It's easy to become confused over which KVM switch is best for your application.

 

In general terms, by today’s standards, in a mature KVM market,  there are some “givens” which are the minimum a User should look for in a switch.

 

  1. That it should support boot processes correctly, and should maintain virtual keyboard and mouse presence electronically so that all connected computers function properly all of the time whether they are selected or not.

  2. That it should be reliable.

  3. That it should be easy to install and use.

  4. That it should be compatible with as wide a range of computer types as possible, possibly including seriel devices

  5. That it should handle whatever type(s) of video signal you are using (VGA, SVGA, DVI, Displayport, RGB etc.)

  6. That it should handle your HID - Human Interface Devices (Keyboard, Mouse, trackball, joystick, touchscreen etc.)

  7. That it should handle any other interfaces you may wish to use from one or more of your controlled computers (USB, serial, audio etc.)

 

So before you are able to choose a KVM switch, all of the above needs to be qualified - it is in the specific details of an application that the various qualities of various types of KVM switch become important.

 

You are also going to need to think about whether your switch is for use:-

 

  • for a Desktop application i.e. one where the switch will provide the prime method of access to computers day by day for one User.

  • for a server control environment where the function of the switch is to give an operator easy access to many PCs of different types and ages.

  • for local use or for distributed access, where several or many users need to connect to computers

  • for one site use or for offsite control and access, where KVM over IP may be a requirement.

 

 

For a desktop (full time use) solution it is necessary to deliver seamless interfaces for KVM (Keyboard, Video, Mouse) or KVMA (KVM plus Audio) to the User. The emphasis here is on absolute quality of delivery – we have to respect the fact that a User deserves the best video quality we can supply, and it is important to complement a carefully chosen Video Monitor with a switch which does not impact the viewing qualities in any way. A high quality two port KVM switch is ideal for this type of application, and allows two computers to be controlled from a single KVM console, and can (for instance) simultaneously switch speakers between them. Ultra-high-resolution video circuitry is available and will support monitor resolutions up to 2400 x 2000. 

 

It’s also important that any system is easy to connect and to use.  We'll supply a complete package, with all cables necessary to connect to your  PCs. An added enhancement for users, can be the use of an all-in-one cable system (a single jacketed cable carrying all of the necessary signals rather than a series of separate cables), which prevents accidental disconnects, while reducing cable bulk by 60% over conventional cabling systems. The single cable gives a tidier - and more reliable - installation. 

 

For a server control environment where the function of the switch is to give an operator easy access to many PCs of different types and ages the considerations are different; flexibility and reliability are far more important than absolute video quality. That is not to say that video quality is not a consideration, of course it is, but in the conventional client-server network most of the heavy duty graphics are done at workstation level, and most server KVM access is of short duration.

 

Multi-Platform Server (Intel, Unix, Sun, Apple etc.) KVM console control switches allow a User to access and control from 2 up to 100s of servers from a single Keyboard Video and Mouse console. A second Keyboard Video and Mouse console can be added remotely – up to 300 metres away via cat 5 cable, using an optional dual access KVM Extender. That means that a Network Manager can access and control any of his servers from one central point in the building, often without leaving his desk.

The increasing use of non-Intel computing platforms in server environments means that an ability to support different hardware types offers very valuable immediate and future flexibility. 

 

 

Expandability is also an issue. It is all very well stating  that a single User can access up to nnnn computers, but that probably is not a very practical proposition in many cases.

 

For bigger installations a KVM Matrix sytem offers all of the benefits seen in single and dual user KVMN switches, but allows as many Users as are required to access various computers at the same time, eliminating bottlenecks caused by conventional KVM switches. The addition of a n IP enabled KVM bridge allows a network Manager convenient yet secure access to his servers from anywhere in the world at any time via digital or analogue lines.

 

In summary, the best switch for a given application is determined by the specific attributes of that application. One of FCIT’s great strengths is that it has such a comprehensive range of KVM switching systems that it can be sure to be able to supply the correct system whatever the customer’s needs.

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