Thursday, March 18, 2004

What Is A KVM Switch?

A KVM Switch is a piece of hardware that allows you to control multiple computers from a single Keyboard, Monitor and Mouse (KVM). There are a wide variety of KVM Switches that allow you to control different types of systems and in different ways. Here is a short list of the different types of KVM's:

Single User KVM's: Aimed at smaller installations these switches allow a single person to access as many computers as they need to from a single console.

Multiple User KVM's: As you would guess these switches would allow multiple people access to as many computers as they need to from multiple consoles.

Analog KVM's: These are KVM's that operate by having a direct cable connection from the computer to the KVM Switch to the console. The cables can be Coax or Cat5 depending on the switch.

Digital KVM's: Also known as KVM Over IP. These allow you to control your servers over any IP connection from anywhere. This can be on the company LAN or across the world. There are differing methods to the access portion such as some use software and some use any internet browser. The computers still have to have a direct connection from the computer to the KVM Switch but the user that is controlling the computers does not need to be directly connected to the KVM Switch.

Technology Specific KVM's: Since there are different types of computers there are different type's of KVM's to accommodate them. Some of the different technologies can be PS/2, USB KVM, Sun, Mac KVM, DVI KVM, ADC, Dual Monitor KVM, Serial and there are more. These types of switches are great if you work in a homogeneous environment but that is rarely the case. Usually server rooms have a mixture of technologies and they want to control them from a single console which leads to Multi-Platform KVM's.

Multi-Platform KVM's: These KVM's can handle a wide variety of technologies such as PC's, Mac's, Sun's, Routers, Serial Devices, and more.

Of course many switches combine different types of KVM's such as a Single User Analog KVM, or Multiple User Multi-Platform Digital KVM and so on. The combinations are almost limitless and if you have a complex situation it can be difficult to find out what you really need. This was just a brief overview and there is much more to the technology. We will be posting more information as time passes and you can always email us at, visit us at or call us at 1-877-586-6654.