USB Version Overview and Extension Guide

USB can be confusing, especially considering not all devices are compatible with all versions of USB. It’s kind of a drag when you start connecting peripherals and realize they won’t talk to each other. The below chart overviews the various versions of USB, including their transfer and charging details. 

USB Version Max Data Transfer Speed Typical Charging Power (one device) Simultaneous Data Path Compatibility Max Cable Length

USB 1.1 Low Speed 1.5 Mbps 5V DC at 500 mA Unidirectional Compatible with Full Speed & Hi-Speed devices
Not compatible with SuperSpeed & SuperSpeed+ devices
5m
(16 feet 5 inches)

USB 1.1 Full Speed 12 Mbps 5V DC at 500 mA Unidirectional Compatible with Low Speed & Hi-Speed devices
Not compatible with SuperSpeed & SuperSpeed+ devices
5m
(16 feet 5 inches)

USB 2.0 Hi-Speed 480 Mbps 5V DC at 500 mA Unidirectional Compatible with Low Speed & Full Speed devices
Not compatible with SuperSpeed & SuperSpeed+ devices
5m
(16 feet 5 inches)

USB 3.0 SuperSpeed 5 Gbps 5V DC at 900 mA Bidirectional Compatible with SuperSpeed+ devices
Not compatible with Low Speed, Full Speed & Hi-Speed devices
3m
(9 feet 10 inches)

USB 3.1 SuperSpeed+ 10 Gbps 5V DC at 1500 mA Bidirectional Compatible with SuperSpeed devices
Not compatible with Low Speed, Full Speed & Hi-Speed devices
3m
(9 feet 10 inches)

One of the most common deployment issues with USB comes from extending signals—USB simply doesn’t travel long distances well. Below are common ways to boost the signal more than the stated maximum cable length.

Extension Device Max Number of Connections Max Extension Length Pros Cons
Hubs Up to five hubs 30m
(98 feet)
Low cost Clunky install; Unreliable over long distances, especially with higher transfer speeds
Repeater Cables Up to five cables 30m
(98 feet)
Low cost Clunky install; Unreliable over long distances, especially with higher transfer speeds
Twisted Pair Extenders One set
(transmitter & receiver)
100m
(330 feet)
Reliable transmission More expensive; does not support USB 3.0 & USB 3.1
Fiber Optic Extenders One set
(transmitter & receiver)
100m
(330 feet)
Reliable transmission More expensive

Download a pdf version here: USB Version Overview and Extension Guide

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