Every standard USB cable has a maximum suggested length. Manufacturers run the risk of affecting the cable’s overall performance if they go beyond that limit. So what can you do to increase the length of a USB cable?
Maintaining the Performance of USB Cables
The original purpose of the USB interface was to provide standard connections and connectors for computer devices. The USB cables didn’t need to be especially lengthy because the peripherals were often situated close to the PC. However, the USB standard has developed much beyond its original limitations, and USB cables are widely utilized for connecting devices other than computer peripherals.
Longer USB cords are now required as a result of this. A cable can only be a particular maximum length, depending on the USB generation it supports, otherwise it runs the risk of delivering subpar performance. For instance, a USB 2.0 cable has a maximum length of five meters but a USB 4 cable is only allowed to be as long as 0.8 meters. Fortunately, there are several ways to lengthen a USB connection without reducing signal quality.
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Extendable USB cables
One of the most popular ways to lengthen a USB cord is via cable extenders. They have male and female ports, making it simple to attach your current connection. Passive, active, optical, and USB extenders—these are the four varieties available.
Regular copper wires make up passive USB extenders, which lack any electrical signal-boosting circuitry. As a result, they aren’t particularly helpful in increasing the wire length over the advised maximum. Only short USB cables can be extended with them; take care that the combined length of the cable and extender does not exceed the USB generation’s maximum length.
Active USB extenders, on the other hand, feature electrical circuits that improve the data transmission. As a result, they can considerably lengthen a USB cable overall. However, the USB generation of an active extender determines how long it is. In order to increase their length even more, certain active USB extenders may also be daisy-chained. However, the daisy chain limit varies depending on the USB generation supported by a certain extender.
Unlike passive and active USB extenders, optical extenders employ fiber optic connections and light instead of electricity to transfer data between devices. When you need to increase the length of a USB connection by several meters, optical extenders come in quite useful since light moves data far more quickly than electricity and is less likely to suffer from signal loss. However, optical extenders are regrettably rather pricey.
Extender for USB over Ethernet
You may use Ethernet cables to extend your USB cord since they are excellent for transmitting high-speed data over large distances. To increase the length of the wire by up to 100 meters, you’ll need a USB over Ethernet extension. There are USB over Ethernet extenders with one port and ones with several ports. While single port extenders normally don’t require additional power, a multi-port USB over Ethernet extender does require a power adapter.
Any USB over Ethernet extension consists of two pieces, one with a male USB port and the other with a female port. The USB signal is converted into Ethernet by one component, then back to USB by the other. All that is needed to connect the two components is an Ethernet wire. The Ethernet cable type and extension will affect how quickly data is sent.
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Hubs with USB power
Powered USB hubs may be used to increase the length of your USB connection. Powered hubs increase the data signal, enabling the signal to go farther, similar to active USB extenders. Additionally, to make an even longer connection, you may daisy chain USB hubs. However, the wires used to connect the hub to a computer or to another hub cannot be any longer than their maximum useful length. The USB standard only permits daisy-chaining five USB hubs, which is another limitation.