Types of KVM Switches
There are different types of KVM switches that are capable of transmitting various signals: VGA, DVI, HDMI, DisplayPort video signals, transparent USB 2.0 and 3.1, digital or analog audio, as well as serial formats like RS232. KVM switches can be combined
with KVM extenders, transmitting signals over CATx cabling, fiber optic cabling, or an IP network. KVM Switch types can be differentiated by the following criteria:
By type of connectivity:
Desktop KVM switches
Desktop KVM switches usually provide switching capabilities of between 2 to 8 source PCs to one or even two (i.e. dual-head) monitor(s). There are KVM switches for almost all types of display connectors including legacy analog VGA, digital interfaces
like DVI, DisplayPort, and HDMI. Desktop KVM Switches also provide connectivity for HID such as keyboards an mice over USB 1/2/3 or legacy PS/2. Some of them also provide capabilities of switching between analog and digital (embedded) audio in/out. Since
they are usually not big in size, they can be put on a desktop or even mounted behind a screen (vera mounting) or underneath a table.
KVM Matrix Switches (Connectivity over CATx, Fibre or an IP network)
KVM matrix switches are used to connect multiple users with multiple sources like PCs and servers. The term matrix derives from the fact, that users can access various different sources within one managed KVM network - creating a matrix of various switchable
endpoints. KVM matrices usually provide a specific number of ports to connect all endpoints over a transmission medium which can be CATx or fiber, utilizing either a proprietary transmission protocol or IP. KVM matrix switches are usually also combined with KVM extenders to connect all related machines and users over small to large distances (CATx: usually < 150m; Fibre: >150 m < 20km). There is a large number of different types of KVM matrix switches varying from central, fixed-port switches to modular, card-based ones, or even zero-client based IP systems that do not require a proprietary central switching unit and provide greater scalability. There's a wide range of supported display, peripheral, and audio interfaces, such as analog
VGA, SDI, Composite, digital DVI, DisplayPort, HDMI, USB 2.0/3.1, PS/2, serial formats such as RS232, Infrared, digital and analog audio and even more.
KVM over IP switches
IP KVM switches allow users to control multiple PCs over a network, from anywhere at any time, with integral IP remote access. These switches are used to monitor and control multiple PCs and servers either in a dedicated IP network, a LAN (Local Area
Network) or even over a WAN/Internet. These types of switches are usually intended for medium to large installations and data centers that require several users to manage a number of computers or servers. Usually, KVM matrix switches are combined
with KVM extenders to enable access from multiple consoles throughout multiple rooms, buildings or even sites.
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By type of signal distribution:
HDMI KVM Switches
HDMI KVM switches provide HDMI signal switching without compromising video quality. These switches offer fast switching times without delays. They are ideal for applications such as broadcast, high-end medical imaging, interactive digital signage, home
theatres, and even industrial automation.
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DVI KVM Switches
DVI KVM extenders are designed to provide a reliable digital video experience, overcoming the limitations of legacy analog formats such as VGA. These types of switches can support single-link or dual-link DVI-D or DVI-I and can even provide backward
compatibility to analog VGA signals using a passive or active video converter. These switches are ideal in critical enterprise-level applications where reliable digital image quality and fast switch-over of redundant hardware are required, for example
in broadcast playout centers, process monitoring and control, staging labs, and data centers.
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DisplayPort KVM Switches
DisplayPort KVM switches are especially useful for peripheral sharing when users need to share more USB peripherals among all computers. Like this, it's possible to use one set of keyboard, mouse, and monitor to work on one computer while USB peripherals
are connected to other computers. This helps to access high-performance graphical workstations and critical video processors from secure and temperature-controlled equipment rooms while maintaining the same user desktop experience for editors, 3D
artists and control room operators.
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VGA KVM Switches
VGA KVM extenders are ideal for an affordable smooth real-time switching experience and are capable of switching up to 1920x1200 VGA signals. These switches support dual, triple, or quad VGA video connectors, providing you with easy access to video heads
on each channel.
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