FEATURES—The Plugable UD-CA1A is PCMag.com Editors' Choice award-winning Universal USB 3.1 Type-C docking station with Power Delivery. 4K-capable HDMI display (4K at 30Hz, 2560x1600 and lower at 60Hz). Provides 60W of power to charge your attached system
COMPATIBILITY—Single display docking expand the functionality of Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C systems. Compatible with MacBook Air 2018, MacBook Pro (2016/2017/2018), Chromebook, Microsoft Surface Go, HP Spectre x360 13", and Dell XPS (9360, 9560, 9370, 9570, 9380). See Technical Specifications PDF below for details
FLEXIBILITY—USB 3.1 enables charging and video output. USB C dock with charging at 60W provided via USB-IF Power Delivery ("PD") standard. HDMI output is through "VESA DisplayPort Alternate Mode over Type-C" ("Alt Mode"). Host system must also be compatible with these technologies
NOTES—Requires compatible USB 3.1 Type-C system. Incompatible with legacy USB 3.0 and 2.0 systems. Not all USB-C ports and systems support PD or Alt Mode. Please see our website for additional compatibility tables. DisplayPort monitors are not supported
2 YEAR WARRANTY—We love our Plugable products, and hope you will too. All of our products are backed with a 2-year limited parts and labor warranty as well as Seattle-based email support
The Plugable USB-C Docking Station with Power Delivery (UD-CA1A) increases the functionality, usability, and flexibility of supported USB-C systems like the Dell XPS 13 and XPS 15.
Power up your productivity with the ability to add an external HDMI display while simultaneously providing up to 60W of power to charge your system and expanding your connectivity with Gigabit Ethernet, audio input/output, and five USB ports to connect your peripherals. All through a single USB-C cable.
The HDMI and charging functions of the UD-CA1A are powered by one of USB 3.1’s most exciting new features: support for "Alternate Modes" and Power Delivery. Alternate Modes allow certain non-USB data and protocols (such as native video) to be sent over a USB-C cable, while Power Delivery enables you to power and charge a supported system without the need for the laptop's proprietary charger. Support for these features must also be built-in to the system being used, so please see the important additional compatibility details in the sections below.
Important Compatibility Details
Not all USB-C ports are created equally
USB-C is a new standard with much versatility. As a result, compatibility information is complex. Some USB-C systems support Alt Mode video output, while others do not. Some can be powered and charged via USB-C Power Delivery, while others do not.
Please refer to your user manual or system manufacturer to verify that the USB-C port supports video data and charging.
USB 3.1 Type-C Compatibility
Many current USB-C systems which do support Alt Mode video output do not support charging via USB-C. Systems such as this will output video from the dock, but will still need their proprietary OEM chargers. For example, some systems will display a warning during boot if connected to a 85W power adapter rather than a 130W power adapter. These systems may still charge, but at a slower rate.
Thunderbolt 3 ports generally support Alt Mode video output, but Power Delivery/charging is system-specific
ASMedia USB 3.1 controllers do not support Alt Mode and are not supported
Refer to your user manual to verify the USB-C port supports video data and charging
Plugable USB-C Docking Station with USB Power Delivery
The UD-CA1A powers up your productivity with the following features:
Drive a single HDMI display output as a maximum resolution of 4K 30Hz (2560x1600 and lower @ 60Hz) on compatible* USB-C Alt Mode systems
Keep your compatible* USB-C or Thunderbolt 3 system host system charged with 60W of power
Enjoy a variety of USB connectivity with five total USB ports
Stay connected with a wired Gigabit Ethernet port
Make use of your headphones or microphone with audio input and output ports
Flexible for your work space with included stand to use the dock in a vertical orientation
Known Compatibilty problems, incompatible host systems, and devices
Dell XPS 13 7390 2-in-1: When booting the computer with the docking station conected it may take upwards of 2 minutes for the operating system to begin loading. This appears to be a BIOS update that may be updated by a future UEFI/BIOS release.
Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 15IIL05: This system does not support USB-C DisplayPort Alternate Mode, or "Alt-Mode" for short, on the USB-C port and the docking station's HDMI output will be non-functional when connected to this computer.
