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What makes a good and reliable USB Hub?


It could be just my bad luck, but it seems like whenever I have used USB hubs they are completely useless.

For example, my new laptop only has 2 usb ports (oops should have checked that before buying), but I have a minimum of 3-4 USB devices I like to use at once.

I bought a ~£5 USB hub (4 ports) and it fails with more than two devices plugged in. Even lately just a keyboard+mouse combo fails.

So, my question is, is this to be expected? Is it my laptop? Or just a cheap hub? i.e. If I go out and buy another one, should I expect a different result? Does anyone have any recommendations for a good hub?

Thanks in advance, Simon

EDIT: I just found these threads, which makes me think getting a powered hub might solve my woes? External drives on USB hub http://superuser.com/questions/260646/what-makes-a-good-and-reliable-usb-hub

UPDATE: I've got a powered USB hub and it was the best decision ever. solved all of my problems.

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I have 2, 4 port mini hubs connected to my laptop (6 devices), neither are powered, no problems ever. I hope you solve your problem. –  Moab Jun 2 '11 at 14:28
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marked as duplicate by sblair, random Jun 2 '11 at 14:49

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2 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Yes, a powered hub is what you want.

The USB bus should only supply 100mA per port. Connecting a port to a non-powered hub would mean that the 100mA supplied by the computer has to be split between all the devices plugged into the hub.

A USB controller or hub is required to power one unit load (100 mA, a low power load). It can optionally power up to 5 unit loads (500 mA, a high power load)

A non-powered hub is only really any use when all (or most) of the devices plugged into it are self-powered (have their own power supply).

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The problem there is about bandwidth, not power. It cannot hurt to try using three low power things (usb flash drives) and seeing if it fails. As a rule though, it can never hurt to have a powered hub.

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thanks mate. would vote your answer up but dont have the rep yet –  captainclam Jun 2 '11 at 14:03
No problem, don't worry about it. –  soandos Jun 2 '11 at 14:15
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