I need to connect USB devices (Keyboard, Mouse and a flash drive at same time) about 5 meters far from computer case. I can't find a HUB with 5 meter cable.

  • Is it a good idea to use a normal HUB with 5 meter USB extension cable?
  • Do USB devices work over 5 meter length cable and a HUB ?
  • If not what can I do? using an active HUB with external power source?

Assuming you're using USB 2.0 (3.0 is becoming more and more common) the official limit on cable length is 5 meters. Doesn't matter if it's an extension cable, as long as the connections are good. Since you're right at the official limit, you probably want a powered hub.

That's assuming all your devices are up to spec. Low-data devices like your keyboard and mouse are probably OK, but I own an older USB printer and hard disk that just don't work through a hub. I imagine newer devices are better made, but reading the docs and running a few tests might be in order.

Incidentally, if using USB 3.0 is an option, that pretty much eliminates distance issues. In that spec, 5 meters is not a firm limit, just the maximum past which data transfers are not guaranteed to run at the spec's humongous full speed.

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If you use an active USB 2.0 Extension cable I don't see any issues. You can use a Cat5 USB 2.0 Extender as well with a 4 Port Hub on the remote end. I have used USB Extender solutions, USB2EXT-4P for customer installations and they work good.

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Your mileage may vary, USB Extension cables can be very very iffy. If you extend longer than 3 meters you NEED to have a repeater (or your OS may throw "unknown device" errors). You can use a 3 meter extension cable then a 5 meter one with a repeater connected and a device on the other end may connect. But if you put a 5 meter cable with a repeater first, then a 3 meter cable on the end and a device after that, it would not connect (weird, I know).

I have a 5 meter USB 3.0 extension cable (with repeater) and a USB 3.0 (Powered) Hub connected to it.

I could not use it for USB 3.0 Devices when connected to a USB 2.0 Port on the computer. I connected a Keyboard and Mouse to it, and all USB 2.0 devices worked just fine except that the Keyboard and Mouse occasionally misbehaved or in some cases disconnected (to be reconnected shortly after). Misbehavior in the keyboard was that while the keyboard worked, but it's extra (macro) buttons did not. Misbehavior in the mouse only ever happened once to me, but the cursor basically got stuck at one point on the screen and when i moved the mouse it would always revert to this position. This bug only happened for a few seconds though.

I decided since I couldn't connect USB 3.0 devices anyways (I mean I tried connecting a USB 3.0 USB Drive into the hub, it powered on but Windows did not detect any new device connected, I tried this a couple of times, then plugged into a keyboard USB port that's limited to USB 2.0 functionality, and what do you know, worked fine there.) that I would see what happened when I connected to a USB 2.0 port on the computer instead.

On the USB 2.0 port things behave a lot better, sure I don't get USB 3.0 speeds there, the devices rarely/never disconnect anymore, and only the keyboard misbehaves from time to time, but since the keyboard is actually usable as a generic keyboard at these times anyways which is it's main function (losing the macro keys isn't that bad) I'm ok with this.

But as you can see, my USB 3.0, 5 meter extension cable with a repeater with a USB 3.0 hub connected to it was quite messy and the setup is highly unstable. Would you have better or worse results with a USB 2.0 extension and USB 2.0 Hub? I have no idea, but considering a USB 3.0 extension cable with a 3.0 hub could only operate effectively as a 2.0 device, I imagine the same with a 2.0 cable and 2.0 hub might only be able to operate as a 1.X device (which is fine for only I/O devices like a mouse and keyboard, but think about it, you don't have a USB 1.X port on your computer so you can't force the device to use an older USB port for more stability like I am doing). Then again, it might behave exactly the same or even better than my setup. Since I haven't tried it all I can do is guess.

So as I said before, can you do this? Yes. But your mileage may vary wildly. There are however USB extension cables that may provide you with higher levels of stability (such as the corning optical USB extension cables)

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