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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 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.

  • 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

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).


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.

  • 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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