We all use these cables, so I thought why not create a straightforward and user-friendly guide on how to extend them. Here we go! A USB extension cable is a device used to expand the range of USB connected peripherals. Standard Universal Serial Bus cables regularly provide fast and secure data between different devices. However, they are usually designed to be short because these types of connections will lose its effectiveness when the distance between the connected devices gets too long. That is typically where USB extension cables come in handy, especially for users who have devices such as PCs, Smart TVs, and gaming consoles located somewhat further away from where they make use of them.
USB extension cables are usually helpful in expanding the reach of the following:
- Peripherals such as a keyboard and mouse
- Modem or wireless device to allow it to receive a stronger signal
- Gaming controllers to enable players to continue playing while still charging the controller
- Storage devices such as flash drives or external hard drives to allow easier connection and removal without discomfort
If the standard Universal Serial Bus cable that you use to connect your device is not long enough, there are several things you can do to help you extend its reach. Below are three ways to do so.
1. Passive USB Extension Cable
The simplest and cost effective solution would be to purchase a standard extension cable. They work just as you would expect them to. This cable normally has both a male and a female end that you can plug into the end of the cable you want to extend, and that's it. When going with this option, however, you need to be careful. USB standards require up to around 16 feet to allow a passive cable to transfer data reliably. Beyond 16 feet, you will probably need a different solution. Products for this option can easily and cheaply be found on Amazon, eBay, and most local computer stores.
2. Active USB Extension Cable
An active USB extension cable typically acts as a 1-port hub. They can buffer the signal that passes through a USB cable to provide a good signal quality. The result is that an active USB extension cable can allow you to connect to further distances than a passive one. However, an active USB extension cable is more expensive when compared to the passive one, especially if you require connecting multiple cables via a daisy chain or have various cables that need an extension. This is typically a good option for extending a single device's connection for up to 30 feet and can even reach up to 100 feet if required.
3. USB over Cat5
Another way to do an extension is to purchase a USB over Cat5 extender. These devices use Cat5e or Cat6 cables that allow users to extend Universal Serial Bus devices to very long distances of up to 200 feet. What makes these tools especially useful is that modern homes nowadays have Cat5e or Cat6 cables that run to almost all the rooms.
There are many varieties of Universal Serial Bus over Cat5 extension cables available in today's markets. The prices do vary a lot. However, there are mainly two types: those who are USB 1.1/2.0 compatible. The USB 1.1 versions are cheaper but provide a slower connection thereby making them a poor option for most devices in use today. The Universal Serial Bus 2.0 version is faster and will work well with most modern USB devices in use today such as external hard drives, cameras, printers, and many others.
Another important thing to take note of when buying a Universal Serial Bus over Cat5 extension cable is the power source. Most of the USB 1.1 versions do not have an external source of energy which is fine since it is frequently used when extending the range of a mouse or keyboard. However, the 2.0 version will typically require an external power source otherwise there would be a loss in voltage which may cause it not to work well with connected devices.