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Resource Center » What is a USB Hub and How Does it Work?

A brief look at the functions and uses of a USB hub.

Most modern computer peripherals are connected to computers using Universal Serial Bus (USB) cables. As a result of this, newer desktop computers and laptops have more USB ports than older computers. However, even most newer computers only have approximately four USB ports, and that number is usually inadequate for a user with several peripherals. Desktop computer users may experience more of a hassle when accessing their USB ports because they are usually located at the back of the machine. Side access is usually provided for laptops, which makes them easier to reach, but the number of ports on laptops is often far too limited.

A USB hub is essentially a USB port multiplier; once it's plugged in to a USB port, it can provide over one hundred additional USB ports per computer! Bus-powered and self-powered are the two types of USB hubs. A bus-powered USB hub obtains its power only from the connected computer, it supports fewer peripherals, and it does not have enough power for some USB devices. A self-powered hub has an external power supply, it can support a greater number of peripherals, and it can usually provide full power to any device connected to it.

If you have an older computer, then it is necessary to look for hubs that are adaptable to USB 1.1 and USB 2.0 sizes. The older computers used the USB 1.0 size. It is advantageous to have a hub that can connect this older style port if you want to use newer devices. Regardless of the age of the computer, it is necessary to make sure the chosen USB hub is appropriate for it.  

Card readers, keyboards, mice, digital cameras, MP3 players, external hard drives, printers, scanners, and fax machines are a few devices that connect to computers with USB cables. With so many choices, it is easy to see how extra USB ports could be useful on a daily basis. Someone who uses a laptop as a primary computer and as a travel computer would find the USB hub especially useful!

A desktop computer user would benefit from using a USB hub to connect and disconnect peripheral devices as well as to set up additional devices in more convenient locations. For units with a hard drive inside a desk or on the floor, the USB hub could bring the ports to desk level and make it easier for the cables to reach a USB port.

Article By Bubba

Bubba is the Quality Logo Products mascot. He may have started out as "just a stress ball," but he's come a long way since the company's launch in 2003. Bubba has been immortalized in numerous vector artwork designs for internal and external promotions, and you can see him change outfits on the Quality Logo Products homepage whenever a holiday rolls around. Oh, and he thinks pants are for the birds. You can connect with Bubba on Google+.

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