Docking stations (also known as port replicators or docks) enable laptops and other electronic devices to connect to a range of peripheral devices such as mice, keyboards and monitors. Docks are commonly used to enable a laptop to be used as a desktop replacement. The laptop can be docked when in the office allowing the user to benefit from the desktop’s dedicated keyboard, mouse and bigger screen.
There are four main types of docking stations. Port replicators act as a bunch of extension cables by combining a number of different ports in one handy box. You plug all your PC peripherals into the port replicator which then connects to your laptop via a single cable rather than a messy tangle of wires. A breakout dock not only replicates existing computer ports but also offers additional ports for greater connectivity. Converter docks are usually USB powered hubs with a range of built in converters to provide extra connections the computer doesn’t already possess. Finally, computer stands are also sometimes called docking stations although they don’t provide any connectivity and are used as an accessory to provide support, improve ergonomics or enable cooling.
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