Connection issues and Powered USB Hubs

Almost all gadgets that are connectable to a computer today seem to use a USB port.   Early computers featuring USB normally had only one or two ports located inconveniently at the back of the operating system.  Luckily most newer systems do feature several built-in USB ports,  and in many cases now place two or more of these ports in the front of the system.  However even with all the technology of today additional ports are often needed and having them conveniently accessible makes all the difference particularly when using equipment that is being plugged in and unplugged regularly such as cameras and calibration or profiling instruments.  The USB hub does just that however there are some things that users want to be aware of when trying to use X-Rite products with a USB hub especially since not all USB ports or Hubs are created equally.

A USB hub is a small, light unit with multiple ports for plugging in USB devices.  It is commonly connected to a USB port located on the back of a desktop computer by using an extension cable.   Once the hub is plugged in, you can set it wherever it is easily accessible to you there by avoiding the hassle of accessing the rear of the system when you have to connect or unconnect your X-Rite USB powered device.   A USB hub is also great for laptops with only one or two ports and one hub can easily remedy the issue of not having a place to connect these USB devices.  Some of these hubs can even support up to 127 devices making them very attractive to users!

A self-powered USB hub can be used to connect digital cameras, card readers, keyboards, mice, MP3 players, memory sticks and many other handheld USB devices. For more robust components such as external drives, printers, scanners or fax machines, an AC-powered USB hub is a better choice. Some of the AC-powered hubs come with an AC-adapter, while others have the capability, but require the separate purchase of an adapter.

Another feature to look for is 1.1 or 2.0 compliance which refers to the two versions of USB technology and the speed at which they can operate.   USB 1.1 is capable of data transfer speeds up to 12 megabits per second (mbps), while USB 2.0 can transfer data at 480 mbps, 40x faster. Initial USB devices were engineered to use USB 1.1, while later devices took advantage of the newer 2.0 compliancy.  You will definitely want to make sure that the transfer speed is taken into consideration when trying to use your X-Rite instrument.

That said, USB 2.0 is used as synonymous with high-speed. However, because the USB 2.0 specification, which introduced high-speed, incorporates and supersedes the USB 1.1 specification, any compliant full-speed or low-speed device is still a USB 2.0 device. Thus, not all USB 2.0 hubs operate at high-speed.  Luckily for most users USB 2.0 is usually backwards compatible.

If trying to use a USB hub whether it be 2.0 or 1.1 a good rule of thumb is if connected to the operating system and not losing connectivity you are fine.  If you are having issues with connectivity it might be best to see if the problem is with the hub.  Try moving the device to one of the USB ports on the back or your system.  If you are getting better connectivity on the other port the issue is most likely with the hub and not your X-Rite profiling solution.

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