We all have a lack of ports to connect peripherals and therefore we end up buying a hub to be able to connect more peripherals to our PC at the same time. However, everything usb port replicator they keep a dark secret, that very few people know and that must be taken into account when buying one if we do not want to get an unpleasant surprise.
You can find USB port replicators anywhere, and they work very well when we use a laptop with no more than three ports and we need to connect several devices at the same time. For example, a hard drive, a printer, a microphone, an external sound card. The normal thing is to take the first concentrator that we see in the store next to the house.
The limitations of a USB port replicator
The best way to add usb ports if we have a tower PC it is through an expansion card that gives you enough power and adequate bandwidth for each of the ports. On the other hand, if we use a USB port replicator that connects to a port of the same name, then the performance ends up being divided between the different devices. So why isn’t there a problem for many users? Due to the fact that we can connect several peripherals in a chain and the time dedicated to each of them is distributed in a rotating manner.
- If we use a mouse or keyboard, then a USB hub is not going to affect performance at all, since the added latency is marginal.
- On the other hand, if we talk about headphones, a sound card or an external hard drive, then extra latency is added that affects performance by adding additional time.
The problem comes when we have few ports and we cannot use an expansion card to connect more peripherals. That’s when we get our fingers caught and many times we are forced to have to release ports using interfaces such as Bluetooth to release ports on our laptop. The other point is the bandwidth, since the additional ports derive from another port, then the number of bytes per second have to be shared.
What you really have to look at when buying
The USB 2.0 docking stations which can be found at a reduced price use an element called Transaction Translator. It is a temporary memory that accumulates the requests from and to the peripherals. The problem comes with those that are of the Multi-TT type, which allow requests to be made in parallel, which reduces latency, but at USB 1.1 speeds. That is to say, with a bandwidth of 12 Mbps. Which today is very poor, but for many devices it is more than enough.
Our advice? Use such port replicators only if you’re going to use a mouse and keyboard on them, they don’t even require the speed of a first-generation USB port. If you are a musician, you are more interested in latency than bandwidth. So using a hub with Multi-TT capability will be much more beneficial for you.