How to extend a USB Signal transmission distance

With limitations on USB usability at distances ranging from 3 to 5 metres, extending your transmission signal may seem difficult.

USB or Universal Serial Bus, is an industry standard for consumer's on transmitting connectivity both power and data signals between PC's, laptops, several peripheral and storage devices.

Extending a USB signal can be tricky when transmission distances, with USB 2.0 is limited to 5 metres and USB 3.0/3.1 are limited to 3 to 4 metres. So how do you extend the transmission distance of a USB signal?

Understanding the difference between passive and active cables when transmitting will affect your signal. Two or more passive USB cables together will not work. The signal will not have enough charge, generated by the host, to be able to be carried sufficiently accross. Active USB extender cables, also known as repeater cables, will regenerate a USB signal before it makes the distance. The use of a high grade USB cable will, also, better your signal performance.

The solution:

One option is to use a USB HUB which effectively amplify's the signal when connecting multiple USB cables together. This will only prove effective when transmission distance reaches a max of 30 metres as up to 5 HUB's may be used effectively in any one installation.

Another option is to connect your USB cable to a USB Extender Kit, usually featuring Transmitter and Receiver devices, to transmit signals over distances of up to 100 metres via standard Cat5/6/7 Ethernet cables.

Find out more about the latest USB version 3.1

CIE's HowToAV team have also put together a training videocast on the latest USB version 3.1. CLICK HERE to watch the new videocast now.


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