Do docking station switchboxes exist?

ishtarbgl

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I have this docking station from Kensington and have been pretty happy with it. It allows me to connect via USB-C to most of my laptops and charge them over USB-C while connected. Very nice. Also, it is has the ability to leverage USB-3.0 so my older laptops that don't have USB-C can leverage this connection. I have 4 laptops so it is great that any one of them can leverage the docking station.

Here is my problem. I need to switch between those 4 laptops constantly. Using one machine to remote into each one of them isn't an option for a number of reasons I won't go into here for the sake of brevity. I need each to be connected directly to the docking station when I'm using it and switching out the cables all the time is becoming laborious. I've been looking for a switchbox that might be able to rotate between each laptop, but haven't found anything. Does anyone know if a product like this exists?
 

Eximo

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KVMs are still a thing, but the more recent the connection types you are after the more expensive they usually are. 4 systems is going to be expensive. Type-C might not be an option in the way you are wanting.
 

ishtarbgl

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Thanks. Yea, I thought of KVM switches, but couldn't find one that did a display. The one Lutfij passed on does just that, but with only 2 machines. Still, that is better than none. It just really doesn't get me where I need to go having 4 laptops. I guess I'll need to give this more thought.
 

hang-the-9

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Thanks. Yea, I thought of KVM switches, but couldn't find one that did a display. The one Lutfij passed on does just that, but with only 2 machines. Still, that is better than none. It just really doesn't get me where I need to go having 4 laptops. I guess I'll need to give this more thought.
You want to have a single docking station hooked up to 4 laptops? A KVM is not really for that, those are to have a single set of keyboard/mouse and a monitor connect to multiple computers.

Since your laptops have screens and keyboards built in, this is a moot thing to use, but you can just have the laptop video out and USB ports connected to the KVM to use with whatever keyboard/mouse/screen you want on them. They will just need to be powered separately.

You can find 4 port KVMs around pretty easily, just do a web search. In my experience, the cheaper ones tend to have issues with reliability and screen display, the $150-200 range for a 4 port KVM is where the good ones start at.
 

ishtarbgl

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You want to have a single docking station hooked up to 4 laptops? A KVM is not really for that, those are to have a single set of keyboard/mouse and a monitor connect to multiple computers.
Yea, I guess I was sort of hoping "they" made a product that could sort of do it all. I really don't know why there isn't a market for it, but maybe I'm the only one. :) A KVM already does a portion of what a docking station does, that is, allows you to connect to some outside peripherals like an external monitor, display, and keyboard. Again, the docking station does the same, but in many cases takes it a step further by allowing you to connect to ethernet and maybe many other devices via different ports (USB, USBC, etc.). So why not combine the two products since there is already some common technology built-in between the two? Basically, have a docking station with switching functionality. Again, must just be me. :)

Since your laptops have screens and keyboards built in, this is a moot thing to use, but you can just have the laptop video out and USB ports connected to the KVM to use with whatever keyboard/mouse/screen you want on them. They will just need to be powered separately.

You can find 4 port KVMs around pretty easily, just do a web search. In my experience, the cheaper ones tend to have issues with reliability and screen display, the $150-200 range for a 4 port KVM is where the good ones start at.
Thank you for this and I think you are right. For me at least, this isn't really a "moot" thing to use because I work long hours from these laptops and need a large display and external keyboard and mouse. It just so happens I need to switch between 3 or 4 laptops throughout the day and can't use the ability to remote into them (for many different reasons).

I probably just need to purchase a good KVM switch and test it out. I only need 2K for the video output and only need ethernet on one of the machines. I could use WiFi for the others. Optimally, I hope the HDMI out on these laptops stays up if you close the lid, but again, probably just something I need to test on my own. Thanks again.
 

hang-the-9

Titan
Moderator
Yea, I guess I was sort of hoping "they" made a product that could sort of do it all. I really don't know why there isn't a market for it, but maybe I'm the only one. :) A KVM already does a portion of what a docking station does, that is, allows you to connect to some outside peripherals like an external monitor, display, and keyboard. Again, the docking station does the same, but in many cases takes it a step further by allowing you to connect to ethernet and maybe many other devices via different ports (USB, USBC, etc.). So why not combine the two products since there is already some common technology built-in between the two? Basically, have a docking station with switching functionality. Again, must just be me. :)



Thank you for this and I think you are right. For me at least, this isn't really a "moot" thing to use because I work long hours from these laptops and need a large display and external keyboard and mouse. It just so happens I need to switch between 3 or 4 laptops throughout the day and can't use the ability to remote into them (for many different reasons).

I probably just need to purchase a good KVM switch and test it out. I only need 2K for the video output and only need ethernet on one of the machines. I could use WiFi for the others. Optimally, I hope the HDMI out on these laptops stays up if you close the lid, but again, probably just something I need to test on my own. Thanks again.
For closing the lid, all you need to do is change the power setting so closing the lid does nothing instead of sleep mode.
 

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