Cabled and wireless Wi-Fi external drives
Wireless external hard disk drives (HDDs) and SSDs
Note that wireless HDD and SSD external drives are available. They use a wireless connection to a single computer or to a network and, as with other wireless devices, can also use an Ethernet cable connection. Here is a 1TB (1000GB) example found in July 2015 priced at £115.00. 500GB and 2TB models were available.
Seagate Wireless Plus 1TB Portable Mobile Device Storage with built-in WiFi –
Seagate Wireless Plus Mobile Storage –
Here is an example of a wireless 128GB SSD drive priced at £100 in July 2015. The capacity is eight times less than the example of external wireless HDD for around the same price.
Toshiba Canvio AeroMobile 128GB Wireless USB 3.0 External Solid State Drive –
Cabled USB 2.0/3.0 external HDDs and SSDs
Installing external drives that don’t provide a wireless adapter, most of which use the USB 2.0 or 3.0 connection interface, merely involves inserting the USB cable into the PC and into the external drive – if it is self-powered via the USB cable. If the external drive came with a AC power supply unit, it has to be used. FireWire 800 and eSATA and powered eSATAp are other connection interfaces that can be used that require the PC and the drive itself to have the relevant ports and cables.
There is a new USB standard called Type-C that has a symmetrical connector that can be plugged in any way round or at either end, unlike previous standards that have one connector the plugs into a computers USB ports and a different connector that plugs into the other device. It will soon be the universal type in use. Read about it here:
A portable USB external drive – one specifically designed to be used away from mains power – should be able to work when attached to a USB 3.0 cable attached to a laptop computer. However, if you are using a USB 2.0 cable and it can’t provide enough power, buy a USB Y cable that provides two USB “A” male connectors that power the drive and a single USB “mini-B” male connector that is used for data transfers. The “mini-B” male connector connects to the drive itself and the two USB “A” male connectors connect to the laptop. Visit the following page for more information:
A USB 2.0 device can draw up to 500mA of power, which is insufficient to power some external drives, which means having to use a Y cable. The USB 3.0 standard increased that limit to 900mA, which should be enough to power most external drives.
There has been a recent update to the USB specification called the Battery Charging Specification, which allows 1.5A to be drawn from a single USB port, released in March 2007 and updated in 15 Apr 2009. This is intended for USB chargers, but some laptop computers provide a Charging Downstream Port, which supports it. Read the following article on USB charging for more information.
How USB charging works, or how to avoid blowing up your smartphone –
Summary: “In short, no: You can plug any USB device into any USB cable and into any USB port, and nothing will blow up — and in fact, using a more powerful charger should speed up battery charging.” –
Almost all wired external hard disk drives and external SSD drives now use only the USB 2.0 and SuperSpeed USB 3.0 connection interfaces because USB 3.0 is superior to the FireWire 800 and eSATA interfaces that are still available on some but not all new external drives. All external drives use the SATA data-transfer standard that uses the USB 2.0, USB 3.0, FireWire 800 or eSATA connection interfaces that all require their own cables. The external SSD drives that are available mostly use USB 3.0 but also Intel’s Thunderbolt connection interface.
USB 3.0 – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USB_3.0
eSATA is the external version of SATA connection interface that requires its own cable, which does not carry power. Internal hard disk drives all use SATA power and data cables but an internal SATA cable cannot be used with an external SATA drive. eSATAp is powered eSATA, which provides power over its cable instead of using a power supply unit. The USB standard has always been able to provide power through its cable, but if the device requires more power that the USB cable can provide, the device has to use its own power supply unit.