USB-C is the latest industry standard connector for transmitting data, video and power. The USB-C connector is symmetrical, so struggling to find the right orientation is thankfully a thing of the past. In addition, the default USB-C 3.1 protocol supports data transfer of 10Gbps, so twice as fast as USB 3.0. There are in fact two flavours of USB.C; Gen 1 and Gen 2. Gen 1 meets the same interface and data transfer rates as USB 3.0, 5Gbps, whereas Gen 2 supports 10Gbps.
USB Type C ports support a variety of different protocols using so-called Alternate Modes, which allow the docking station or adapter to output HDMI, Display-Port or VGA, through a single USB-C port. The USB-C Power Delivery specification supports up to 100W of bi-directional power, so a device is able to send or receive power. This means that you are now also able to charge your laptop via your USB-C port, as a typical laptop requires around 60W.
There are three basic types of USB-C. Although they look virtually the same on the outside, they differ fundamentally in function:
- USB-C data – this port can only transfer data. It cannot charge a laptop/tablet and cannot transfer video. If you have this port and want to get a docking station or video adapter with video transfer support, you need to choose a product with DisplayLink technology
- USB-C data + video – this port can transfer both data and video. You can get a dock or video adapter for this port that is built on both USB-C MST and DisplayLink technology. However, since this port cannot charge, you will need to arrange for charging via a network adapter
- USB-C data + video + power delivery – this port can do virtually everything: transfer data and video, and also charge. This is the most versatile USB-C port, and choosing a dock is the easiest – you can use both DisplayLink and USB-C, or Thunderbolt, which supports use with USB-C.
Please always check which USB-C port you have before choosing a dock – this will avoid any unpleasant complications.
A technology that enables delivering power to laptops and various other devices via a USB-C / ThunderboltTM 3/4 connector. That is, assuming the laptop manufacturer chooses to support this feature.
Power Delivery has 3 versions:
- PD 1.0 – capable of charging with up to 100 W.
- PD 2.0 – capable of charging with up to 100 W, in both directions.
- PD 3.0 – capable of charging with up to 100 W and now also able to share capacity when charging multiple devices simultaneously. Charging in both directions is also supported.
- PD 3.1 – Charging up to 240W. Reversible charging has been retained, as well as charging multiple devices at once. Cables, power supplies and ports have new labels.
INTERNAL DOCKING STATION CONSUMPTION
Each docking station has its own power consumption, but also provides power to all connected devices. For this reason, the power delivered to the laptop may be lower than the power indicated on the USB-C charger.
In the case of some USB-C docking stations (TB3TRAVELDOCKPD, C31FLATDOCKPDPRO, C31FLATDOCKPDPLUS and C31HDD4KDOCKPD), the internal power consumption is 15W. Therefore, when a 45W USB-C power adapter is connected, the docking station delivers 30W to the laptop. In the case of a 60W adapter, the docking station delivers 45W, in the case of an 85W adapter, the docking station delivers 70W, and in the case of a 100W adapter, the docking station delivers 85W.
In the case of other USB-C docking stations (powered by a USB-C adapter), power consumption ranges from 5-10W – depending on the type and number of devices connected to the docking station.