Tablet USB port power capacity


Nov 12, 2013
Hi all,

This is a general question that will help me greatly in selecting (if at all) a tablet, or sticking with PC's. I work in places where Wifi signals are very weak. With PC laptops, I invariably need one of those external USB High Power Wifi Adapters, such as this one below, purely for illustration:

I went to a store to look at some Win8 tablets, and the rep told me he has doubts whether some of them could handle such a device in terms of power output of their USB port.

Now, if I were to know that none of them can handle an external USB wifi antenna like that, I would forgo the whole exercise and stick to ultrabooks until they do, because otherwise I shall have to use 3G internet all the time with them, and I don't care to do that for the span of an entire work day, every day (bandwidth and cellular radiation health issues bother me about it).

If anyone at all can enlighten me on this, I shall be very grateful. Either having tried such a contraption herself or himself, or with hints on how can I go about inquiring as to the mA power needed and supplied so I can make sure in advance the tablet I choose can work with such a USB device. (The rep told me he was sure, for example, that all tablets that only have a mini USB port won't support it, even through a miniUSB to regular USB adapter).

Could it be that all tablet manufacturers generally imagine that tablet users always stay on a short, max 20ft leash from the nearest router?

many thanks..


Oct 7, 2008
The wiki article I linked also mentioned another type of high-powered variant host that could deliver up to 900mA to while using data. I wonder if this is where is he is trying to steer you. You linked device would work. Its performance could be limited by the 150mA current draw and may never achieve full speed based on the informative article you linked to.