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Choose a USB hub to connect more peripherals to your computer. The USB standard is the most popular interface used by computer accessories for carrying data and power. With a hub, you can easily expand the number of available USB ports on a laptop with one or two built-in ports or on a desktop PC tower with its USB ports inconveniently placed at the back. Staples® carries a wide selection of such hubs from different brands.
Choose Between Bus-Powered and Self-Powered USB Hubs A hub with multiple USB ports can draw power from the USB port of a computer or from an external power adapter. Bus-powered or passive hubs rely on the same USB connections for data transfer and power. Each USB port on a host computer can only deliver a set amount of electric current. The upstream port on the hub (the one directly connected to the computer) shares this maximum current among its downstream hubs. In most cases, a passive hub can draw enough power to keep USB accessories like keyboards, mice, flash drives, portable hard drives, and Wi-Fi adapters running.
To avoid overloading the hub, get a self-powered model if you plan on connecting more than one power-hungry peripheral to the device. Self-powered hubs have dedicated power adapters and can power more USB ports. Choose one of these if you want a hub with more than four downstream ports. This device can easily power demanding devices like desktop external hard drives.
Features to Consider When Comparing USB Hubs First, choose between USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 hubs. The model to pick depends on the fastest USB port on your computer. There are a lot of reasons to pick a USB 3.0 hub over USB 2.0 models. For example, it delivers faster file transfer speeds and can supply more power per port. You should also get it if you have USB 3.0 hard drives and flash drives. Most people use these hubs for charging their mobile devices. If you want a hub for this purpose, make sure to get a model that supports high-speed charging for smartphones and tablets. Some hubs have dedicated USB ports for this purpose.
The placement of USB ports on a hub is another feature to closely consider. Vertically stacked ports are generally easier to access than horizontal ones. Hubs with such ports take up less desk space even with all their USB ports occupied. Make sure the space between successive ports is wide enough to accommodate USB cables and connectors. If the gaps between the ports are too close, you may have difficulty attaching and removing devices to the hub.
What Is a Dynamic-Powered USB Hub? This is a hub that can serve as a self-powered device and a bus-powered unit. The hybrid hub can switch between the two power modes as needed.
Do You Need LED Indicators on USB Hubs? Yes. Most hubs have indicators lights that come on when connected to powered USB ports on host computers. Some have LED indicator light for each USB port. This makes troubleshooting simpler as you can easily identify the port in question.
Are There USB Hubs With Other Types of Ports? Yes. These hubs are especially useful for increasing port selection on ultrathin laptops with single USB ports. In addition to extra USB ports, they can add card readers, HDMI ports, and Ethernet ports.