Black Box Explains... Multiplatform cabling environments.
When using a ServSwitch™ with multiple computer platforms, choosing which peripherals to use to control your diverse group of CPUs can be confusing. Because of the wide variation in connector... more/see it nowtypes and compatibilities, there is a hierarchy to follow when choosing your user station keyboard, monitor, and mouse.
1. If you have at least one Sun® computer in your application, you should use a Sun keyboard and mouse to control your CPUs.
2. If you have a mixture of PCs and Mac® computers, use your PC-style keyboard and mouse to control your CPUs. collapse
Black Box Explains...KVMoIP access technology.
KVMoIP access technology extends keyboard, video, and mouse (KVM) signals from any computer or server over TCP/IP via a LAN, WAN, or Internet connection. Through this KVM over IP (KVMoIP)... more/see it nowconnection, remote users can access and control a number of servers simultaneously from wherever they are, inside or outside the organization, and anywhere in the world. This technology works in diverse hardware environments and is ideal for managing multilocation data centers and branch offices.
These capabilities translate into real savings for companies having to deal with the proliferation of servers in many offices, particularly for corporations and government agencies required to deliver 24/7 uptime and real-time access to mission-critical servers 365 days a year.
KVMoIP products combine the advantages of remote access software with the benefits of KVM switching technology. Like most KVM switches, KVMoIP products don’t require any software to be loaded on the host computers. They interface directly with the keyboard, monitor, and mouse connectors of the host computer or KVM switch. Circuitry within the KVMoIP device digitizes the incoming video signal and processes it into digital data that is communicated to a viewer program running on a remote client computer over a LAN/WAN or the public Internet.
By addressing network issues from a remote location, you can simply manage issues from your desk, or even save yourself the hassle of traveling to a site in the middle of the night. Use a browser-based connection, even a cell phone or PDA, to reboot or administer a roomful of servers remotely—a real convenience.
KVMoIP products that feature virtual media technology take that convenience further. They enable a remote user to effortlessly move files from a mass storage device—a USB flash drive or CD-ROM drive, for instance—from your location to the computer on which you’re working. Cost savings are realized through reduced downtime and less travel. Plus, in some cases, there‘s no to need replace existing KVM switches with proprietary ones to get a KVMoIP server-control solution.
The Black Box difference
Black Box® ServSwitch™ KVMoIP solutions go further than many other KVMoIP products on the market. They not only enable you to access remote servers, but they do this at the BIOS level—important when you go need to troubleshoot from off-site and don’t want to a dispatch
a technician. Install or recover software applications and install OS patches from your location anywhere in the world. Plus, this BIOS-level control is possible regardless of the server’s brand or model and even works if the operating system is down.
The ServReach™ system is also designed for IT managers seeking global centralized KVM management in a world of mushrooming servers and complexity. This global platform works by consolidating all server access and devices via locally connected KVMoIP devices. All this hardware is then united under a single management appliance or software “umbrella” providing global, yet fully secure, out-of-band control.
The ServReach system works seamlessly with more than 500 variations of analog KVM switches from a multitude of vendors and manufacturers. Because it’s vendor independent, you don’t need to replace your data center’s entire KVM infrastructure. ServReach simply
grafts global centralized KVM management onto the existing server room/data center, aligning with third-party KVM switches already in place. This is done with the ServReach KVMGate (KVIP1000A), an IP gateway device designed to connect to each of the legacy KVM devices to provide global centralized KVM management for a fraction of the cost of competitive systems, ensuring a faster and greater ROI.
If you’re planning on opening or acquiring a new data center or a large number of new servers, the ServReach KVManager (KVMGR) is the answer. It can provide any-by-any access via the ServReach KVMCube (KVIP1001A), a compact, rackmountable, digital matrix IP device that gives fully secure, non-blocking access for any of the users to any of the servers simultaneously.
In addition, the servers controlled by legacy KVM switches via KVMGate can still be managed by the ServReach KVManager at
the same time as the new servers controlled through a gateway. With all the servers under the same KVManager umbrella, data centers can now easily acquire new servers and devices without having to worry about how to incorporate the new infrastructure with the old.
For more information on Black Box KVMoIP solutions, visit blackbox.com/go/ServReach. Find out more by watching a KVMoIP demo and accessing related white papers. collapse
Black Box Explains...CAT5: When more isnt always better.