Connect the power adapter to the Plugable Docking Station.
Connect the provided USB-C cable to the Docking Station's rear USB-C port, then to the USB-C port on your host device. (Note: If your host device has multiple USB-C ports, check your device documentation to confirm you are connecting to a port which supports Alternate Mode video output and Power Delivery)
Attach desired peripherals to the docking station.
This is the standard USB connection that most computers offered prior to the introduction of USB Type-C (USB-C). Even after the introduction of USB Type-C, this is still quite common.
It can provide data transfer rates up to the USB 3.1 Gen 2 (10 gbps) specification depending on the host and device, but does not directly support video in the way that USB-C Alternate Mode does. This limitation makes DisplayLink USB graphics adapters and docking stations ideal on systems that do not have USB-C, or in instances where more displays are needed beyond available video outputs of a PC.
This type of connection comes in a couple different styles depending on whether USB 3.0 and higher transfer rates are supported (bottom graphic). Usually this type of connection is used to plug into USB devices that do not have a fixed cable connected, such as USB docking stations, USB hubs, printers, and others.
One of the first connectors for charging a smartphone, wireless game controller (such as the Sixaxis and DualShock 3), and other small devices such as external hard drives. Not commonly used today, but is still used in some cases. Most devices using USB Mini B are using USB 2.0, though a USB 3.0 variant does exist. This specification also added USB On-The-Go (OTG) functionality, though it is more commonly implemented with Micro USB.
A smaller connector that serves many of the same uses as the Mini B connector, with added optional features such as Mobile High-Definition Link (MHL) to allow devices like smartphones to output video to larger displays without requiring a dedicated port for video output.
The larger variant of USB-B is most commonly used for external hard drives for higher 5Gbps transfer rates.
The most recent USB connection, USB Type-C (USB-C), represents a major change in what USB can do. The connector is smaller, can be connected in two orientations, is able to carry substantially more power and data, and can directly carry video signals of multiple types (HDMI, DisplayPort, etc.) Intel has also adapted the USB-C connector for use with Thunderbolt 3 and Thunderbolt 4.
It is important to note that while all Thunderbolt 3 and Thunderbolt 4 connections are USB-C, not all USB-C connections can be used with Thunderbolt 3 or Thunderbolt 4 devices.
No, this is not possible. Please note that DisplayPort to HDMI cables (as with most cables involving protocol/signal conversion) are not bidirectional adapters, which means they only work in one direction -- from a DisplayPort output to a HDMI input.
Connecting these type of cables backwards will not allow an HDMI output port (such as those on a dock) to function with a DisplayPort input on a monitor.
Computer networking is a complex topic. In this article, we'll be taking a deep dive on the nuances of network performance for those who need some additional explanation while striving to be concise, and to educate users of various experience levels relating computer hardware and computer networking.
If you just need to know how to perform a network performance test/benchmark, jump down to configuring iPerf.
Core Network Concepts
LAN vs WAN
With regards to network performance, it is crucial to first separate whether an issue is with Wide Area Network (WAN) performance, or if the issue is with Local Area Network (LAN) performance.
Your LAN is essentially the network inside your home or business. Many homes use a combination modem/router device provided by their Internet Service Provider (ISP). In some cases, especially in businesses, you may have a separate modem and router, along with other equipment connecting to the router such as a network switch.
Your modem, and the connection it establishes to your ISP—whether through coaxial cable, fiber, phone lines, or long-range wireless—essentially marks the point between the WAN and the LAN. The connection your modem makes to your ISP is the WAN, and any devices you connect through your router behind that modem belong to the LAN.
Almost every type of connection your computer makes to any piece of hardware will have a link rate of some kind. The link rate establishes how fast data can possibly be transferred across any given connection, but it does not guarantee how fast the hardware on either end of the connection will actually transfer data.
The concept of link rates, and their related bottlenecks, is likely best conveyed by giving an example of what connections might be involved in transferring a file from one computer on your LAN to another.
800Mbps—The file source is a USB 3.0 thumb drive capable of 100MB/s (800Mbps) read/write.
