A Laptop Docking Station is designed to provide the means to connect your Laptop or Notebook computer to a number of peripherals, so that you can use your laptop computer in an office environment with all the benefits of having a desktop computer.
Some docking stations allow you to plug in your notebook and the station connects to the main rear connectors to link the notebook to selected peripherals. Some other docking stations have a single connector such as a USB connector, and all your mouse, video, audio and network connections are fed through a single USB connection. Nowadays for better speed you can also buy a Thunderbolt docking station.
Most of the USB Laptop Docking Stations are made by manufacturers who design them to be universal in order to be used with virtually any Laptop Computer depending on the operating system in use. This means that you only have a single connection when you return to your desktop environment, and can access all the normal resources on your Notebook.
A docking station virtually turns your Notebook Computer into a desktop device, but maintaining the mobility of your Notebooks in seconds with a simple undocking procedure. Some systems are known as cold docking, whereby the Laptop is closed down before docking and undocking.
Others have a hot docking capability, allowing you to dock or undock your Laptop Computer without the need to shut down the operating system prior to completing the operation.
Some docking stations are known as breakout docks, which are in effect a port replicator which provides the existing facilities available on your Laptop plus a number of additional ports.