In data communications applications, using products that exceed required capacities is usually not a problem. For example, if a 28.8K modem is required, a 33.6K or 56K model will work... more/see it nowjust fine.
But sometimes, more isnt better. Take KVM extenders designed to expect CAT5 and only CAT5 cable. Youd expect that Category 3 cable wouldnt be effective with these products, and you would be right.
But you may also assume that if Category 5 cable works fine, Category 5e, Category 6, and other higher-capacity cables would work even better. Unfortunately, this isnt the case, and heres why:
KVM extenders from many manufacturers, including ServSwitch CAT5 KVM Extenders, are designed specifically for the Category 5 specs defined by the TIA/EIA standard. Higher-level cables, such as Category 5e, have different characteristics and specifications. Although differences—specifically twist ratios—might seem small, they can have a negative impact on these extenders, which are expecting a true Category 5 transmission.
So with ServSwitch CAT5 KVM Extenders, you can think big with CAT5—just dont think bigger. collapse
Black Box Explains...USB 2.0 and USB OTG.
The Universal Serial Bus (USB) hardware (plug-and-play) standard makes connecting peripherals to your computer easy.
USB 1.1, introduced in 1995, is the original USB standard. It has two data rates:... more/see it now12 Mbps for devices such as disk drives that need high-speed throughput and 1.5 Mbps for devices such as joysticks that need much lower bandwidth.
In 2002, a newer specification, USB 2.0, or Hi-Speed USB 2.0, gained wide acceptance in the industry. This version is both forward- and backward-compatible with USB 1.1. It increases the speed of the peripheral to PC connection from 12 Mbps to 480 Mbps, or 40 times faster than USB 1.1!
This increase in bandwidth enhances the use of external peripherals that require high throughput, such as CD/DVD burners, scanners, digital cameras, video equipment, and more. USB 2.0 supports demanding applications, such as Web publishing, in which multiple high-speed devices run simultaneously. USB 2.0 also supports Windows® XP through a Windows update.
An even newer USB standard, USB On-The-Go (OTG), is also in development. USB OTG enables devices other than a PC to act as a host. It enables portable equipment—such as PDAs, cell phones, digital cameras, and digital music players—to connect to each other without the need for a PC host.
USB 2.0 specifies three types of connectors: the A connector, the B connector, and the Mini B connector. A fourth type of connector, the Mini A (used for smaller peripherals such as mobile phones), was developed as part of the USB OTG specification. collapse
Black Box Explains... TEMPEST standard and Common Criteria (EAL4+)
Common Criteria (EAL4+) defines a common set of tests regarding the process of the design, testing, verification, and shipping of new security products. Common Criteria enables customers to assess a... more/see it nowlevel of trust in how a product has been designed, tested, built, and shipped.
TEMPEST testing, while classified, is regarded as a process that assesses the threat of data linking by various covert electromagnetic eavesdropping mechanisms. The TEMPEST designation is often required by military organizations. TEMPEST, as a security standard, pertains to technical security countermeasures, standards, and instrumentation that prevent or minimize the exploitation of vulnerable data
communications equipment by technical surveillance or
Both testing standards are important, they just test for different things.
TEMPEST-Secure KVM Switches
For 2 or 4 ports, with USB, and DVI-I or VGA the ServSwitch Secure KVM Switch with USB (page 382) provides control and separation of up to four PCs connected to secure and unsecure networks through just one keyboard, monitor, and mouse.
High port-to-port electrical isolation, which facilitates data separation (RED/BLACK).
NSA tested and TEMPEST approved for and by the U.S. Air Force.
The low radiated emissions profile meets the appropriate national requirements for conducted/radiated electromagnetic emissions.
Switches are permanently hard wired, preventing access from one CPU to the others or access from one network to others.
External tamper-evident seals make it easy to spot attempted tampering.
Channel-to-channel 60-dB crosstalk isolation protects against signal snooping, so software tools and applications cannot be used to access any connected computer from another connected computer.
Users can safely switch among as many as four computers operating at different classification levels.
Common Criteria Evaluation Assurance to Level 4+
A newly developed switch, the ServSwitch Secure with USB and DVI, or VGA, or VGA and a Card Reader (pages 384–385), is being evaluated for Common Criteria Evaluation Assurance to Level 4+ (EAL4+). Common Criteria is an international standardized process for information technology security evaluation, validation, and certification. The Common Criteria scheme is supported by the National Security Agency through the National Information Assurance Program (NIAP).
