USB 3.0 Hard Drives Can Cause Wi-Fi Interference

This is a discussion on USB 3.0 Hard Drives Can Cause Wi-Fi Interference within the MacBook Pro forums, part of the Macbook Forum category; Bad Wi-Fi? Check your USB 3.0 peripherals Annoyed with bad Wi-Fi and Bluetooth performance on your Retina MacBook Pro? That fancy new USB 3.0 hard ...

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    USB 3.0 Hard Drives Can Cause Wi-Fi Interference

    Bad Wi-Fi? Check your USB 3.0 peripherals



    Annoyed with bad Wi-Fi and Bluetooth performance on your Retina MacBook Pro? That fancy new USB 3.0 hard drive you connected may be the problem.

    The issue is that USB 3.0 hard drives can emit radio frequencies that interfere with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth transmissions on the 2.4 GHz band, especially when placed near the antennas in your laptop. You can minimize the problem by keeping USB 3.0 hard drives away from the screen hinges on your MacBook Pro or MacBook Air, and don't set the drives behind the screen, either.

    USB 3.0 connectors and cables can radiate interference in the 2.4 GHz spectrum that causes Wi-Fi and Bluetooth signals to intermittently drop out when they're near the antennas. For the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air, those antennas happen to be near the screen hinges along the back of the computer.

    The interference, or broadband noise, emitted by USB 3.0 connectors and cables affects the signal to noise ratio around the 2.4 GHz range, and as Intel's engineers stated, "This may result in a drop in throughput on the wireless link."

    The end result is that Wi-Fi network connections may slow down or drop off, and Bluetooth keyboards and mice may seem sluggish or unresponsive.

    Along with keeping your USB 3.0 hard drives and other peripherals away from your computer's Wi-Fi and Bluetooth antennas, you can minimize radio interference by using well shielded USB 3.0 cables and by avoiding products that don't have properly shielded USB connectors -- which may take some research to see if there are any complaints about the USB 3.0-compatible devices you're considering buying.

    Intel says,

    "It is critical that the receptacle connector shield be connected to a metal chassis or notebook enclosure through grounding tabs or screws. The receptacle connector should have a back-shield to ensure that the receptacle connector is fully enclosed. The USB 3.0 receptacle should also make good contact to the PCB ground by providing sufficient number of ground tabs to ensure a low impedance path to PCB ground. The USB 3.0 receptacle connector should have a robust mating interface to the shield of the USB 3.0 plug when it is inserted. Providing a grounding spring/tab on the top side of the receptacle connector, in addition to the grounding springs on the sides, is recommended."

    In other words, if the connector looks cheap it probably is, and you can expect Wi-Fi and Bluetooth interference.

    Apple includes USB 3.0 ports on the MacBook Pro, Retina Display MacBook Pro, iMac and Mac mini, so wireless connectivity interference is a possibility with nearly all of the company's computer lineup. The Mac Pro is still the lone holdout without USB 3.0 ports.

    11-22-12

    www.macobserver.com

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    Kanex deploys new USB 3.0 hub, USB 3.0 Gigabit Ethernet



    Connectivity solution manufacturer Kanex, today announced two new USB 3.0 solutions. A new four-Port USB 3.0 Hub and a USB 3.0 Gigabit Adapter were both announced, and are listed as having both OS X and Windows compatibility.

    The Kanex 4-Port USB 3.0 Hub easily extends an existing USB 3.0-equipped machine's connectivity to include four additional SuperSpeed USB 3 ports. With SuperSpeed transfer rates up to 5 Gbps, users can connect USB 3.0 external hard drives, digital cameras, MP3 players and more while getting up to 10 times faster transfer speeds than USB 2. For fast charging, the USB hub includes a 2.1-amps power port so users can charge devices such as the iPad, smart phones, cameras and other mobile devices when the host computer is off.

    The Kanex USB 3.0 Gigabit Adapter adds a Gigabit Ethernet port to your MacBook Air, MacBook Pro with Retina Display or any other USB 3.0 enabled computer. The small adapter connects to a USB 3.0 port on a computer and provides a standard RJ-45 port for connection to the Internet or local area network for sharing and accessing files at data transfer rates of up to 1 Gbps. The USB 3.0 Gigabit adapter is also backwards compatible with USB 2 and USB 1.1 (with an associated reduction in network transfer speeds) and supports Wake-on-LAN functionality.

    The 4-Port USB 3.0 Hub and the USB 3.0 Gigabit Adapter are available for $59 and $49 MSRP respectively, through online retailers and the Kanex website.


    11-27-12

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