USB – How to Make USB Extension Cables Using UTP Cable


I know that it's possible to make extension cables for pretty much anything using regular UTP Cable, it's just a matter of matching both ends of the cable and that's it; but by researching a little more into this stuff, I've also learned that some cables are rated to withstand or better transport certain signals, like how much voltage or amps can it carry, or even which frequency ranges it's been made to transport reliably from one end to another, but I'm no expert in electric stuff so I don't know if this matters nor the details for every cable. So the question is, is it possible that I can make a reliable extension for an USB 3.0 cable using regular UTP cable? will I experience some performance issues or something? Thank you.


I am not planning to make extensions of more than 1.5m (~5ft) in length.

Best Answer

Is it possible to make an extension for an USB 3.0 cable using regular UTP cable?

No, because the cables are not compatible:

  • Cat 5 cable contains 4 twisted pairs (8 wires) so it does not contain enough wires.

  • Cat 5 UTP has twisted pairs that are not shielded and only contain 8 wires.

  • Cat 5 STP has twisted pairs the are shielded and only contain 8 wires.

  • USB 3 cable requires 2 SDPS (Shielded Differential Pairs) each of which contain 3 wires.

  • USB 3.0 cables requires 10 wires:

    • Two wires are used for power.

    • A single unshielded twisted pair (UTP) is used for High-Speed and lower data transfer and allows for backward compatibility.

    • Two shielded differential pairs (SDPs) have been added. Each SDP contains three wires, two for signal transmission and one drain wire. The two SDPs are used for transferring SuperSpeed data allowing for simultaneous bi-directional data flow.