The world of dongles, adapters, cables, and ports can be confusing.
You spent two weeks on your deck, flew across the country to meet your potential client, missed your kid’s cello recital, and now you can’t connect to your client’s TV because you don’t have the right dongle. It’s okay, it happens to all of us.
Part of the problem is the rate at which technology is evolving. But, the other reasons fall on frequent presenters and IT departments being ill-prepared. We put together a quick guide to the most used wires, ports, cables, and dongles as well as a few tips to never lose them again.
1. At the very least, come prepared to connect to an HDMI cable from the TV or projector.
HDMI is the gold standard in most scenarios. To arm yourself, determine the kind of port you have (if you don’t have HDMI) and search on Google for your port + “HDMI adapter”. Here are the major ports found in both older and newer laptops.
- VGA Port: Found on older PCs. Please note – this does not transmit audio, so if you have video to play, you’ll need a 3.5mm auxiliary cable with adapter, too.
- DVI Port: Found on older PCs. Please note – this generally does not transmit audio, so if you have video to play, you’ll need a 3.5mm auxiliary cable with adapter, too.
- Mini Display Port: Found on newer Macs and PCs.
- Thunderbolt Port: Found on newer Macs and PCs.
- USB-C Port: Found on newer Macs and PCs.
2. If your office has only older TVs and projectors, come ready to connect to those, too.
Be proactive and have a set of dongles if you know you’ll need them. You could also put a request in with the IT department to arm the conference room with a set of adapters for HDMI connectivity. Check in with the offices of clients, partners, and vendors you frequently visit, too. Here’s a breakdown of some cable/port technology you may encounter in older TVs and projectors.
- VGA (Remember this transfers video only, no audio)
- DVI (Remember this usually transfers video only, no audio)
3. Stop losing your dongles. For good.
- Go DIY and create a pocket on the outside of your laptop.
- Determine a go-to pocket or mini carrying case/bag within your laptop bag for your dongle(s).
- Use a lens cap leash to attach to your dongle to hang it somewhere near your desk or clipped in your backpack.
This isn’t just for presenters — the IT pro should also be a dongle advocate.
IT departments should stock their screen-enabled conference rooms with a dongle toolkit — guests, clients, potential partners may all have different port systems. You can also avoid this entirely with wireless options like Chromecast for business, but be sure to include instructions in the rooms if you have frequent visitors as they may not have used that type of system before.
If you’re looking for other IT A/V hacks, check out our conference room on wheels.