NetStation

Imagine you have a crack team of salespeople, all on the road selling their hearts out. At the Monday morning meeting everybody sits in the boardroom behind their PowerBooks, strategizing, touching each other’s bases and running things up each other’s flagpoles. But wait, with all this networking, where is your network? Unless you have a higgledy-piggledy mess of spaghetti connecting each Mac to the network, you probably have nothing at all. Now Xircom has a solution designed specifically for the boardroom: the NetStation. At first glance, the NetStation is just a regular hub – niftily designed but otherwise normal. However, the connections are spring-loaded cables that can be grabbed and plugged into your machine. Cool. The NetStation can be installed in the middle of a boardroom table, with discreet power and network connection coming from a single wire. It can sit there like a silver turtle, neat and tidy when it not being used. Then, at the drop of a hat, it springs into life as a four- or eight-port hub. This is extremely convenient and impressively implemented. If the laptops are Macs it’s a simple matter to make a pre-set configuration to take advantage of any network goodies, such as printing or Internet access. Even if there are PC notebooks, they can still be plugged in without too much hassle.

OUR VERDICT

f you have an impressive boardroom table, the NetStation will only add to the kudos. It’s as functional as it’s beautiful, especially if you compare it with the alternative – a mini-hub with miles of cables littering the office. Of course, the price reflects its high-flying profile, but you don’t want to look like a cheapskate in the boardroom, do you?

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