Docking stations are fascinating. They are tiny devices with no apparent power of their own and yet without them, our workstations would be incomplete.

Laptops and desktops are not interchangeable for a number of workflows. But to have both, and be able to use both would be helpful.

This is where your dock comes in. You can dock your nifty or hefty portable laptop at your desk and pick up where you left off by connecting it to your external monitor and other peripherals.

So what makes for an ideal docking station?

Ports. Ports. Ports. And more ports. Your ideal docking station is full of a variety of ports and it can power your devices by itself. What are these ports and what will you connect them to?

USB A Port:

Let’s face it, the industry is simply not done with this port. It is almost what you’d call a legacy port but there is no getting rid of it. If you want to connect something as simple as a fancy, custom keyboard, it comes with a USB A connector. You might also want to connect a webcam via the USB A port because let’s face it, no inbuilt webcam is good enough right now.

DisplayPort:

Your DisplayPort cable can have a DisplayPort via a USB C connector, so a USB C with a DisplayPort will make for a useful port to connect your external monitor, or two. This port should allow you to connect displays via monitor cables that are 4K and over and ones with high refresh rates. This will make your workflow super smooth, especially if you work on something like audio or video editing.

USB C Port:

USB C is not universal but it has advantages when it comes to getting crazy data transfer speeds! If your workflow requires an external SSD, use a USB C one. The dock should be able to take advantage of the full read and write speed of the SSD over USB C.

Ethernet port:

Wireless life is great but if you’re at your desk, there is nothing quite like a wired connection. It is incredibly stable and the speed is unmatched.

SD Card reader:

Anyone working with a camera, whether you are shooting video or photos, an SD Card is your best friend. However, not all laptops come equipped with SD Card slots anymore. Your dock should have one that supports maximum standards of it so you can quickly do some data dump and get to editing without slowing anything down.

3.5mm audio in and out ports:

If you work on recording a podcast or if you simply want crystal clear audio for your video conferencing, you can plug in an external microphone via this port. You can also plug in wired headphones for lossless audio, which is a must if you are doing any kind of audio editing. The best part about a docking station is that you can switch your laptop without having to unplug any of your peripherals. So if you work with Macbook for your video and audio editing projects, but want to do a live stream while gaming on your PC, you don’t need to move your whole setup around. Simply unplug the Macbook and plug in a PC laptop. Especially since we have all begun working from home, a docking station has become as crucial as a nice desk. We no longer want to move our laptops around a lot and we definitely need a large screen, so a docking station strikes the perfect balance between portability, connectivity, and convenience. SF Cable stocks all the cables you will need to connect to your docking station to make that dream setup!