A KVM (Keyboard, Video, and Mouse) Switch is a device that allows you to control multiple computers from a single keyboard, video monitor and mouse console. This can be particularly beneficial when there is insufficient room for multiple monitors and keyboards, such as in a server room rack or on a small desktop.
Computers that you want to control are connected to the KVM Switch using Cat5 cabling or special KVM cable kits. A keyboard, monitor and mouse console are then connected to the KVM Switch, or in some cases the console is built in to the KVM Switch. Control is switched from one computer to another by the use of a button, On-Screen Display (OSD) controls, or hot keys on the keyboard, with the KVM routing signals between the computers and the keyboard, mouse and monitor console.
KVM Switches differ in the number of computers they can control, ranging from two up to 32 computers. Enterprise-level KVM Switches can also be daisy-chained or cascaded to allow even greater numbers of computers (over 500) to be controlled from a single keyboard, monitor and mouse console.
Space-saving, convenient and economical, a KVM Switch is flexible enough to meet the needs of any home office, small/mid-size or enterprise application. Plus, a KVM Switch is easy to install, configure and operate. KVM Switches are popular among users who have upgraded their home computer systems and want to still use their old computers but do not want to invest in a second keyboard, monitor and mouse. KVM Switches are also used by businesses to save money when one person uses more than one computer and in server rooms where it is only necessary to periodically access each server one at a time. They are frequently used in data centers where multiple servers are placed in a single rack with a single keyboard, monitor and mouse. A KVM Switch then allows data center personnel to connect to any server in the rack.
KVM Switches are available in rack-mount, rack-mount console and desktop design. Desktop models are best used when controlling up to four computers by a user-supplied keyboard, monitor and mouse console. Rack-mount and rack-mount console models are ideal for conserving space within rack enclosures that typically contain multiple servers and other networking equipment. In addition, rack-mount console models include a built-in keyboard, LCD display and touchpad console that collapses when not in use to maximize space.
KVM Switches are available with up to 32 ports for controlling up to 32 directly connected computers.
For shorter distances up to 25 feet, a KVM Switch that uses standard cable kits is suggested. If your connected computers are over 25 feet from the KVM Switch, a KVM Switch that uses Cat5 cabling is recommended for distances up to 1,000 feet.
If connecting to computers using standard KVM cable kits, you need to determine the connection types so that you can choose the right cable kits (PS/2 or USB) or Cat5 network cabling
This must be determined so that your KVM Switch is compatible with your monitor/LCD display.
Now that you have some idea of what you're looking for, the best way to choose the right model is to visit our quick and easy online KVM Selector Guide.Launch KVM Selector Guide