GuidesWikiExplained: How Do USB Hubs Work?

Explained: How Do USB Hubs Work?

USB hubs expand the number of available USB ports on a device by connecting multiple peripherals through one hub.

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Despite all the ease, some PC users still require an additional USB port for the devices they want to connect to the PC. The devices may be more than the ports already provided on your laptop or tower. This is when you can use USB hubs, which increases the number of USB ports on your laptop/PC. It will identify all the devices connected to it, allowing you to control them as you like. So, knowing how USB hubs work is essential to reap their maximum benefits.

Key Takeaways

  • USB hubs are useful when your PC does not have enough ports for devices you need to plug in.
  • Powered USB hubs require a separate power outlet, while unpowered hubs draw power from the computer.
  • Note the type of USB ports and the temperature of the USB hub, and do not overburden a hub.

There are two kinds of hubs: one that powers itself when you connect it to your PC, while the other needs a proper power outlet[1]. Alternatively, read our guide to learn how to add more USB ports to your PC.

AM437x USB HUB Design Block Diagram
AM437x USB HUB Design Block Diagram ( Image Credits – Texas Instruments)

Powered Hubs 

These take their power from the assigned source, such as a power outlet. Hence, you will need a separate power source for this hub type[2]. It helps provide devices like printers, scanners, and others of higher voltage with the required power to operate at full capacity.

Unpowered Hubs

Unpowered hubs draw limited power from the computer, dividing it among connected peripherals. This can lead to underpowered devices, which affects their overall performance, especially those requiring higher voltage[3].

While suitable for basic functionality, they are more portable and pocket-friendly than powered hubs. Additionally, you won’t have to go through the hassle of finding a separate power outlet to power them.

How Can A USB Hub Help You?

A USB hub port is more than just a hub for plugging in your devices. The hub serves several purposes, such as it; 

  • Tidies up your workspace and make it more presentable.
  • Quickly lets you connect your peripherals with the PC, thus saving time.
  • Gives you a portable gaming set-up if you prefer laptop gaming.
  • Allows you to quickly transfer files between multiple devices by plugging in all your devices in one go. 

Things To Look Out For When Using A USB Hub

Now that you have learned how USB hubs work, check out what you should look for when buying one. I found these helpful in making the best use of my USB hub.

The Voltage Of The Devices Plugged Into The Hub

Always note the voltage requirements of the devices you are about to plug into your USB hub. Unpowered USB hubs are only made for some devices and are good with basic peripherals like a mouse, keyboard, and USB flash drive.

It is essential to have a powered hub if you want to plug in high-voltage devices like printers, scanners, external hard drives, webcams, and others[4]

The USB Version In The Hub

Always check the USB port you use to insert your device. There are usually two kinds of ports, i.e., USB 2 and USB 3. Both differ in data transfer speed. I found that plugging a device into the USB 3 port results in significantly faster file transfers than using a USB 2 port. In addition, modern devices come with a USB C port, which offers an even higher data transfer speed[5].

Tip: Use a USB 3 port for devices that require higher data transfer speed and a USB 2 port for basic peripherals like a mouse and keyboard.

Heating Issues

Remember that using powered hubs and plugging in high-voltage devices will cause your hub to heat up. This is because your hub is drawing much power and processing all the tasks simultaneously. To keep things cool, I recommend keeping your hub in a place with access to cooler air to prevent overheating.

The Speed Of The Computer USB Port

Like the USB hub port, computer ports may also differ in data transfer speeds. Always ensure you plug your USB hub into the USB 3 port of the computer for efficient working. It’s crucial because using a USB 2 port will limit data transfer speed, even if your devices are plugged into the USB 3 ports on the hub.

Daisy Chaining USB Hubs

If one USB hub is insufficient, you can resort to Daisy Chaining USB hubs, which means connecting one hub to another. This enables the expansion of available ports for additional devices.

WARNING: A single hub has limitations on power handling. Connecting too many devices to one hub can lead to power overloading issues, potentially causing damage to the USB hub.

In my experience, Daisy Chaining USB hubs were ineffective. It prevented my devices from functioning to their maximum potential since the power division was scattered between too many devices. However, using one USB hub has come in handy in many situations, such as when I wanted to connect multiple external devices to my laptop for work.

Related Helpful Resources By Tech4Gamers:


  1. Zach Cabading (August 12, 2019). What Can You Do with a USB Port Hub?. Retrieved from

  2. 5 Benefits of Using a Powered USB Hub You Need To Know. Retrieved from


  4. Brief Understanding of USB Hubs. Retrieved from

  5. Darek Fanton(September 13th, 2023). USB Type-C and USB 3.1, USB 3.2, USB4 and USB4 V2 Explained. Retrieved from

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do I Connect My USB Hub To PC?

Connect your type B connector to the USB hub and type A USB to a USB 3 port on your laptop or PC tower. Your USB hub will be connected to your computer.

How Many Ports Can Possibly Be In A USB Hub?

You can find a hub with more than 100 USB ports. Always buy a hub with as many ports as your devices.

What If I Use A High-Voltage Device On An Unpowered Hub?

Usage of high voltage devices on unpowered hubs will result in more power being taken up from the computer, this will cause your PC to crawl.

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