USB Question

Does anyone have experience of using USB extenders using CAT5?

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Donald says:

    While I haven’t extended CAT5 with USB extenders, I would just caution against extending USB cables over 15 feet or so, in case you had also intended to do that.

  2. Donald: That is sort of the point. How to extend beyond 15’… way beyond.

  3. ustalumnus says:

    USB is not made for that kind of distance. What exactly are you trying to do?

  4. TS says:

    Yes. I use them in classrooms for interactive white boards. The boards have USB, which I convert to CAT-5 that is pulled through the walls and ceiling to get to the teacher’s computer, where it is converted back to USB. There is about 50′ of CAT-5 between the boards and computers.

    I installed 10 of them in January and haven’t had a problem. I wouldn’t hesitate to use them at home if the need ever came up.

    My electrical contractor suggested the extenders to me initially.

  5. Luke D. says:

    I don’t think you would have a problem with speed, etc… …But have you considered using Apple’s Airport Express as a wireless network extender? (It has a built in USB port that could then be attached to a USB hub. It works well with most wireless base stations (avoid Linksys) This would allow you to have less wires and more freedom, but the trade in cost effectiveness might not be worth it to you.

  6. I am trying to figure out how far away I can get a webcam to work.

  7. L says:

    USB-Cat5 extenders may not be great for a webcam because there may be too much signal loss between the connectors. Or it may work just fine, depending on the amount of data going over the cables.

    It really depends on whether you have the really long cat5 cable or not. It may be better to just go with a wireless webcam:

  8. Henryk says:

    You can always use powered USB hub at the end of the 15m cable, then another 15m, etc. Powered USB hubs can play a role of “repeaters”.


  9. Ed Casey says:


    In the vision I think you’re trying to accomplish, all you will need is power for a wifi-cam (assuming you have the wifi IP web cam – and I’d recommend a PTZ one so you can move it remotely). They are cheap these days, and since wifi has a much greater distance limitation than usb, especially in the great outdoors, you should do well. Basically, the wifi IP cam is the source and you can even extend it farther if you have an intermediate power source half way where you can install a wifi repeater (such as an Airport Express or like model). Theoretically, you could over alot of your property since the wifi is omni directional and there’s not alot of RF interference presumably. More than one ip wifi cam can run off the repeater, in say opposite directions.

    Just as an aside, you can connect and stream audio over a device like an Airport Express which might be adventageous if say you wanted to pipe some music out onto the property.

    Sounds like a fun extension of the z-cam system you have in place.

  10. Chris C says:

    I’ve used the VGA over Cat5 extenders from this company. They worked well. Check the retailer links on the page below for better pricing.

    If you are looking to go farther, there are probably higher end units out there.

  11. I shared this with Fr. Z earlier and still have to chat with him about it later. Hopefully I’ll have time.

    I managed to get a number of usb extenders and I purchased a second powered usb hub. I joined 3 – 10′ sections and added a usb powered hub and camera it worked perfectly. Next, I added 2 – 10′ sections from the powered hub and added another powered hub and another 10′ section and a second camera and all worked fine.

  12. Sara says:

    At work we use USB extenders to run mouse and keyboard controls for 18 PCs through several rooms at an average distance of 80 feet…have had them in three years and no problems so far. Our video is run differently. You will need a pair–one for each end.

  13. Kevin says:

    If you need to extend the range, Father, I’d consider going wireless, since the signal degradation for USB would be great; it really depends on the type of device, but 5 meters is the maximum for USB 2.0 (USB 3.0 is on the way, but not before this fall). You could, however, invest in powered USB hubs and set them up every 5 meters, but the cost and probability that something could go wrong, as well as the ganglia of wires, makes a wireless transmitter or receiver far more cost effective, more aesthetic, and more reliable.

    (Besides advanced degrees in classical languages, I also have a mess of computer certifications — best of the old and the new).

  14. LIke some others have said, use the USB extender with a hub. At my office we have a couple people who have office printers in less then reasonable areas in their personal office, so some of them have 15 and 20 foot USB cables. They do make long cables, that might be an option too. The thing you have to remember with USB is always the signal degredation, which is greater because of the medium. Cat 5 (or Cat 6 if you want a few bucks extra), can go several hundred feet

    I know you are a priest, and even though you didnt take a Vow of poverty, you might as well have right? Anyhow, they do make CAT 5 cameras too. I honestly think that is your best bet.

    The USB to cat5 will do what you want, and if you already have the parts, I would suggest that. However, you are talking 150 bucks , you could get a long patch and a decent Cat5 camera for around the same cost

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