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USB Cables, Hubs, and Adapters

If you are connecting a device to your computer, chances are you are using a USB cable to do it. Universal Serial Bus, or USB, cables are industry standard connectors used for a wide range of devices and peripherals. There are accessories for these widely used cables, including hubs and adapters.

What is a USB hub?

A USB hub gives you more usable USB slots by expanding a single port into many. The device consists of a USB cable connected to a hub with additional ports, usually four or more. A USB hub is similar to an electrical power strip with one plug or connector powering several open ports.

How does a USB hub work?

If you do not have enough USB ports on your desktop or laptop to connect all of your devices, a USB hub is an inexpensive solution for expanding your available ports. These hubs are plug and play with no software installation or extra configuration required and easy to use. Simply plug the USB connector cable into an available port, and then plug devices into the slots on the hub. You can even connect peripherals that use a USB adapter if your computer does not have enough additional port types available.

Are there different types of USB hubs?

There are a few different types of hubs available. These include the following:

  • Unpowered: This type of USB hub draws its power supply from the computer.
  • Powered: Includes its own transformer to supply connected devices.
  • USB 2.0: A hub capable of supporting USB 2.0 connections that may be either powered or non-powered.
  • USB 3.0: Capable of supporting USB 3.0 connections. It can be either powered or non-powered.

In addition to these different types, USB hubs come in many different styles and sizes. Standard USB hubs have four additional ports, but you can also find two-port hubs as well as those with 28 ports or more.

What should you consider when selecting a USB hub?

Choosing the right hub for your computer depends on the number of devices you need to connect and the types. If you have a lot of self-powered equipment such as scanners, printers, and speaker systems, an unpowered hub is a good, energy efficient choice. However, if you need to plug in devices that draw power, such as mice, cameras, and phone charging cords, you will want a powered hub to avoid overloading your computer’s power supply.

Of course, you will need a hub with enough ports to connect all of your devices, and you may want to have a few extra open ports so you can easily connect and disconnect additional USB items like thumb drives. Finally, you can decide whether to use a USB 2.0 or USB 3.0 hub. A 3.0 hub has high speeds, power availability, and good energy management. However, if you only need to connect low-speed devices that do not require a lot of draw, a 2.0 hub can work well.

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