What’s a USB cable used for?

There are many different types of cable, including passive and active cables, and cables with different shielding, internal wire twisting quality, generational differences and foil wrapping, including in USB, all of which will impact on the capabilities and the cost of the cable that is chosen. 

The majority of USB cables are passive, and these are the cable types that most people are probably familiar with, so how is an active USB cable different? USB cables come with a boosted signal that assists with the maintenance of data integrity when carried over long distances. 

Passive USB cables just carry data through them and have no interaction with it other than that. A wire and some protective coating is all that is needed to create a passive USB cable. 

Active USB extension cables are quite different, coming with small electronic circuits at either one or both ends that enable the data intensity to be boosted, helping to ward off signal degradation that is caused by attenuation. This can be an issue with longer passive cables, which is the reason why active USB cables are seen as the best choice for cable connections that are particularly lengthy. 

The uses of active USB cables

Active USB cables will not be necessary for many people, and can also be a lot more costly to buy than passive USB cables because of their active processing chips and extra shielding. 

However those who are looking for distance or want to make absolutely certain that the connection will be of the best possible quality will find these active USB extension cables to be by far the best option that is available to them. 

Active USB extension cables can be very important for users of devices such as extra high quality monitors or displays or with the likes of virtual reality headsets. It is pointless to pay out lots of money for a high-end display only to make use of it with a cable of insufficient quality, thus resulting in a lower quality image. 

How long is long?

16 feet can be comfortably reached by a passive USB cable at 2.0 speeds, though 3.0 and 3.1 specifications suggest no more than nine feet should be used. Signal degradation could begin over that limit even when using cables of a higher quality when operating at more than that when using greater speeds. 

Active USB cables however can actually stretch to a lot more than that. Active USB cables that are 2.0 and even 3.0 can actually reach up to as much as 33 feet.

Active USB cables are also useful when users require something that has faster speeds and when dealing with 4K videos of duration longer than a minute, though these cables – which are known as active USB-C cables – have a maximum reach of around ten feet. 

For most users, passive USB cables remain the best choice when a short cable is adequate for the task, but for those who really need a longer distance to be covered active USB cables represent a handy and useful option. 

Follow us on Social Media

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *