How Long Can A USB C Cable Be – Can You Extend USB-C Cable Length?

How Long Can A USB C Cable Be, Not long ago, you could have several USB cables lying in your drawer for use with different devices. 

However, the world is now universally adopting one cable to be compatible with all your devices – the USB-C cable. 

The cable can conveniently transfer data and power phones, headphones, tablets, laptops, and other modern electronics.

 But have you ever wondered how long can a USB-C cable be? 

This article discusses the maximum USB-C cable length, methods to extend it, and the limitations of using a long cable.

Table of Contents

What the Longest A USB-C Cable Can Be

The rate at which cable transfer data or charge depends on their length. Generally, most USB-C cables are 3 meters long for optimum functionality. 

The 3-meter cable gives you a data transfer speed of 10 Gbps which is necessary for faster data transfer between your devices. 

You could get a cable longer than this, up to 5 meters maximum length, but the extra length lowers transfer speed significantly. 

What Happens If a Cable is Too Long

I’m sure you would want a long USB cable for convenience. Let’s say you are using your phone while connected to the charger and sitting comfortably on your couch.

 While this may be the ideal desire, the general cable length depends on the usage.

 For example, gaming controllers may require a longer cable than the one for sharing data between your phone and laptop.

 But have you ever considered what would happen if the cable is too long?

As mentioned earlier, the longer the cable, the more interference from external signals.

 If you have to buy a long cable, ensure it is USB-IF certified or a cable that follows USB cable guidelines.

 Typically, when you use USB cables longer than 3 meters, you get the following:

  • Low data transfer due to interference 
  • Degraded data quality caused by data loss
  • Slow charging due to the extra internal resistance

USB-C Length Limitations

While a longer cable may be more convenient, it might not be the best for functionality. Here are some major USB cables and their limitations and functionality:

USB 3.1 Gen 2

These are the latest USB cables that feature super speed plus features. They can transfer data at a whopping speed of up to 10 Gbps allowing for faster data transfer. 

Their power output is 100W, meaning they can charge your device faster. 

However, to experience these features, these cables cannot go beyond 1 meter, equivalent to 3.3 feet.

USB 3.0 Gen 1

Unlike the above type, these cables can only have a maximum length of 3.3 meters or 9.8 feet. 

Beyond this length, you get limited functionality, such as power and data deterioration. 

With this type of USB cable, you get super-fast features that allow medium 5 Mbps data transfer speeds. 

However, their charging capacity is the same as Gen 2 cables, allowing up to 100 W power output.

USB 2.0

If data transfer or charging speeds are not your concern, you may use this USB cable. 

The cable can extend to a maximum of 4 meters, equal to about 13 feet.

 With this cable, you get a high-speed feature that allows a low data transfer rate of up to 480 Mbps. 

Its power out is just 15 W, hence classified as a slow charge.

Note that to use any of the above cables, your devices or the charger must be able to handle them.

USB cable types

USB cable types

How to Extend a Cable

Sometimes you may need to connect devices far apart but maintain the power and data speed. In this case, is there a way to extend a USB cable? 

Here are several technologies to help extend USB cables and share data and power without fluctuations that lower speed and quality. 

Here are some of these ways.

Active USB Hubs

Normally, if you are connecting 2 USB cables about 10 feet long, you will need a simple USB hub. 

This device allows a short distance data sharing to happen with minimal interference. 

But if you need to connect several cables without data degradation whosever, you might need an active USB hub

Unlike the simple USB hub, an active USB hub has a power inlet that connects to the socket.

 It uses this power and other components inside it to boost the signal before distributing it to connected USB cables. 

The signal enhancement prevents interference from external signals, ensuring you share data at long distances without degradation in speed or quality. 

Note that this does not mean that simple USB hubs do not use power. Well, they use less power which they draw from the data-sharing device. 

However, they do not perform sophisticated functions like data boosting, which needs a lot of power. 

It explains why powered USB hubs must plug into a power source for reliable functionality.

USB-C hub adapter

USB-C hub adapter

Active USB-C Cables

A hub may not be a neat solution now that you have many ports and cables on either side. You can use active USB-C cables. 

This type of cable is 5 meters and has a gadget with two ports. One for power and the other for connecting USB-C female connector. 

It allows you to connect to power and share data for the inscribed distance without deterioration. 

The good thing is that you can find a cable longer than 5 meters. 

However, this might pose some data degradation problems, and if you need long-distance sharing, consider USB ethernet.

Extending USB-C Cable With Ethernet

Suppose your devices are 50 or more meters apart. In this case, you can use the USB ethernet extender, which allows for long-distance data sharing without degradation in speed and quality. 

Here you have two cable-like devices, and you do not need extra power. 

Each device features a port to plug in an ethernet adapter. On these ports is where you plug your ethernet cable, no matter how long.

 Then connect one end to the sending device and the other to the receiving device and share your data seamlessly.

This device only applies to USB, not USB-C, which might be challenging. 

While you cannot find USB-C to ethernet adapter yet, there is a way to modify the same cable compatibility. 

You just need to use the USB- to-USB-C adapter.  

Note that you will need one with a female jack and the other with a male one to connect to either side of your cable.

USB and USB-C cables

USB and USB-C cables

Conclusion

Now you know the maximum USB-C cable length is 5 meters. However, this can cause deterioration in power and data transfer speed.

 If you need a faster cable, 3 meters is the best for optimum charging and data transfer performance. 

However, if you require long-distance sharing without degradations, consider the above methods.