An Australian network engineer has designed and built a serial port extension for Apple handhelds, including the iPad, “that is set to spell the death of laptops in datacentres,” according to “ZDNet Australia (,339028227,339306909,00.htm?feed=rss).

Designer and network engineer Chris Pollock, who will sell the devices for about US$50 through his site, IoNetworks, built the device after becoming frustrated at having to cart a bulky laptop into a datacenter in order to access serial ports on networking equipment, the article adds.

“For the last six years, I’ve been able to use SSH [Secure Shell] from my phone and so the idea of carrying a laptop into the datacentre has become less and less necessary,” Pollock told “ZDNet Australia.” “But we are carrying around a few kilos of laptop just to use the USB or serial converter to log into the consoles of routers and switches. I’m using Terminal and SSH on my phone already. The only thing that is stopping me ditching my laptop altogether is the serial port.”