Understanding KVM Switches

A Keyboard, Video, Mouse i.e. KVM switch is a hardware gadget which helps the user to organize multiple computers from a single keyboard, video monitor and mouse. Although many computers can be connected to KVM’s only a few computers can really take advantage of the KVM switch device. Recently more devices are being supported with KVM capability allowing firewire and USB devices such as speakers and routers to connect to the KVM’s. A number of market ready KVM’s can also operate in reverse i.e. a single PC can be joined to multiple keyboards, mouse and monitors.

But the usefulness of KVM switches can be fully maximized when there are multiple computers in use, for example in data centers when different servers are in operation – multiple racks being controlled by a single keyboard, mouse and monitor. In this way KVM’s help data centers connect to multiple servers as they desire, without loss of control. In homes with the assistance of KVM switches; keyboards, mice’s and monitors of a home PC can be joined with laptops, tablet PC, PDAs, and Mobiles etc.

KVM Switches are some of the cheapest mechanical devices available in the market. These are based on multi-pole switches. They contain a rotary knob to select different computers. Typically KVMs allow sharing of 2 to 4 computers, but can join a maximum of 12 machines on a single switch configuration. One disadvantage of using mechanical KVMs is that, if a particular computer is not selected by the switch you can’t ‘see’ a keyboard or its mouse. Users are also advised that during power failures when a PC reboots for a while KVMs will be unable to detect keyboards and mice. In the absence of a strong KVM signal, KVM switches fail to communicate optimally or at their complete capability for example if the switches signal is less than 100%, the multimedia keyboards keys on a keyboard would not be able to function properly. This could also affect monitors tied to the switch, in which screen resolution is affected and can drop as low as 800×600. There is however software options that act similar to KVM’s such as Virtual Network Computing (VNC), KaVoom, MaxiVista etc., these software’s facilitate switching hardware over network connections thus helping in reducing the number of wires connected. However alternative software also hold some disadvantages like pre-loading of additional software on each server in an endeavor to permit clients to remotely connect. If the server or pc/computer is busy, the software will stop responding to network connections. KVMs have one advantage over software alternatives – that is, they do not depend on any software, thus allowing remote connections. Contemporary KVM Switches use a minimum of 128-bit data encryption which is secured over WAN or LAN.

Buying tips: KVM Switches [http://www.comnauts.com/collections/kvm-switch]

* Look for hardware devices that you would like to connect to a KVMs whether, mouse, keyboard and/or monitor. Identify which port (USB and/or PS/2) your computer will use to interface with these devices.

* Choose a KVM switches that support all standard resolutions.

* Look for KVM switches that support auto scan intervals ASI and contain LED intervals.

* Make sure the switch you wish to purchase contains security features.