04 March 2022

Laptops, desktops and notebooks have built-in USB ports. Thanks to them we can connect to the computer, among others, smartphone, external drive or necessary accessories such as a mouse and keyboard. However, the number of USB ports in each device is limited and very often insufficient for comfortable use. Then it is worth reaching for a solution, which is a USB hub.

USB Hub – what is it?

USB hub is a small USB distributor. After connecting it to your computer you can immediately use additional USB inputs. Thanks to that you can easily and comfortably connect other accessories and gadgets to your device. On the market you will find many different types of USB splitters. They differ in size, parameters, as well as the number of slots. Check what else you should know about them.

USB Hub – passive or active?

USB splitter works immediately after connecting to a computer or laptop and does not require any additional installation or configuration. There are two basic types of USB hubs available on the market, these are:

    • Passive USB hub. This type of splitter takes power directly from the USB port. You can plug in basic devices such as a keyboard or external memory. It is very important that additional gadgets cannot consume more than 500 mA of current. Otherwise, it will be necessary to disconnect one of the accessories. An unquestionable advantage of this type of USB splitters is their low price and high availability.
    • Active USB hub. It allows to connect additional accessories with higher current consumption. Unlike its predecessor, the active USB hub has an additional DC power connector. It is used to connect an external power source, which will meet the increased energy needs of the connected devices. Therefore, its design is slightly larger, but it opens up more possibilities for the user.

What else to look for when choosing a USB hub?

In order to ensure high comfort of using additional computer accessories, it is worth taking a close look at the parameters of a given USB hub. Its type is important - passive or active. Additionally the standard of the USB connector is very important. The speed of data transmission depends on it. Splitters with USB type A and USB type C connectors are available with standards USB 2.0, USB 3.2 Gen 1 (formerly USB 3.0), USB 3.2 Gen 2 (formerly USB 3.1), as well as USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 (formerly USB 3.2). You should choose a connector that matches the built-in USB ports of your laptop or desktop computer. Don't forget about the number of additional ports either. This is one of the most important parameters for all types of hubs. Depending on the brand and manufacturer the most common splitters have from 3 to 8 slots. It is also worth knowing that there is a possibility to connect splitters together, which gives the possibility to plug in really many additional gadgets.

Multifunctional USB hub

Apart from traditional USB splitters we can also meet with multifunctional solutions. Such splitters apart from standard USB ports are equipped among others with video sockets (HDMI, DisplayPort, VGA), memory card readers and RJ45 network connectors. All this gives the user even more possibilities in case of lack of some ports in the computer.

USB Hub 3.0 a 2.0

The most important difference between a USB 2.0 port and a USB 3.0 (and newer) port is the data transfer speed. Both inputs visually look very similar, but their distinction can significantly affect the comfort and convenience of using connected devices. When buying a USB hub, it is worth choosing one that will work stably and smoothly with your computer.

USB 2.0 is an older standard with a data writing speed of up to 30MB per second. The 3.0 version, on the other hand, reaches speeds of up to 625 Mb per second. So when choosing a USB hub, it's worth checking which port your computer is equipped with. However, you need to know that if you have a USB 2.0 port, you can safely reach for the USB 3.0 hub. These connectors are compatible with previous USB standards. What's more, modern solutions ensure that if you connect it to an older port, the speed of data transfer will be adjusted to the capabilities of the device. In case you want to replace your computer with a new one, a USB 3.0 hub will definitely fit it.

When is it worth investing in a USB splitter?

A USB hub is an extremely useful gadget that has a wide range of applications. Splitters are a great solution for everyone, who at least once decided that his PC, laptop or tablet has too few USB inputs. With notebooks or small personal computers it also happens that the USB sockets are mounted very close to each other, which significantly impedes the free use. Then a USB splitter comes to rescue. An additional advantage of USB hubs is that they are not too expensive, especially if you decide to buy a passive solution. What's more, the accessories do not have the slightest impact on the quality and speed of the USB port they are plugged into. So you can use it without any worries!