Monday, February 28, 2005

KVM Splitters

What is a KVM Splitter?A KVM Splitter creates 2 or more Keyboard, Mouse and Monitor access points into one single computer. Each set of Keyboard, Mice and Monitors will act as though they are connected directly to the Computer.

A KVM Splitter can be used if an office or a manufacturing plant has a requirement that needs multiple monitoring stations accomplishing similar or identical tasks.
Instead of purchasing a new computer, one might consider adding a cost-effective KVM Splitter which will allow 2 or more users sharing capabilities of one computer without the use of installing software on the target system.
A KVM splitter can also be referred as a KVM Sharing device or a reverse KVM Switch.

Modes of Operation:KVM Splitters will not allow each user to work on different programs. This is most likely the foremost concern with a majority of end-users. All users accessing the KVM splitter will be required to view the same application at all times. Although users will not have control with selecting alternate programs, some KVM splitters offer modes of control to limit user activity.
For instance: NTI’s PS2 KVM Splitter has multiple modes of operation. User 1 mode will allow only User 1 to type or activate the mouse. All remaining users under this mode will have Video Only functionality. User 1 will have to change the mode back to Delay Mode in order for all users to retain Keyboard and Mouse control.

Delay Mode is the most widely used function incorporated by KVM Splitter manufacturers. Delay mode permits active users the ability to lock out idled users with a specific amount of time before idled users are allowed to gain access to the computer. This function allows the active user the ability to review the work they have done on the computer before they relinquish control.

The 2 (or more) second delay will begin after the last keystroke or mouse movement is made.
Raritan’s PC Share takes the delay mode function a bit further by offering users the ability to change the delay mode from 2 to 99 seconds.

Product Offerings:Aten offers their CS221 2-User KVM Splitter at a low cost due to its simplicity. Although the CS221 will allow users to choose between PS2, Serial and AT peripherals; the CS221 can not be expanded beyond 2 Users.
Auto, Manual and Private modes can be selected for operation. However, multiple dip switches must be changed in order to activate each setting. Since the Computer to KVM Splitter cable is included, users will need to plug their peripherals directly into the CS221. No additional accessories will be needed beyond the CS221.

The PC Share by Raritan has 2 unique products in one. The Raritan PC Share is a 5 user KVM Splitter -- 3 users connect locally and 2 users will have remote access up to 1000’ away. The 2 remote users will access the PC Share through Raritan’s Cat 5 Reach system. On its own, the Cat 5 Reach is a simple KVM Extender over Cat 5. Raritan installs the transmitter portion of the Cat 5 Reach into the PC Share. Remote users can extend up to 1000’ away by placing the external receiver box at their User Station.

The remaining 3 users will all be required to connect directly to the PC Share. Remote receivers as well as user cables must be purchased in addition to the PC Share. The KVM Splitter to Computer cable is included.

Another KVM Splitter offered is the MultiStation by Rose Electronics. The MultiStation is one more example of a KVM Splitter in which multiple users connect on a first-come, first-served basis to a single computer. The rack-mountable MultiStation is a similar version of a KVM Splitter versus the ones previously discussed. One major difference is proprietary User and Computer cabling must be purchased in addition when connecting to the MultiStation.

Please contact DirectNET for additional information regarding KVM Splitters. DirectNET -- your source for datacenter, NOC, and server management solutions.