You know what an extension cord is but what is a USB extension cable. As you may or may not have noticed most consumer electronics, particularly computers, web cams and printers, connect via a USB port. The day of the PS/2 connector (you know that circular plug with all the prongs?) for your computer mouse and other peripherals is over and USB reigns supreme. One significant drawback, in some situations, is that USB cables are not that long, most are only a couple of feet long. What do you do when you want to extend that length? You are getting the picture, a USB extension cable!
Active versus Passive
USB extension cables come in two basic design types, active and passive. If you shop around online for USB extensions, you will quickly find there is a big price discrepancy and more than a little room for confusion.
What is the difference?
Active USB cable extenders are specially designed to provide consistent data transfer and signal, cheaper passive cables are not. An active cable accomplishes this through a built in signal booster and gold plated connector ends. Cheaper varieties do not have this capability. How do you know the difference? Most passive USB extensions are a lot cheaper than their active counterparts are and they will not be labeled “active”. Do not expect these cables to be labeled passive, though a few might be.
If you need to extend your USB connection for your game console, printer-computer connection or other device, it is nice to know you now have some decent options. Active USB cable extensions come in a variety of sizes, even 32-foot cables are not uncommon! Do not trust your connections to just any cable, when data transfer consistency is important use an active extension cable.
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