I'm surprised you got an 8581. It may be OK, but I'd guess it's old inventory. It's not the latest, but they say it's OK.
You got the VL812 with 8581. I have the 9081. The B2 came out more recently.
If I understand all this, the 8581 was upgraded to the 9081 sometime in August or the 1st part of Sept. I received my 9081 at that time so it's almost 5 months old. (Yours is older.) Sometime after mine, they upgraded to the VL812-B2 which I expect incorporated the firmware updates into the chipset and that essentially started a new generation. If I'm right, they've had a firmware upgrade and a hardware upgrade since the 8581. You may want to contact their tech support and let them convince you.
Reading the reviews, they're very responsive. They certainly have been with me. I also like the fact that they write a lot of articles, and publish many YouTube videos on their products. I'm impressed that they're trying hard to make a name for themselves in this business.
These are the US Amazon descriptions of the 4 and 7 port hubs. Note that one is 908x and the other B2. No 8581s are listed.
Plugable 7 Port Aluminum USB 3.0 Hub (VIA VL812 Chipset with Latest 908x Firmware, and UL Certified 4A Power Supply)
Plugable Aluminum 4-Port USB 3.0 Hub Plus 2A Charging Port with 30W Power Adapter (VIA VL812 Rev B2 or later chipset)
I looked up the one you sent a link on some time back, but couldn't find how to get a translation of the page to understand more of the detail on what they're selling in Japan.. Maybe you can figure it out. If the page says 908x or B2 I'd hold them to giving what you ordered. They should cover postage on any exchange if they didn't send what you'd ordered.
I've written the following the Plugable support and will see what they reply:
I just bought a USB3-HUB7A from Amazon Japan. On your support page http://plugable.com/2013/10/30/plugable-usb-3-0-hub-firmware-upgrades2/comment-p age-1#comment-19221 it says "Units purchased on or before 8/2013 came with the VL812 running firmware 8581." and "Units purchased in or after 9/2013 have firmware version 9081."
Since I bought mine 2 days ago in February, 2014 naturally I would like to have the latest firmware. But my firmware is running 8581.
Did your store at Amazon Japan sell me old stock? Is there a way I can get my firmware upgraded or a version with the latest firmware.
This is the 3rd hub I've had. The Anker I first tried did not work with my MacBook Pro retina 13-inch late 2013. Neither did the Buffalo. This has made me wary about hubs. So far it seems to be working, but of course I'd like to have the latest version.
What I heard back from them is this:
Thanks for getting in contact with us, I'd be more than happy to answer your question regarding our USB3-HUB7A.
Your unit likely came with the VL812 chipset, so having the 8581 firmware is a good thing, as that is the most up-to-date firmware for that chipset.
It should work properly, if you end up running into any explicit problems with the USB3-HUB7A, we'd be more than happy to replace it or provide support. Please do let me know if that happens.
What I replied is this:
Thanks for your email. I have not run into a problem so far. But your site does state that this was the version sold prior to September last year and that we should be reassured that the version sold after September has a newer chipset and/or firmware.
Since I've had so many problems trying to find a hub that works with my new MBP and since your site says that those sold after September are the latest ones, I can't help feeling that I was sold old stock via your Amazon Japan store, which also sells it at a much higher price than Amazon does in the US.
Is that not the case?
I'm now waiting for a further response.
I'd persist. The 8581 has to be older than the 9081 I got in September. I think you'll find the below excerpt of interest. It's dated from the 1st part of October from a knowledgeable source well placed in the industry who shall remain anonymous. Based on this, It would be appropriate to insist on the Rev. B2 chipset as you won't be able to upgrade the 8581 firmware further, and there are some differences/ advantages to the newer chipset. (I'm not clear from this if the 9081 is a Revision B2, or not. If you can get clarification I'd appreciate that.) [Emphasis Added]
Yes, on the latest USB3-HUB7A units, [they're] up to VIA 's next chipset revision (VL812 Rev B2), and it has a new firmware series 90xx. Firmware from the VL812's prior to Rev B2 and after Rev B2 are different and not interchangeable. So unfortunately, no - - it's not possible to update the unit you have to the 9081 version.
