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How to Add a Port Replicator or Docking Station to Your Laptop

The way to expand your laptop's options is to add special nonportable options, such as a port replicator or docking station.

Port replicator: A port replicator snaps on to a special expansion slot or connector on your laptop. It adds the most common desktop connectors to your laptop, plus maybe more ports and more expandability options than the laptop might come with on its own. The port replicator can plug into the wall and supply the laptop with power, or it can just be a "cling-on" that snaps on to the laptop's rump for added expansion.

Docking station: A docking station is a more sophisticated (and expensive) version of the port replicator. As with the port replicator, it allows you to add peripherals and expand the power of your laptop, although it's more of a base station or permanent location than a port replicator is. Some docking stations are even shaped like desktop PCs, but with open maws into which you slide the laptops. Some even allow you to add expansion cards, which makes the laptops even more like stationery, desktop PCs.

  • When you're ready to go back on the road, pop out the laptop and you're gone!

  • The docking station and port replicator are specific to your laptop. You need to obtain them from your laptop's manufacturer or computer dealer.

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