480Mbps—The USB 3.0 thumb drive is plugged into a USB 2.0 port on the PC, which has a maximum throughput of 480Mbps
1000Mbps—PC1's Ethernet connection establishes 1Gbps (1000Mbps) link to the router via Ethernet
300Mbps—The router connects to a second PC (we'll refer to this as PC2) via Wi-Fi, and it has established a 300Mbps link to the Wi-Fi adapter on PC2
480Mbps—The Wi-Fi adapter on PC2 is connected via a USB 2.0 port. The link rate of the USB connection to PC2 is at 480Mbps
6000Mbps—PC2 is going to store the file on an internal hard drive with a link rate of 6Gbps
1600Mbps—File Destination: SATA hard drive capable of 200MB/s (1600Mbps) read/write.
Following this chain, we see that 300Mbps is the slowest link rate established. This means that, regardless of the link rates established elsewhere, the absolute maximum the data can possibly be transferred is 300Mbps.
if we were to change the Wi-Fi connection to a wired Ethernet connection capable of 1Gbps, our performance bottleneck would then become the USB 2.0 connection to the USB drive where the file is stored.
Ports and Interfaces
A network interface represents connections, whether wired or wireless, that are made to form a network between devices.
Some may refer to physical hardware connections as "ports". For the purposes of networking, ports are logical constructs that can also be referred to as "network ports". Each network interface has 65,535 of these logical ports. Each port on a network interface is a separate data connection.
Benchmarking Network Adapter Performance
To properly benchmark network adapter performance, we need to:
Use a simple LAN configuration
Eliminate bottlenecks, especially link rate bottlenecks
Websites like speedtest.net, fast.com, and other performance tools in your web browser are going to use your WAN connection, and are not appropriate for determining if a network adapter is working well.
Transferring files from one computer to another on your LAN is typically not the best way to benchmark a network adapter. File transfers are bottlenecked by a number of things, including performance limitations of the disk the data is on, and often times a lack of establishing parallel network connections to perform the task.
One of the most accurate ways to benchmark network performance on a LAN is by using iPerf . To more effectively benchmark network adapter performance, it is best to establish a point-to-point connection between two PCs, rather than connecting through a router or switch.
Next, you'll need to run iPerf in client mode, targeting the IP address of the server/interface where iPerf is running in server mode. Additionally, we'll run the test for 30 seconds using -t 30 and with four parallel connections using -P 4. Running 4 parallel connections is optimal for saturating a network link.
Open Command Prompt
Press Windows Key + R or + R, then enter cmd in the window that appears
Search the Start Menu for Command Prompt, and open it
Navigate Command Prompt to the directory the directory where iPerf is located
The cdcommand is for 'change directory'
If you have a folder named 'iperf' on your Windows desktop, you can reach it in command prompt with the command cd %USERPROFILE%\Desktop\iperf
Run iperf in client mode via Command Prompt (replace 192.168.0.200 with the IP address of the server/interface where iPerf is running in server mode)
iperf3.exe -c 192.168.0.200 -t 30 -P 4
macOS / Linux
Run iPerf in client mode (replace 192.168.0.200 with the IP address of the server/interface where iPerf is running in server mode)
iperf3 -c 192.168.0.200 -t 30 -P 4
iPerf should start performing a network performance test. If the test fails to start, make sure that iPerf is not being blocked by your PC's/Mac's firewall.
Why iPerf is Ideal for Benchmarking
Unlike a file transfer, iPerf runs in memory on the PC and generates data to send using the CPU directly. This alleviates potential bottlenecks generated by storage devices, and allows you to explicitly control how many parallel connections are being used to transfer data rather than being unsure if parallel network connections are being used by other means.
There's a lot more to networking that isn't covered in this article, but we hope this helps explain enough to get an accurate measure of your network performance.
Most Windows notebook computers power management settings will default to putting the computer to sleep with the lid closed, regardless of any external displays, keyboard, or mouse connected to the computer. If this is happening but you would prefer the system to remain active with the lid closed utilizing the external display or displays, these settings can be changed by performing the following:
For Windows 10:
Start by right-clicking on the Start button and select Power Options from the menu.