The main end-user visible feature of the Rev B2 is reduced 2.4Ghz wireless interference (with Bluetooth or wireless keyboards/mice). It's relatively minor refinements.
To set expectations, I have no basis to think that a newer USB 3.0 hub chipset or firmware will change the situation on a 2012 Macbook Pro that is experiencing problems. Because there so many other Intel Intel HM77 chipset based systems that don't have similar issues, and when the issues happen they happen across hub chipsets -- the evidence is pointing to something specific to the Apple design (perhaps external to the chipset, like the signal re-driver I speculated about).
By the way, this is the USB 3.0 host controller chipset in that system:
It just happened again! Agh! This is what I just wrote Plugable:
I just experienced the same problem I did with the Anker and Buffalo hubs.
Note this does not happen when my two WD My Passport Ultra 1 TB USB 3 drives are inserted directly into the two USB ports.
But what happens with the hubs (it just took longer to happen with the Plugable hub) is that the wi-fi connection inexplicably grinds to a halt.
If I eject the drives and hub then connectivity immediately returns. Then I can connect the hub again and it will work for a while. In this last case, it worked for about 20 hours. But then it happened again and I needed to eject the hub to get it to work again.
Could this be the result of the firmware or chipset? Or do I need to just return it and go hub hunting again? This hub was highly rated by various people. But only the latest chipset/firmware version was.
Any suggestions at this point would be welcome.
I've already expressed my thoughts on the upgrades to the Hub.
Now I'm trying to figure out what would cause the existence of an external USB 3.0 hub to affect your Internet connection. This is beyond my pay grade. Damned if it makes any sense to me.
After you get the upgrade situation resolved to your satisfaction, you may want to visit a Genius Bar and let them run their diagnostics on your system to see if anything show up; and maybe learn what's causing this to occur.
Apple tech support imagines a power drain from the hub affecting the motherboard, including the wi-fi unit. I'm not sure that makes sense. You'd think there would be some port protection to prevent that.
And on THREE different hubs now?
It's only happened once in the last 24+ hours since getting the Plugable. But still.
I hope there is nothing wrong with the MBP itself. It drives me crazy when I buy Apple stuff. ONE HUNDRED PERCENT of the time there is either something wrong initially, or during the first year, or definitely during the AppleCare period. 100% of the time!
Plugable is being very responsible and taking care of this, I'm glad to say. They are going to send me out an updated unit. Here is what they wrote me:
8581 is definitely older firmware (and the previous version of chip). I'm sorry I didn't catch that in the earlier parts of the thread! I wouldn't have expected it, given the timing of when we last stocked Japan.
Yes, no problem - we can get a VL812 Rev B2 + 9081 firmware hub to you. It will be good to confirm if this helps or not with the issue.
Can you confirm what address (in Japan?) you'd like that sent to?
Again, my apologies!
They also sent me some links pointing to what they believe is the technical issue with the MacBook Pro and interference with the 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi band. I happen to have switched to the 5 GHz Wi-Fi band the other day, because I noticed I was getting 50% greater Wi-Fi speed. However, during a restart, the Wi-Fi may have switched to the 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi band. I have both currently operating out of my router.
I should "forget" that network on my MacBook Pro in the meanwhile. And if the new version they send out works well with the 2.4 GHz band, then that will be good to know for travel. At any rate, since it's a brand-new order, it will be nice to have the up-to-date model.
I wouldn't have known any of this if not for your posts, so I appreciate it. It also sounds like Apple has some explaining to do.
They are sending it direct from the U.S. You certainly have to credit their service. And i hope they sort out their stocking issue in Japan. And I hope Apple sorts out why so many hubs have issues. It seems that Plugable is quite aware of the issues with devices and the wi-fi. You can reach me at doug(at)lerner.net.
Plugable sent me a new hub with the latest chipset and v9091 firmware.
