Docking Stations and Port Replicators
If you need to connect your laptop or notebook to computer peripherals and devices, consider using docking stations and port replicators. With a docking station, you can essentially turn your laptop into a home computer. As soon as you plug your notebook or laptop into the docking station, you'll instantly connect with all of your pre-attached devices, including your speakers, printer, keyboard, and more.
How Docking Stations Work
Docking stations are all about convenience. If you connected your notebook or laptop to multiple devices every time you came home or arrived at your office, you'd continuously deal with bundles of wires and adapters. These accessories reduce everything to a single connection. Some docking stations also include a network interface card, which allows you to connect to a local area network.
What's a Port Replicator?
A port replicator is a type of docking station. Generally speaking, port replicators work with specific laptops models, and they're not standardized or universal. Each docking station has slightly different ports and connections, so you're likely looking for a particular functionality, such as USB 3.0, Thunderbolt, HDMI, VGA, DVI, and many others. Some models connect seamlessly to your device, and they're easily portable. Others are larger and more suitable to keep where you do most of your work on your notebook or laptop.
Using Docking Stations
Using Thunderbolt 3 docks, you can tether up to six Thunderbolt 3 devices with a single cable. This is useful if you want to connect a laptop, multiple monitors, and an extended storage device using a single dock. As long as you have USB-C docking stations, you can use Thunderbolt 3 cables to tether devices together. But while USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 cables use identical ports, using Thunderbolt 3 in a USB-C port won't give you the same level of functionality as a dedicated Thunderbolt 3 port. Using notebook tethering accessories is a smart way to add tons of features to your device.