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HOW IT PROFESSIONALS CHOOSE AN ENTERPRISE-CLASS DOCKING STATION

January 29, 24
HOW IT PROFESSIONALS CHOOSE AN ENTERPRISE-CLASS DOCKING STATION

TARGET AUDIENCE

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:

1. How many external monitors are needed?
  • 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)
2. Do they need to operate in extended mode independently or just mirrored?
  • 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!?
3. How many USB-STD-A or Type-C downstream facing ports do I need?
  • 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.


Consider the following applications questions:
1. Is there a need for loss-less video or high color space, high resolution graphics?
  • CAD/CAM, Medical, Geographical applications?
2. Is there a need for desktop graphics performance with laptops?
3. Are most users running Office365/G-Suite, Teams/Zoom, and/or other general office applications?

Note: Targus and Hyper also have hybrid docking stations that support both USB and Alt. Mode graphics. These include Targus DOCK7XX.

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):

 
1. Does the dock need to support only a single PC OEM?
  • 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 a customer 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?
2. Does the docking solution need to support multiple platforms?
  • PC and MacBooks…Chromebooks, Android Devices, DeX, Linux PC, iPad Pro?
  • Is it being used for hoteling/hotdesking/shared work spaces?
3. Do I need a dock to support a similar user experience across multiple PC brands? 
4. Is Power Delivery on Type-C needed?
      • 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)?
5. Is the host connection USB-A only? This is very rare with today’s enterprise- class host platforms, but some older devices do only have USB-STD-A connection and require legacy barrel power. Consider Targus DOCK182 & ACC1136 for those.

 

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.

 

TECHNOLOGY CONSIDERATIONS

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 DOCK182.
      • 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 a Thunderbolt docking solution. 

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.

Other Considerations

There are many other seemingly subtle - but no less important - considerations to ponder before selecting a dock:

1. What is the duty cycle of the workstation?
  • Is the dock meant to be ready/ON/available 24/7 or daily?
  • Is the dock reliable?
2. Is the dock meant for WFH? 
  • 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?
3. Is the dock supported remotely?
  • Would Targus MiraLogic meet the remote monitoring and control requirements?
4. Is the dock maintainable?
  • Not just Windows or macOS updates, but are firmware updates needed and practical?
5. Is the dock sustainable?

Note: All Targus and Hyper docking stations are supported by a global network of DocKtors, enterprise salespeople, and customer service representatives.

6. What are the challenges of your current and under test docking station solution that need to be overcome?

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 by making the hole.  Same for docking. There is no one size fits all requirements but the DOCK182 and ACC1136 is pretty close.

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 DOCK182 are needed.

1. If a universal dock but legacy power is no longer needed, consider the Targus DOCK182?
2. If a universal dock but only HDMI monitor support is needed and 65WDC Power Delivery is adequate, consider the Targus DOCK310?
3. If a universal dock but only DisplayPort monitor support is needed and 65WDC Power Delivery is adequate, consider the Targus DOCK315?
4. For a capable travel solution that is universal consider the Targus DSU100.
5. If the implications and inconsistencies are accounted for, i.e. lack of MST support on MacBooks, but loss-less graphics are important, then consider Alternate Mode aka “USB-C” solutions like the Targus DOCK430, Hyper HDG212BP or HDG215-US?
6. For travel or WFH dock single or dual HDMI monitors in a limited duty cycle, the Targus DOCK423. 

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.

SUPPORT

Contact your Targus representative for more information, pricing, and availability.

For Technical Support, please see the included User Guide or visit:

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Email: infoaust@targus.com Telephone: 1800-641-645
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