I see what is happening. And this must have been what is happening with the other hubs (Anker, Buffalo and the first Plugable I received with the older firmware).
It surely must be an Apple issue.
As Plugable suspected, it is interference with the 2.4 GHz router band. The new Plugable with the 9081 firmware experiences this interference when the MBP is connected to the 2.4 GHz band as well. I can do the following 100% reproducible test:
1. While the hub is connected to my MBP, and my MBP is connected to the router's 5 GHz band, if I attempt switching the wi-fi network on my MBP to my router's 2.4 GHz band it will not connect. I get an error message about not being able to connect to the router. It then switches back to the 5 GHz band network it remembers. My router puts out two networks on both bands, but I hadn't tried using the 5 GHz band until just before the new hub Plugable sent arrived.
2. Continuing the test, I then eject both portable drives which are connected to the hub and then disconnect the hub. I can then switch to the router's 2.4 GHz band with no problem and the Internet works.
Note: When not connected to any hub, and just connected directly to the USB ports, the drives do not cause a problem. So it's a hub/MBP interference problem.
3. If I then reconnect the hub, while my MBP is still connected to the 2.4 GHz band, wi-fi stops almost immediately. I can't connect anywhere. I'm connected to a "dead band."
4. If I then switch my wi-fi settings to the 5 GHz band, wi-fi and Internet connectivity immediately return to normal.
So clearly the hub - all hubs so far: Anker, Buffalo, the first Plugable and the new Plugable - interferes with the 2.4 GHz router band on the MBP. Reportedly this does not happen with PC notebooks, but I am unable to test that.
In my case I am ok for now - at least at home. I can just leave myself connected to the 5 GHz band. In fact, it is faster. If I run speedtest.net just now, on the 2.4 GHz band (no hub connected of course) I am getting down/up speeds of 90 Mbps/75Mbps. On the 5 GHz band, even with the hub connected, I am getting down/up speeds of 142Mbps/221Mbps - much faster.
So for me this is ok right now, at least in my house. I wonder though, is it common for 5 GHz bands to be available at all wi-fi spots? Not that I would carry the hub with me in general, but do most people have a 5 GHz band on their routers?
Anyway, this seems to be the problem. The Plugable hub, and all the others I've tried so far (Anker and Buffalo) interfere with the 2.4 GHz band. However Plugable's works with the 5 GHz band. I believe the first Plugable hub also works with the 5 GHz band and that the failures I was seeing were when switching to the 2.4 Ghz band. The Anker and Buffalo hubs might also have worked with the 5 GHz band, but I didn't know to try.
So that's where we are. I guess I have two hubs now that will consistently work on the wi-fi's 5 GHz band, but neither will work on the 2.4 GHz band. I doubt any will, unless the hub is specially shielded or very far away from the computer maybe.
But I don't know that for sure either, because I don't know at which point in the hub/computer/router configuration the interference is occurring. But I think the problem must be with the MBP's 2.4 GHz connection to the router, since I have other devices which continue to run just fine when connected to the 2.4 GHz band - my iPhone 5, Nexus 7 and iPad 4. So the existence of the hub being turned on and connected is not generally interfering with 2.4 GHz wi-fi in my house.
For that reason, it does seem to be a MBP issue.
This test I tried is 100% reproducible.
I am appreciative of Plugable for working with me to figure this out. They make a nice hub and go well beyond what is expected in support.
Apple, on the other hand, sort of shrugged it off and said they basically don't know what's wrong. Nor could Apple recommend any hubs.
This may be a bit of a side track to the main topic here ... but I have a problem with my Logitech BT mouse - that only occurs when I have my 'Anker 7 port USB 3.0 + 1 port charging hub' attached. I find that the pointer skips around the screen a bit and doesn't always follow my mouse movements.
This mouse uses the MBP in-built BT, but I have the same problem with a Microsoft BT mouse that has a separate BT dongle.
I don't get the problem when I don't have my USB hub plugged in.
As I say, this may not be relevant (and I'll shut up if so!); but it may be a symptom of the same problem related to BT transmission.