Today almost every technological device works or is related to USB connections, and when we talk about a home computer, surely many of you have thought to buy or already have a USB hub, an element that is capable of greatly expanding the connectivity of our team, especially if you have a laptop. In this article, we want to tell you, in general terms, what types of USB hubs there are and why you should not buy one of poor quality.
The amount of USB hubs on the market is very high, and we have models from 4–5 Dollars to 100 Dollars. The reasons for this large price difference are many: from the quality of the materials to the USB controller they use, through the number of connections and if they have additional voltage, in addition to other more specific features.
USB hub performance
We will leave aside features such as the number of USB ports they provide or the quality of materials, two points on which the price of the product will obviously depend but that do not affect what we want to explain today. Let’s talk about performance now.
As with SSDs, the controller installed in the hub has a lot to do with the performance that the device provides. It will depend on the controller that the device becomes saturated if we connect several devices at the same time to it, especially those that require voltage or if they are external pen drives / hard drives that consume transfer bandwidth. This is an important point to consider depending on the use that we are going to give the device.
Surely you are clear that in this respect there are two types of USB hubs: those that have external power and those that do not. Those who do not have a power connector use the voltage provided by the USB port to which we connect, that is, 5 volts, and they will be forced to distribute this voltage among all the devices that we connect simultaneously, reaching the point that, Depending on their consumption, they will reduce their performance and may even stop working on many occasions.
For this reason USB hubs that have external power will always work better when we intend to connect several devices simultaneously, since they will be able to provide those 5V to each of the connected devices individually, and even more in some cases (There are those that have ports with specific additional voltage to charge the battery of mobile phones and tablets). They also have the advantage that we will not need the equipment to be turned on if we want to use them for this purpose.
Quality is directly related to durability
When we talk about quality, most people think that it is only about the aesthetics of the materials used in its construction, but generally, this also extends to the internal components. As with PC components, better quality internal components will have a longer life expectancy, will heatless and work better.
Finally, we will also have to take into account what we are going to use the device for there are many that have additional functionalities. As we have said before, there are USB hubs that have specific additional voltage ports to charge more quickly the battery of smartphones and tablets, with “smart” ports capable of detecting what is connected and acting accordingly, but also they must be, For example, they have a display that shows the voltage and current intensity.
Depending on our needs we must choose one or another USB hub, but what is clear is that we should not throw for the cheapest and we must choose this component studying its characteristics, just as we do when we choose, for example, a motherboard or a Graphic card.