June 12, 2015

Maximum Length for USB Cable

How long can a USB cable be?

According to USB-IF compliance specifications, each type of USB cable length is limited as shown in Table below. In the meantime, applications such as Machine Vision, Pro AV, Medical Imaging, etc. constantly need cables that can go beyond USB-IF standard ranges. As a leading USB cable solution developer, Newnex manufactures custom passive USB cable assemblies that can go longer than the USB-IF standard length limits while maintaining an excellent signal integrity and power delivery performance.

Cable Type USB Passive Cable Length Limit
(USB-IF Standard)
USB Passive Cable Length Limit
(Newnex Custom Solutions)*
USB 2.0 5 m (16.4 ft) 10 m (32.8 ft)
USB 3.0/3.1 Gen 1 2 m (6.6 ft) 5 m (16.4 ft)
USB 3.1 Gen 2 1 m (3.3 ft) 1 m (3.3 ft)

*Note: Newnex custom USB cables are not guaranteed for working with all long range applications. Their performance may vary from case to case.

Breaking the Length Barrier

In response to the growing need for longer USB cables, Newnex Technology Corp. has led innovative efforts to increase USB 3.0 long-distance connectivity.


FireNEX-uHUB: It is possible to extend the USB connection range with self-powered hubs. The USB cable on either host side or device side of the hub cannot exceed the limits of its standard maximum lengths that are 10m for USB 2.0 and 5m for USB 3.0/3.1. Note, you can only daisy chain maximum 5 hubs in one host-to-device connection. Click to Learn More >>

Active (Repeater) Extension Cables

FireNEX-uLINK: For applications requiring longer connections, Newnex developed the world's first USB 3.0 active repeater, the FireNEX-uLINK. By restoring attenuated signals that have travelled along cables, this repeater can extend USB 3.0 connections up to 16 meters - 16x the 1-meter length limit. Click to Learn More >>

Optical Fiber Extender

FireNEX-80G: is the world’s first USB 3.1 Gen 2 extender that is capable of repeating USB 3.1 SuperSpeed 10 Gbps signal for up to 300 meters and USB 3.1 Gen 1 5 Gbps signal for up to 500 meters over a fiber optic cable. Click to Learn More >>

FireNEX-5000H: Newnex also brought to the world the first USB 3.0 optic fiber extender - FireNEX-5000H. Leveraging the light weight and EMI free advantages of fiber cables, the FireNEX-5000H enables full SuperSpeed data transfer rates at over 300 meters. Click to Learn More >>

An Example Case for USB Extension

USB 3.0 technology has grown popular in major industries such as Machine Vision. An example of a Machine Vision application is when cameras are employed for motion capture. For instance, several of our customers from the golf industry utilized USB 3.0 compatible machine vision cameras equipped with USB 3.0 Micro B connectors to study golf swings by placing cameras around an individual swinging a golf club. Considering an average 0.7 meter arm length along with the fact that the average driver length is 45 inches (~1.14 meters), in order to safely record the individual without limiting his golf swing, cameras should be placed at minimum 2 meters away.

As seen in the figure above, if cameras are placed behind and at the side of the player, the host computer is at least 1.57 meters away from either camera when situated as close as possible while maintaining a 2 meter distance from the player. In addition to these conditions, cameras and computers are usually located at least 1 meter off the ground. At minimum, this creates a cable length of 3.57 meters between computers and cameras without the hazard of suspended cables. Although USB-IF compliance specification requires 1 meter as maximum length for cables with Micro B connectors, cable lengths longer than 1 meter are necessary to ensure safe testing for this particular application. Despite the fact that USB 3.0 provides the sufficient bandwidth and power to aid in this application as well as many other industry applications, longer connections are necessary.

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