VIA Labs launches PortSense: AI-ready features for enhanced USB hub management

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VIA Labs PortSense

At Computex 2024 in Taipei, Taiwan, VIA Labs announced PortSense, a suite of manageability and intelligent connectivity features for USB Hubs that sets a new standard for docking station functionality in business and professional environments.

PortSense is an exclusive VIA Labs hardware and software solution embedded in the latest revisions of VIA Labs hub products, and it enables supported products to retrieve USB descriptor information from connected devices, even without a host system. USB descriptors contain vital details about the connected USB devices, such as the device class and capabilities, the product name and manufacturer information, serial number if present, and much more.

Typically, a host system uses this information to identify, configure, and interact with connected devices. However, with PortSense, a managed docking station can collect usage data, perform tasks like pre-configuration and device inventory, and assist in implementing corporate policies.

PortSense is available in VIA Labs VL817 USB 5Gbps Hub and VL822 USB 10Gbps Hub. The VL832 USB4 Endpoint Device has an integrated USB 10Gbps hub and supports PortSense.

While PortSense can function in autonomous mode, its true potential is unlocked when integrated into a connected platform where AI could be applied for analytics and policy control. Hubs with PortSense can communicate with an external controller using a standard I²C interface to share collected USB descriptor information and offer a range of manageability controls, such as enabling or disabling ports, changing connection speeds, resetting devices, and toggling USB battery charging.

These controls can be applied on a per-port basis, including the upstream port, providing granular control over each connection. PortSense can be used to collect detailed user activity and enable analysis of usage patterns over time, making it perfect for hot-desking setups or as part of a comprehensive office management solution.

With PortSense, VIA Labs is enhancing the modern workspace with more intelligent and connected solutions. The advanced capabilities of PortSense extend beyond basic data collection and control, providing valuable insights that help businesses manage their USB peripherals more effectively.

For instance, IT administrators can use PortSense to maintain an inventory of connected devices, ensuring that only authorized devices are in use. In addition, the AI-Ready features of PortSense support enforcing security policies, such as maintaining an allowlist or blocklist of devices or limiting the use of specific USB device classes in sensitive areas.

By acting as one layer of a comprehensive security strategy, PortSense helps reduce the risk of data breaches and unauthorized data transfers. This approach enhances operational efficiency and security, helping companies maintain a reliable and secure technology infrastructure. VIA Labs has recently released a white paper with more technical details about PortSense, which can be found here:

VIA Labs PortSense: An exclusive suite of manageability and intelligent connectivity features for USB Hubs

VIA Labs PortSense: An exclusive suite of manageability and intelligent connectivity features for USB Hubs