From the right side of the Power Options settings page, select the blue link for Additional power settings
From the choices present on the left-hand side of the Power Options window, please click on Choose what closing the lid does
Make sure the setting for When I close the lid under the Plugged In column is set to Do Nothing
Click the Save Changes button and restart the system (making sure that the laptop’s power adapter is also connected) and test the behavior again.
For Windows 11:
Start by right-clicking on the Start button and select Power Options from the menu.
In the upper left corner of the settings window, in the search box, type "lid" then select Change what closing the lid does from the search results
Make sure the setting for When I close the lid under the Plugged In column is set to Do Nothing
Click the Save Changes button to apply the new settings.
Closing the lid should no longer put the computer into sleep mode when an external display and power source is connected, instead one of the external displays should now become the Primary display with the desktop icons instead of the laptop's built-in display.
The lid may still need to be opened to perform the following tasks:
To power on the computer from a fully powered off state
To log into the computer if logged out or if the computer is restarted with the lid closed
To wake the computer from a deep sleep state ( hibernation, or Windows hybrid sleep states )
If your Windows laptop will not boot properly when a docking station is connected to the laptop, most often the cause is an external device connected to the docking station (for example an external USB storage drive) as opposed to the dock itself.
If you are affected by this condition, please follow these steps in order to isolate the behavior further:
Disconnect all USB devices from the docking station and put them aside for the moment.
Disconnect any displays connected to the dock's video outputs.
Disconnect any audio devices connected to the dock's audio ports (if present).
Disconnect the Ethernet network cable from the dock's Ethernet port (if present).
The only remaining connections should be the dock's power adapter cable and the USB cable used to connect it to the laptop. No other external devices should be connected to the dock.
While in this state, reboot the laptop to test the behavior.
Assuming the laptop boots as expected, please reconnect each device back to the dock one at a time and reboot after each one to test the behavior again. Please reconnect the displays first, then the audio devices, then the Ethernet cable. Please reconnect any USB devices to the dock last, again rebooting after each one is added to test the behavior.
In our experience helping others, the most common cause of this behavior is an external USB storage drive connected to one of the dock's USB ports. In some cases, a laptop may try to boot from an external storage drive by mistake as opposed to the laptop's built-in storage drive. Since most external USB storage drives are not 'bootable', this can interrupt the boot process.
If this behavior occurs, the most common way to mitigate the behavior is to access the laptop's System BIOS (also known as UEFI firmware) to change the 'boot order' settings to ensure that the laptop's internal storage drive is the first boot option. Doing so helps ensure that the laptop will not try to boot from an external USB storage device.
Every laptop system is different, so the best resource for accessing the System BIOS and changing the settings is the manual for the laptop provided by the laptop manufacturer.
Please be very careful when changing settings within the System BIOS, because changing the wrong setting can cause problems. If you are unsure of how to check or change these settings after consulting your laptop's manual, it is best to contact the laptop manufacturer directly for guidance.
If your package is missing one or more of the items that should be included with your Plugable dock (included items are listed on a chart on the side of the box), start by double checking if the part is still in the packaging. Pieces can occasionally get stuck in the corners under the main insert in the box.
If you are still unable to locate the piece, please contact email@example.com with the following information:
1. Amazon Order ID (or other proof of purchase) associated with your Plugable device.
2. A description of the parts that are missing from your order.
3. Your preferred shipping address (and a phone number associated with that address).
Please note that not all USB-C ports on a computer support charging. Verify if your computer supports Power Delivery (PD) over USB-C and also identify which port has this functionality (if multiple USB-C ports are available).
Otherwise, please check that the docking station is powered on. Depending on the model of the dock, you should see a blue or white light which indicates the dock is powered.
Most users experience normal network functionality using the existing drivers already built-in to macOS. However, users who are encountering any unexpected network issues can download and install an updated Realtek driver that has resolved these issues. This driver is compatible with macOS up to macOS 10.15.7, and incompatible with macOS 11 and newer.