How IT Professionals Choose an Enterprise-Class Docking Station
This article was written for the IT Professional supporting businesses with multiple users, applications, and use cases. Please keep in mind that a solution for a complex set of enterprise use cases is often very different from a solution proposed for a limited use case (i.e. a single user platform). This is also what often makes B2B very different from B2C recommendations. A dock bought on a popular E-Commerce site may be an excellent fit for one user, but not sustainable across the enterprise they are employed by.
At Targus, a “docking station” is considered a device that connects or enhances a laptop with monitor, networking, and USB ports. Hyper may use the term “hub” for such devices interchangeably with “dock” or “docking station”. There is nothing to prevent using either a Targus or Hyper- branded docking station for enterprise applications. This article is intended to assist the IT Professional in selecting the best solution for the bulk of the use cases, applications, and user requirements being addressed by docking various hosts within an enterprise.
Too many enterprises buy a dock based on price, and later find that their uses cases were not exhaustively thought out, resulting in disappointment in their dock solution. Answering the considerations below may prevent this negative experience.
The Basics: Workstations Input/Output Ports Considerations
A dock is used primarily to add I/O ports that hosts are devoid of, thus improving productivity and workstation capability. Consider the following basic input/output questions first and foremost:
- Do they have HDMI, DisplayPort (DP), or other ingress ports?
- Is MST (DP daisy chaining) needed?
- What resolution(s) are required? (Not size but resolution)
- Is a stable, secure network connection needed?
- Gigabit or 2.5Gb Ethernet in RJ45?
- PXE, MAC Address Clone /Pass-Through, Jumbo Frames, etc. supported?
- Is the networking solution compatible with enterprise security software? Or frankly, is it secure!?
- What are the speed requirements of these?
- What are the power requirements of these?
Note: Between the Targus and Hyper brands just about any I/O port requirement can be met.
Applications Considerations Including Graphics Support
Workstations used primarily for cloud applications, email, and other business office applications can often be adequately supported with high compression graphics solutions or USB graphics (DisplayLink or Silicon Motion). These are Targus DOCK1XX, DOCK3XX, and DOCK5XX models.
In contrast, applications that require native uncompressed graphics or loss-less video are better served by Thunderbolt or other Alternate Mode (commonly labeled USB-C) graphics-based docking stations. Even some gaming applications are better with Alt. Mode based docking stations. Targus DOCK430 and almost all Hyper docking stations support Alt. Mode. InFor example, Hyper’s HDG212BP and HDG215 are Alt Mode and. And Hyper HDG2TB314 and HDTB4D are Thunderbolt docking stations.
- CAD/CAM, Medical, Geographical applications?
Note: Targus and Hyper also have hybrid docking stations that support both USB and Alt. Mode graphics. These include Targus DOCK7XX and Hyper HDM1H.
Host Platform Considerations
The host doesn't necessarily determine the dock recommendation as much as it used to when proprietary host connection methods were the industry standard. But there are some questions to address regarding the host use case(s):
- If you are a one- brand house, The DocKtor often recommends using a dock recommended by that PC OEM. For example, an HP enterprise dock should be fine when used with an HP enterprise PC. However, one could, and I will argue, that isn’t always the case and rarely is an enterprise vendor locked into one PC solution. Also, with the supply chain woes of the past couple of years, sometimes even the same model PC doesn’t function consistently. At least ask, are there any MacBooks in the enterprise that need to dock?
- PC and MacBooks…Chromebooks, Android Devices, DeX, Linux PC, iPad Pro?
- Is it being used for hoteling/hotdesking/shared work spaces?
- What power level?
- What voltages and current for the host?
- Does the dock provide a PD Contract compatible with the needs of the host(s)?
Note: Most Targus and many Hyper docking stations are validated for Power, Power Delivery, and docking functions with enterprise- class PCs, Chromebooks, and MacBooks of various graphics capabilities from AMD, Intel, and Nvidia. Many also support Android and iPad docking use cases. Before deploying in mass, consider validating any dock solution in your enterprise environment.
During the scarcity period for electronics in general, it was often necessary to compare other docks to Targus and Hyper solutions. Since Hyper and Targus have many products, some purpose built to a particular set of (often MacBook) hosts, the DocKtor advises to compare docks at a technology level. If the dock to be changed is:
- Universal USB-C/STD-A DisplayLink, Silicon Motion, or J5Create-based dock, consider the Targus DOCK192.
- If USB-C Alternate Mode, the Targus DOCK430 (most compatible) or various Hyper- branded more purpose designed solutions?
- If Thunderbolt or only docking MacBooks, consider the Hyper HDG2TB314 or HDTB4D.
Note: There are many other solutions from Hyper that may be more closely related to the requirements of a docking need. Contact us to discuss as they are too many to list here.
There are many other seemingly subtle - but no less important - considerations to ponder before selecting a dock:
- Is the dock meant to be ready/ON/available 24/7 or daily?
- Is the dock reliable?
- Is the dock for a stationary desktop application?
- Is the dock meant for travel or hybrid work?
- Is the dock to be used strictly for work- from- home applications with limited desk space?
- Would Targus MiraLogic meet the remote monitoring and control requirements?
- Not just Windows or macOS updates, but are firmware updates needed and practical?
Note: All Targus and Hyper docking stations are supported by a global network of DocKtors, enterprise salespeople, and customer service representatives.
Cost & Value Considerations
Nobody buys a drill because they need a drill; they buy a drill because they want a hole. The trick is to figure out what kind of hole, what the hole is for, why make the hole, and most importantly what is gained for making the hole. Same for docking. There is no one size fits all requirements but the DOCK192 is pretty close, see https://us.targus.com/blogs/discover-targus/targus-dock192-the-new-standard-in-universal-docking-stations.
As with any purchase, the budget must be considered. But don’t be tempted to buy just on price. Value is much more relevant to enterprise IT. The adage, “You get what you pay for” is still very relevant in electronics. However, not every enterprise has the budget to buy the best docking solution and, in some cases, there may be ways to trim costs when not all the features and performance of the Targus DOCK192 are needed.
Note: Targus has been in business for 40 years and is not just another vendor on the popular eTail sites. Targus (and now Hyper) back products with an actionable warranty. We will be here to fix it if it breaks. Also, we test and validate our docks, and design them to be robust and reliable for the long term. We help our customers deploy and use their products and even train their users.
Never Fear, Help Is Here
Our WW Applications Engineers aka “DocKtors” live and love working for our customers to find solutions to their pain points and requirements. Please contact us for further support or information.
Contact your Targus representative for more information, pricing, and availability.
For Technical Support, please see the included User Guide or visit:US Internet: http://targus.com/us/support
Support Number: 800.283.6325
Canada Internet: http://www.targus.com/ca/support
Australia Internet: http://www.targus.com/au/support
Email: email@example.com Telephone: 1800-641-645
New Zealand Telephone: 0800-633-222
Latin America Email: firstname.lastname@example.org