A KVM (Keyboard, Video and Mouse) switch is a hardware device that lets you control multiple PCs, servers, digital signage players and more from a single keyboard, video display monitor and mouse. It also allows you to switch and route signals between all source devices and workspaces.
KVM switches are in general located between the user and the source devices. Keyboard, Video and Mouse from the user console are connected directly to the KVM switch ports. Computers and other source devices are linked either through 3-in-1 proprietary interface cables or through a standard network cable and a zero-RU dongle in HD environments.
Advantages of KVM Switches
One advantage of KVM switches is that servers can be located remotely in a centralized, secure, climate-controlled area where their noise and heat will not impact operations. The user has the same experience compared to direct computer connections but with reduced clutter and a clean ergonomic work space allowing much faster response times. KVM switches also save money by lowering equipment costs, streamlining maintenance and reducing energy usage to cool your server rooms.
KVM Switch Applications
KVM switches are used across a wide range of industries and applications to provide remote PC access, improve workspace ergonomics, secure computers in safeguarded locations and protect access to data. Broadcasters, for example, rely on KVM switches to distribute lossless compression or zero compression video signals in real time. For manufacturing, KVM switches improve reliability and enhance control of machines through operator terminals and machine interfaces. In healthcare settings, KVM provides a quiet, uncluttered workspace as well as pixel-perfect medical image visualization. The military relies on KVM switches for quick, multisite access to mission-critical data from anywhere. Command and control centers use KVM to make better, faster decisions with real-time data display and extended, secure information-sharing.
Additional KVM Solutions
If you don’t need to control multiple computers but you still want to locate PCs or servers in a centralized, secure area, you can use a KVM extender. This device offers point-to-point extension of computer signals over a certain physical distance. KVM extenders are ideal for applications such as post-production rooms or sound studios, where the noise of fans and machines would be undesirable.
More complex applications may require a KVM matrix switch. This technology is ideal for medium to large installations where multiple users manage multiple computers and servers across several rooms, buildings or sites. Air traffic control rooms, for example, often require KVM matrix switches so controllers can access numerous data sources simultaneously for improved situational awareness.
For remote control and management of your network, you can use KVM over IP switches to access PCs and servers from anywhere via a dedicated IP network, WAN, LAN or the internet. Additionally, a KVM management platform such as Boxilla can help you scale up to worldwide enterprise access for up to thousands of users and servers.
Get the Guide to KVM Switching and Extension
To learn more about the full range of KVM switches and KVM extenders available for your network, download The Complete Guide to KVM Switching & Extension