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Making The USB Universal

Xircom Corp. has started shipping PortStation, a standalone device that simplifies connecting notebook PCs to modems, networks, video systems, phones, and other communications systems.

PortStation connects to a notebook or PC by its universal serial bus port, and it can include a variety of USB, serial, and parallel ports, as well as a number of ports for different remote access connections. The ports can connect notebooks to an Ethernet network, a 56-Kbps modem line, an ISDN line, a DSL connection, and a cable modem, as well as to printers, mice, keyboards, and digital cameras. Because the device is modular, users will be able to integrate a variety of network, device, and remote access ports.

PortStation is available now, though modem, DSL, cable modem, and other modules won't ship until later this year. Prices start at $139.

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