Do USB Extension Cables Affect Performance? (We Checked)

If you’ve ever plugged a USB device directly into your computer, you know that it works just fine.

However, if you connect the same device through an extension cable and then plug it directly into your PC, it might not work at all — or only poorly.

This is because there are many factors that can affect how well a USB device works when connected through an extension cable. This includes everything from the material used in making the cable to its length and design.

In this blog, we will look at if a USB cable affects performance.

Here’s If USB Extension Cable Affect Performance:

USB extension cables will not affect permance between the two units. However, a 10 feet USB cable might add a voltage drop which can affect the performance of the device connected to the computer. The signal will not suffer a delay though, so image and sound signals should not be affected.

USB cable blue

Do Long USB Cables Have Less Power Output?

 USB cables are designed to transmit data and power smaller devices via the USB.

When you use a longer USB cable you might lose some amps just like you would with a long extension cable for your power tools. However, most devices you connect to your PC or laptop via USB will only need a little power so you should probably insert a 30 feet USB extension cable before it will introduce a noticeable power drop.

Higher-quality USB cables will offer a thicker cobber (or similar) core in the cable which will increase the “gauge” of the cable and make it more capable of carrying over sufficient power.

How Long Should a USB Cable Be Before It Affects the Performance?

 The USB cable is usually the weakest link in the chain. In most cases, it’s not the cable that’s at fault, but rather the connectors on either end – if we’re talking about unstable signals.

However, when we’re talking performance of sound, image, and power, you will not have any trouble using a USB extension cable of 10-20 feet. However, if you start looking into really long USB cables (let’s say 100 feet) you might have a noticeable drop in the power it can supply.

Also, you might introduce a lag (add to the ping time of the internet connection) that may affect gaming scenarios where you want REALLY fast response time. This is important only in computer games of the “first-person” type.

If you’re connecting a USB device to a computer or hub, make sure you have good quality connectors on both ends of the cable.

USB cables are rated based on their current-carrying capacity and how much power they can provide over longer distances.

If you’re inserting a USB power hub they will often have an output port with good power supply – try and see if that will work before you test a shorter USB extension cable.

Do USB Extension Cables Affect the Sound Quality?

 USB cables are digital and the signal is not degraded by distance or by an extension cable. The problem arises when you use a poor quality cable or one that has too many connections, introducing interference and signal degradation.

There is one main reason why this happens:

  • Poor quality cable – Cheaply made cables may not be shielded properly, causing interference from adjacent cables and other electrical devices (such as RF signals from routers etc.).

If you’re using a PC as your source device, there’s also the possibility that your computer is too far away from your speakers or headphones to operate properly.

Read our blog here about can I leave chargers plugged in all the time?

Do USB Extension Cables Affect Gaming Performance?

The first thing that people should know about USB extension cables is that they can slow down transfer rates for any device connected through them.

This means that if you’re transferring files or saving data from one place to another then it might take longer than expected due to the fact that there are more wires involved in the process than normal.

 The long answer is that USB cables have to meet certain specifications in order to be certified as USB cables, and these specs are set by the USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF), a group of companies that includes Apple, Intel, Microsoft, and many other tech companies.

The specifications are strict enough that any cable that meets them will work just fine with your gaming system.

If you’re still worried about lag or other issues caused by extension cables, there’s a simple way to test this yourself.

Just try and see if there is any delay added to the ping time. Normally it will not be a problem but you should never use extension cords (USB, HDMI, etc.) when gaming – unless absolutely necessary.

Do USB Extension Cables Deliver Fewer Volts?

 The short answer is yes. When you plug an extension cable into a USB device, the voltage can change.

If you’re using a computer to charge your phone, then there’s really no need for an extension cable, since the computer can provide enough current to charge your phone quickly anyway.

If you’re trying to charge multiple devices at once and only have one port, then an extension cable might be useful so that you can connect multiple devices at once without needing additional ports on your computer.

The USB specification requires that devices can support up to 500 milliamperes (mA) per circuit (which is more than enough for any modern device), though it doesn’t specify exactly how much current each device should draw from each circuit.

This means that you should be able to safely use shorter cables with less resistance (which will allow more current flow).

However, you will notice a drop in volts if you use an USB cable that’s 30 feet long or longer.

Read our blog here about should you unplug computers when not in use?

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