Friday, April 09, 2004

Connecting Computers that Have USB and PS/2

Once question that we often hear involves using a mix of computers that support USB or PS/2 or even both types of peripherals. They want to know what the best switch would be for their setup and of course the answer is not an easy one.

The best way to handle this situation is to try to use the same type of peripherals on all machines to eliminate as many points of failure as possible. This means if you want to use your classic PS/2 keyboard and mouse you will either need to:

  1. Make sure all the computers you want to attach support PS/2 for keyboard and mouse, or
  2. Get a KVM Switch that supports the use of PS/2 peripherals but also allows you to control USB computers.

In situation #1 the majority of switches listed at will work. There are a lot listed there so feel free to call for help determining which one is best for you. If situation #2 is best for you there are a few switches that will work for you such as Belkin's 2-Port KVM Switch F1DS102J or the 4-Port KVM F1DS104J. If you need to support other computers such as Sun systems you may want to look at a higher end switch such as the Avocent SwitchView 1000 4 Port KVM Switch w/ OSD 4SV1000-001.

If you have a nice USB keyboard and mouse and would like to use them make sure that all the computers you want to attach support USB as well. A common list of operating systems that support USB are Windows 98/98SE/ME/2000/XP and Mac OS 8.6 or later. Sun, Linux and Unix systems are a little more difficult since they do not fully support the USB standard natively. Some USB KVM Switches state that they support those systems so if you have one of them pay attention to this. After you are sure that all of your systems will support a USB KVM Switch select one that fits your needs the best and you are set!

If you have any questions about USB and PS/2 related to KVM Switches feel free to email
us at