USB extenders allow peripherals to be placed in any location that is convenient for the user by connecting them to the main computer with the help of cable extensions. At present, the maximum distance between the host device and the peripherals has been taken up to 150 meters. Cat5 cables are usually the cables of choice for this distance. There are two parts to Cat5 cables: the transmitter and the receiver. The receiver and transmitter are connected by the USB extension cable and both ends are connected to the host device and to the peripheral. Now, before we discuss the applications for USB extenders, let’s delve a bit deeper into the background of USB, so that we can understand its standard specifications.
Understanding the USB, and Extensions
Universal Serial Bus, or USB, was designed to provide a simple and cost-effective way to connect various peripherals or devices like printers, a mouse, keyboards, scanners, projectors, etc., to our computers. According to the standards of specification, a USB should be able to transfer and support real-time voice, video, audio, and data and transfer it at a maximum rate of 480 Mb/s.
There are three categories of USBs available on the market today: low, full speed, and high speed. Among these, what is usually preferred to use for data transfer is the high speed USB, also known as USB 2.0. While keyboards and virtual reality devices can use a low speed USB, full speed USB should be used for transferring phone, audio, and compressed video applications up to a speed of 10 Mb/s. The most common limitations with USBs are: bandwidth, compatibility, and cable length. This is where USB extensions play an important role, and the quality of the extension is judged on the basis of the speed of data transmission, compatibility, and flexibility of length.
Popular USB Extensions and their Applications
Now that we understand USBs and extensions, let’s take a closer look at their many applications:
Applications according to category. Three specific kinds of extensions should be mentioned at this point – The Cat5 USB Extender Booster, fiber optic, and wireless USB Extender. What differentiates them from each other is the medium of communication and the extension distance. Wireless USB Extenders are used to connect devices that are compatible to wireless connections, but they offer a moderately secure connection. For a more secure connection, you can opt for either a Cat5 USB Extender Booster or a fiber optic extender—both are wired options that provide more security.
Connecting devices. USB extenders can be used to connect security cameras, barcode scanners, projectors, keyboards, printers, scanners, or any other devices that users may wish to connect while attending a video conference or working together in a meeting space.
Applications in integrated environment. Applications of USB extenders in large integrated spaces are unlimited. You can connect the transmitter and receiver to the extension cable and then transfer real time AV and data to the other end of the room. This flexibility completely eliminates the need to shift the center of a presentation because of connection availability.
USB extensions in training and education. Extensions to the USB can be extremely beneficial in attaining several objectives in training, educational, and professional environments in schools or in higher education environments where lectures, meetings, or conferences require connectivity between multiple peripheral devices and in a variety of spaces. They provide flexibility for both teachers, presenters, and students to connect their devices via a secure, wired connection.
USB extensions for remote monitoring. In financial/public institutions, USB extensions can be used for remote video monitoring, by keeping the host device in a secure location and the peripheral devices at desired positions throughout the room or building.
What makes the USB a great device is the ease of connectivity it offers. USB extenders build upon the feature of USB devices, cutting down their limitations, and improving their usability to a great extent.
Have you had to opportunity to use USB extenders in your integration projects? How have they provided you with the flexibility you needed? We would love to hear about your experience and other applications where you have found them helpful.