How Cables and Hubs Have Changed for USB 3.0

By · Thursday, August 30th, 2012

How Cables & Hubs Have Changed for USB 3.0The USB 3.0 is a high-speed transfer technology that answers to the demand for higher transfer speeds required by the greater bandwidth demand from certain devices.  Also known as SuperSpeed, it offers major improvements such as higher transfer rates (up to 4.8Gbps), increased maximum bus power, new power management features, full-duplex data transfers, support for new transfer types, backward USB 2.0 compatibility and new connectors and cables.

USB 3.0 has some differences beyond its increased speed. There have also been changes to the USB cables and hubs. Although USB 2.0 is the industry standard for data transfer, USB 3.0 is roughly 10 times faster than the USB 2.0. In many cases, USB 3.0 devices can offer three-fold to ten-fold increases in performance with. Essentially, it enhances the interaction between the device and the computer.

USB 3.0 Cables

The cables and hubs for USB 3.0 differ from the cables and hubs of its predecessor. Since it facilitates faster transfer rates, there are double the amount of wires within the cable (the USB 2.0 cables currently have 4, whereas the USB 3.0 have 8). Additionally, USB 3.0 cables have different connectors which are typically blue on the inside. They could be used with USB 2.0 devices and ports (although the transfer rate will fall back to the USB 2.0 transfer rate).

In terms of length, the maximum cable length of USB 3.0 is 3 meters, two meters short of the USB 2.0’s maximum of 5 meters. However, a total of six cables can be strung together using five hubs if you require a longer cable.  Additionally, the usage of signal extenders which result in a 20-meter USB 3.0 extension system can power a remote device with 150mA power.

USB 3.0 Hubs

In addition to the amount of wires within the cable, the SuperSpeed has double the amount of hubs: one hub acts as a regular high-speed hub and the other is the SuperSpeed hub. This may cause a significant price difference in between the USB 2.0 and the USB 3.0 until the USB hub silicon is made into an integrated SuperSpeed USB plus hi-speed USB part.

For those looking for higher data transfer rates and overall enhanced interaction between your device and your computer, the USB 3.0 is a major enhancement that will undoubtedly turn into the new standard of the Universal Serial Bus world.

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