Skype and missing the bus (USB, that is)

My Polish CCIM skyper called yesterday to test his new webcam. Here’s a big shout-out to him! We rotated cameras. He showed his Christmas tree. I showed him a sunny but cold Chicago afternoon. I have to try this from home to see how well it works through our NATting firewall and DSL.

Just before he called, I did some recabling on my desktop and moved the USB headset from the front of the computer to the back. Everything seemed to work OK, but when he called, I got a popup from Windows saying something like “one of the devices on USB controller XXX is requesting more bandwidth then available.” Further, it said “click here for more information.” I clicked there and got a list of USB controllers, what was connected to each, and the amount of bandwidth each had reserved. Way cool.

This seems to be a common problem for people with USB cameras. Cisco has an page explaining how to troubleshoot the situation.

It turns out that there are two PCI-based USB controllers in the Compaq. One is for the two USB ports on the front on the machine. The other is for the five on the back. I had problems when I had plugged in the webcam, headset, printer, monitor and palm cradle into the same controller. (The monitor has it’s own USB hub.)

The Windows device manager shows three USB universal controllers and one USB2 universal controller and four USB hubs. I’m not yet sure how these map to anything.