Targus Docking Station Dictionary
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Targus Docking Station Dictionary

June 05, 18 - Posted in: Tech Talk by Kevin Quinn, Thee DocKtor
Targus Docking Station Dictionary

Docking Station (Dock) formerly called a Port Replicator

A docking station is a device connected downstream from a host to support video, USB hub, and GbE input/output. A docking station plays the role of bridging the gap between portability and having a stationary place to work.  A docking station enables building workstations to improve productivity or provide capabilities that are not integral on the host platform.

At Targus, a “docking station” is considered a device that connects or enhances a laptop with graphics monitor, networking, and USB ports. Hyper may use the term “hub” for such devices interchangeably with “dock” or “docking station”. In Targus vernacular a "dock" has an Ethernet port while a "dongle" may not.

The following are terms associated with and often confused when speaking about docking stations.


Usually used to describe something connected downstream from the dock as a peripheral, but can also be used to describe a host device. Most devices require drivers. Note, a Targus Docking Station is a device as opposed to a Port Replicator that is not although often referred to as a dock.

DisplayPort (DP)

Both the name of a physical port plug/receptacle and the name of the audio/video data protocol most often running on it. Primarily used on display monitors, most Targus docking stations support DP1.4++ or better. Be sure to use a DP cable that supports the intended DP version. It's recommended to use the cable that came with a monitor. 

DP Alt. Mode often referred to as “USB-C” is very similar to DisplayPort but implemented on the USB-C connector, often with Power Delivery capabilities.

Docking Monitor

A monitor with integrated downstream facing USB ports and an Ethernet port.  Docking Monitors are not to be confused with monitor docks or dongles and usually have limited I/O options as compared to desktop docks.

Downstream (to be used in context)

Peripherals connected downstream relative to the host.  A dock is downstream from the host platform.  A mouse connected at the dock is downstream from the dock.  The dock and all things connected to it are downstream from the host platform. 

The Downstream Facing Port or DFP is equivalent in the USB topology to the USB A-Port. The DFP will also correspond to the USB Host but only if USB Communication is supported while acting as a DFP. Products such as Wall Warts can be a DFP while not having USB Communication capability. The DFP also acts as the bus master when controlling USB-C alternate mode operation.

See Upstream


No peripheral is truly “driverless” however some come with their software drivers installed on the peripheral itself and others are in-box to the host platform. For example, the Hyper HDM1H contains both the Windows and macOS software drivers for operating the Silicon Motion based USB graphics.


Older model Targus docks support DVI-I and newer ones DVI-D. DVI-I ports also support DVI-D. The Targus dock DVI-I ports can be converted to VGA. DVI-D ports cannot.

Egress (Output)

Data flowing away from a port.  Often the DisplayPort on a dock is called an Egress port.

See Ingress.

Ethernet Port

The port used to connect to the LAN (Local Area Network) to support the Intranet of an enterprise.  The LAN may be connected to the WAN (Wide Area Network) to support using the port for Internet access.  For Targus and Hyper docking stations it is implemented using an RJ45 receptacle and supports at least Gigabit (1 Gbps) Ethernet speeds, some Hyper products support 2.5 Gbps. 

Targus/Hyper tests Ethernet performance using 100-meter CAT6 and CAT5e cable spools.  Many Targus/Hyper Ethernet ports support advanced enterprise functions including PXE, WAL, Auto Negotiation, etc.

Fast Role Swap (FRS)

An optional function of Power Delivery where the power roles of source (suppling) and sink (load drawing) power can be reversed without disrupting the data functions of the USB-C connection.

HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface)

Both the name of a physical port plug/receptacle and the name of the audio/video data protocol most often running on it. Primarily used with consumer video devices, TVs, and projectors. Most Targus docking stations support HDMI 1.4 and newer models HDMI 2.1 audio/video for higher resolutions. Be sure to use an HDMI cable that supports the intended HDMI version. It’s recommended to use the cable that came with a monitor. Targus HDMI ports can be converted to DVI-D ports.

There exists a USB-C HDMI Alt. Mode and MHL (Mobile HDMI Link) Alt. Mode especially as an Android phones receptacle.  USB-C DP/HDMI/MHL Alt. Mode are signal and clock compatible with each other as implemented in Targus docking stations.

