally pretty stable.
Issues I've had (all these happened more often with the earlier s/ware than they do now):
- occasionally printing or transferring v. large files will crash
- occasionally the laptop won't connect to the USB server on boot up, and the USB server needs to be power cycled to fix. (but then I have to power cycle my router too periodically...)
- scanner works other than the 'scan' button on the scanner itself, which is meant to launch the scan dialog on the PC when pressed. You have to invoke the scan dialog from the laptop.
- It is USB 1.1 so transferring huge files is slow. For video editing I plug the HDD directly into my laptop, but for most other stuff it's perfectly usable across the network.
- USB hubs are still not supported, I think, so you are limited to 4 devices at once.
If you can live with the limitations and occasional glitches, which I certainly can, it's a great device that does exactly what I'd been looking for for ages, which is wireless access to USB devices.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The Keyspan US-4A used to work fine printing to my HP 1210 All in one printer on Win XP and OSX Tiger until I upgraded to Snow Leopard on my Mac. Read morePublished on January 4, 2011 by I Guild
The USB hub is a great, easy to use device, with only one drawback.
The power adapter is for 110-120 volts only. Read more
Please note that this device does NOT work with 10.6.3 or above. Keyspan (TrippLite) has it listed under discontinued products and 10.6.3 broke the 10.5.x driver. Read morePublished on November 1, 2010 by Nicholas Lucia
the site is the worst....
they tried to send me a cheap casino game from 1998
Keyspan (now Trip-lite) does not provide Windows 7 support. If they haven't got software out by now it seems they do not intend to continue support for the product. Read morePublished on September 8, 2010 by M. Chang
I have had a few of these since they were first released. However, Keyspan (now Trip-Lite) seems to have lost interest in continuing support - particularly for the Mac and... Read morePublished on August 30, 2010 by berkinet
This product has produced plenty of hassles for me, but ultimately it (usually) gets the job done.
Suggestions for use with Vista (and even some XP machines): to avoid... Read more
It will not operate in Vista without crashing (my laptop crashes to the BSOD EVERY time I connect to the device). Read morePublished on September 30, 2009 by Ossipeemtnman
The Keyspan US-4A does not work at all with Vista. It does not work well with external hard drives. It is very slow when using with other periphals. The support is terrible. Read morePublished on February 12, 2009 by Lee's Collection