I have a docking station with two display ports, multiple USB 3.0, and an ethernet port. My laptop has only USB 2.0 ports. Can I connect the laptop and the docking station to a high speed switch using ethernet connections? (as a workaround to the 2.0 USB limitation on my laptop)?

  • Nope. That will not work. – Eric F Dec 19 '16 at 18:46

Not really, no. At least, not with the kind of docking station you have – it's built to carry everything over USB and that's all it can do.

Besides – the 1 Gbps Ethernet port on your laptop, while twice that of USB 2.0, is still not much compared to the ~4–5 Gbps of USB 3.

There do exist "thin client" devices, e.g. Dell/Wyse "Zero Client", which use a proprietary USB-over-Ethernet protocol (and a custom driver) to connect multiple seats to a single computer. However, they have quite different internals from your docking station (and also require a special variant of Windows Server) and you cannoy simply convert one to the other.

  • At work, my experience with the aforementioned Zero Clients has been that the "USB over Ethernet" part was utterly unstable – after two weeks of bluescreens we were about to set the server on fire. The only reason we didn't was that its CPU fried on its own, taking the motherboard with it. – user1686 Dec 19 '16 at 18:59

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