Host Platform

The upstream PC, MacBook, Chromebook, Android Phone/Tablet, Linux PC, iPad, etc. utilizing the downstream docking station input/output (I/O) capabilities.  The “host platform” refers to both the hardware and operating system that includes firmware and software.

Hybrid Dock

A docking station supporting both USB Graphics and Native Graphics.  Other companies use the word “hybrid” to mean both USB-C and USB-STD-A docking support.  Examples of Targus/Hyper hybrid docks include the Targus DOCK7XX and Hyper HDM1H.


A capability included in the product or service.  For instance, many commercially available Windows versions include the DisplayLink software for use with Targus Universal Docking Stations.  Some also include the Silicon Motion software.  Both of this software are “in-box” to Chrome OS for Chromebooks.

Ingress (Input)

Data flowing into a port.  The DisplayPort on a monitor is an Ingress port. 

See Egress.

Legacy or Barrel Power and Charging

Used to describe the barrel (sometimes rectangular) tip used for power source to the power input on a PC or Chromebook using 19.5VDC in. Targus docks with legacy power support up to 90W of power to the host.

Native Graphics

The native graphics data from the host Display Adapter driver.  Typically, these are used without being modified to another graphics protocol before being rendered on the graphics monitor.  USB-C Alt. Modes including Thunderbolt utilize native graphics.

Power Delivery (PD)

This is a feature defined within the PD standard allowing you to power your laptop and a USB-C portable device (such as a portable dock, multiport adapter or hub) with a single USB-C PD charger. The feature must be supported by the laptop and portable dock in order for this to work. Note, not all USB-C ports supply power.

The ability of a USB-C port to provide power compliant to PD2, PD3 or PD3.1 specifications.  The power can be used for charging batteries in a host or powering the host itself.  It may also be used to power the various ports of a docking station.  Targus/Hyper desktop docks provide PD through their USB-C connection.

Power Delivery Pass-Through (PD Pass Through)

A device that supports PD Pass-Through supports powering itself, all its ports, and the host.  PD Pass-Through devices may or may not support FRS but most of Targus/Hyper docks do. 

When selecting a Power Supply to use as input power to a PD Pass-Through dock/device, consider that the device will appear to reserve power from the input power supply before passing on what is left to the host.  In this case it may not be possible to use the power supply that came with the host for PD Pass-Through.  Also, in some high duty-cycle applications there may not be enough power to sustain daily use of the host.  Targus/Hyper recommends sizing the input power supply to include all loads of the dock and host.  Usually, 100WDC is adequate.  See other Targus articles on power.

Thunderbolt 3 and Thunderbolt 4 USB-C

It may be beneficial to think of Thunderbolt as the original Alternate Mode of the USB-C specification running up to 40Gbps, with or without USB Type-C PD, that often at least tunnels USB data; a single (often dual) 4-lane DisplayPort 1.2 video data (sometimes with MST), and PCIe capabilities. See Thunderbolt is the highest performance of current prolific cable interfaces however it is relatively costly, higher in power consumption, and not universal when compared to USB SuperSpeed. Thunderbolt implementations often vary across platform and from vendor model to model.  Targus and Hyper Thunderbolt docking stations are designed to be compatible with most host platforms.

Universal Docking Station

A downstream device connected to a host port that can be connected to any USB Type-A/B/C data port. Targus supports USB Type-C Power Delivery (PD) on many of its USB Type-C Universal Docking Stations; and power and charging for USB Type-A based docking stations using a universal power tip system

The Targus USB Type A/B docks can be converted to USB Type-C, some with PD.  

The DOCK192 supports a Type-A/B or C connection, USB Type-C PD or legacy power and charging. Many OEMs use the term "Universal Docking Station" to describe a dock that works with many of their PC models, even if not all of them. Some OEMS may use the term "Universal Docking Station" even when the dock will not function across platforms. Targus Universal Docking stations can be used across models of a vendor, across vendors of a PC, and even across platforms including various versions of Windows, Chrome OS, macOS-X, Android, and Linux.

Upstream (to be used in context)

A Targus dock has an Upstream facing port that may provide power upstream to the host, however most of the data comes from the host through this connection. 

The Upstream Facing Port or UFP is equivalent in the USB topology to the USB B-Port. The UFP will also correspond to the USB Device but only if USB Communication is supported while acting as a UFP. Products which charge can be a UFP while not having USB Communication capability.

See Downstream.