The ServSwitch Secure KVM Switch with USB surpasses the security profiles of most other KVM switches. Along with the tamper-evident seals and other security features already mentioned, ServSwitch Secure KVM Switch with USB models feature these security measures:
The flow of keyboard and mouse data is unidirectional, so it’s not possible for the computer to send data along the keyboard and mouse signaling channels.
Keyboard and mouse devices can only be enumerated at the keyboard and mouse ports. Any other USB peripherals connected to these ports will be prohibited from operating, preventing, for example, a USB thumb drive from uploading or downloading unauthorized data.
At each channel switchover, the USB host controller circuit, which controls shared peripherals, erases its entire RAM. This prevents residual data from remaining in the channel after a channel change and being transferred to another computer.
Every time the channel is changed, shared USB peripherals are powered down, reset, and re-enumerated.
Every time the channel is changed, the USB host controller is also powered down and reset, further ensuring no transfer of residual data.
Dedicated DDC bus and EDID memory emulation at each port prevent the shared monitor link from being used as a covert attack channel.
With only one selection button per channel, the ServSwitch Secure models enable direct and unambiguous channel selection.
Hotkey and mouse switching are excluded, preventing remote control of the switch.
Ports are powered through the computer’s USB ports, while the shared keyboard, mouse, and monitor are powered by the switch’s power supply. The lack of a common power supply minimizes electronic signaling.
The switches with card readers have additional features, including active authentication verification and active tamper detection. collapse
Black Box Explains...Multicasting video over a LAN: Use the right switch.
In KVM extension applications where you want to distribute HD video across a network, you need to understand how it works and what kind of networking equipment to use with... more/see it nowyour extenders.
Think of your network as a river of data with a steady current of data moving smoothly down the channel. All your network users are like tiny tributaries branching off this river, taking only as much water (bandwidth) as they need to process data. When you start to multicast video, data, and audio over the LAN, those streams suddenly become the size of the main river. Each user is then basically flooded with data and it becomes difficult or impossible to do any other tasks. This scenario of sending transmissions to every user on the network is called broadcasting, and it slows down the network to a trickle. There are network protocol methods that alleviate this problem, but it depends on the network switch you use.
Unicast vs. multicasting, and why a typical Layer 2 switch isn’t sufficient.
Unicasting is sending data from one network device to another (point to point); in a typical unicast network, Layer 2 switches easily support these types of communications. But multicasting is transmitting data from one network device to multiple users. When multicasting with Layer 2 switches, all attached devices receive the packets, whether they want them or not. Because a multicast header does NOT have a destination IP address, an average network switch (a Layer 2 switch without supported capabilities) will not know what to do with it. So the switch sends the packet out to every network port on all attached devices. When the client or network interface card (NIC) receives the packet, it analyzes it and discards it if not wanted.
The solution: a Layer 3 switch with IGMPv2 or IGMPv3 and packet forwarding.
Multicasting with Layer 3 switches is much more efficient than with Layer 2 switches because it identifies the multicast packet and sends it only to the intended receivers. A Layer 2 switch sends the multicast packets to every device and, If there are many sources, the network will slow down because of all the traffic. And, without IGMPv2 or IGMPv3 snooping support, the switch can handle only a few devices sending multicasting packets.
Layer 3 switches with IGMP support, however, “know” who wants to receive the multicast packet and who doesn’t. When a receiving device wants to tap into a multicasting stream, it responds to the multicast broadcast with an IGMP report, the equivalent of saying, “I want to connect to this stream.” The report is only sent in the first cycle, initializing the connection between the stream and receiving device. If the device was previously connected to the stream, it sends a grafting request for removing the temporary block on the unicast routing table. The switch can then send the multicast packets to newly connected members of the multicast group.
Then, when a device no longer wants to receive the multicast packets, it sends a pruning request to the IGMP-supported switch, which temporarily removes the device from the multicast group and stream.
Therefore, for multicasting, use routers or Layer 3 switches that support the IGMP protocol. Without this support, your network devices will be receiving so many multicasting packets, they will not be able to communicate with other devices using different protocols, such as FTP. Plus, a feature-rich, IGMP-supported Layer 3 switch gives you the bandwidth control needed to send video from multiple sources over a LAN.