Computers come with 1 or 2 Universal Serial Bus (USB) ports for use with your peripheral devices like external hard drives or a smartphone. This provides you with a way to supply power to your different devices, download data, and obtain important updates while working on your computer.
The problem with this method of charging or using peripheral devices from your computer’s USB ports is that in many instances your computer does not supply adequate power through the USB hub in order to power the devices.
The other, more pressing issue of plugging in different devices to your computer’s USB ports is that of availability. If you need a place for your telephone, printer, flash drive, camera, mouse, etc., it won’t take long see how quickly you can run out of places to plug in.
Using an External USB Hub
A solution to your problem may come by way of connecting an external USB hub to your computer for the purpose of connecting your peripheral devices. If you find yourself in a situation where you need to plug in three or more devices at a time (not uncommon when considering the number of devices that require access to your USB ports), purchasing an external USB hub can provide you with the additional outlets needed to meet your computing needs and stay connected.
Should I Use a Powered or an Un-powered USB Hub?
When deciding to purchase an external USB hub as a way to increase the number of ports available for your devices it is important to determine which type is better for you; this comes down to a choice between a powered USB hub and one that plugs into your computer and uses one of your USB hubs as a power source.
Deciding which type of USB hub to choose depends on the type of computer user you are and your demand for power. An unpowered USB hub can be a great choice if you need to have that one or two extra USB slots available for uploading a document onto a flash drive or plugging in your mobile phone that is desperately in need of a charge.
The downside to this, however, is if you do not use your power adapter regularly for your laptop computer, you will notice power being drained from the computer’s battery at a much faster rate when multiple devices are connected. A powered USB hub can be a great choice as it runs on its own independent power source. If you choose to go with a powered USB port be sure to verify that the power being supplied to the additional devices is being supplied by the external USB hub and not by the computer’s USB port.
A Word of Caution
No matter if you choose to purchase a powered or an un-powered USB hub for your computer, there is one word of caution for you to keep in mind. Make sure that the USB hub you purchase is compatible with the version of the USB port installed on your computer. There are three USB versions currently available: 1.0, 1.1, and 2.0. You generally can use either type with any computer; the difference between the three comes down the speed at which data is transferred. The higher the version, the higher the data transfer rate. If you purchase a USB 2.0 hub and plug it into a computer that is USB 1.1, you will not experience the faster 2.0 transfer rates.