USB SuperSpeed (SS)

The most common, most universal, and most prolific of the current I/O ports found on computers. A USB port capable of a 5Gbps USB I/O data connection. It can be implemented in the traditional Type-A/B, mini/micro-B, Type-C, or a proprietary method (i.e., lightning). USB 3.0 SS downstream facing ports can be used with USB 2.0 and 1.1 devices (i.e., a mouse).

USB 3.0 (deprecated)

Most often used to describe a USB SuperSpeed 5Gbps Type-A port connection. See USB 3.1 Gen 1. It's most often blue but does not have to be. Targus docking stations USB 3.0 ports support the minimum of 5VDC @ 900mA downstream facing power, some up to 5VDC @ 1.5A BC 1.2.

USB 3.2 Gen 1 SuperSpeed (was USB 3.1 Gen 1)

The new name for USB 3.0. Most often used to describe a USB SuperSpeed 5Gbps Type-C port connection, with or without USB Type-C PD. Targus docking stations downstream USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports support the minimum specification of 5VDC @ 900mA downstream facing power, some to 5VDC @ 1.5A, and USB Type-C Thunderbolt are 5VDC at 3A source ports or Dual Role Ports (DRP) for power.

USB 3.1 Gen 2 SuperSpeed+ (was USB 3.1 Gen 2)

A USB SuperSpeed+ 10Gbps Type-C port connection, with or without USB Type-C Power Delivery. It can enumerate at USB 3.1 Gen 1 SS and lower rates.

USB-C (USB Type-C)

The name of the reversable/flip-able connector (port and receptacle connector) used for USB Type-C connections and Power Delivery.  The term “USB-C” is often used to mean Alt. Mode and is confused with Power Delivery.  It cannot be overemphasized that “USB-C” is only the connector name and not necessarily what protocol or data types are implemented, if any.  i.e., a USB-C Power Supply does not have data capabilities.  Neither is “USB-C” synonymous with Power Delivery.  It may support PD or PD Pass-Through but the details of what power levels and specifications are not always made clear in its markings.

While almost always has at least USB SuperSpeed data, some USB Type-C ports are for PD only; some support Alternate Modes in addition to USB SuperSpeed. It is possible for a host and device to each be compliant with the USB Type-C specification, but not be compatible for data or PD. It is also important to pay attention to the cable being used for USB Type-C connections. Some do not support the desired data or power functionality. 

USB Type-C Alt. Mode (DisplayPort Alt. Mode or Multi-Function DisplayPort Alt. Mode)

The DisplayPort Alternate Mode of the USB Type-C specification, with or without USB Type-C Power Delivery that contains at least USB SuperSpeed data and 2-4 lanes of DisplayPort. Many vendors state "USB-C" or just "Type-C" when meaning "USB Type-C DisplayPort Alternate Mode". Targus USB Type-C DP Alt. Mode docking stations are the DOCK4XX with Power Deliver (PD) and PD Pass-Through to 100WDC. PC with Alt. Mode or Thunderbolt ports usually support Multi-Stream Transport (MST); newer MacBooks do not. Alt. Mode is NOT universal.  

USB-C Power Delivery Port (USB Type-C PD or PD)

A USB Type-C port that supports USB Type-C Power Delivery (PD), sink (taking), source (giving) or Dual Role Port (DRP) that can sink or source power. Targus often abbreviates the ability of a port to establish a USB Type-C Power Delivery Contract as able to "PD". It is important that a PD port’s voltage and current is compatible. Most of Targus upstream facing PD ports can source 5, 9, 12, 15, and 20 VDC @ 3A (DOCK180, DOCK410) and as much as 5A (DOCK190).

USB-C Power Delivery Pass-Through (PD Pass Through)

The ability of a USB Type-C port to pass through power supplied to it. Careful attention should be made to (1) the PD contract available by the source and (2) the power consumed by the Pass-Through device itself.

USB Graphics

Graphics Adapter native data converted or implemented using the USB protocol.  Depending on the available USB bandwidth (USB speed) they are often compressed by the host platform software driver and are uncompressed for display monitor rendering over DisplayPort/HDMI/USB-C Alt. Mode by a special SOC by companies like DisplayLink, Silicon Motion, and J5 Create.


A 40Gbps maximum tunneling protocol for use on the USB-C port pair that is very similar to and compatible with Thunderbolt.  Like Thunderbolt, specific implementations and capabilities vary however USB-4 does not implement PCIe tunneling.

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