(1) See also KVM.|
(2) (Keyboard Video Mouse switch) A device used to connect a keyboard, mouse and monitor to two or more computers. KVM switches are used to save space on a desktop when multiple computers are used by one user. They are also widely deployed to control groups of servers in a datacenter (see lights out server room). Some KVM switches support terminals at both ends of the connection allowing local and remote access to all of the machines.
Switches may have standard VGA, mouse and keyboard ports and use standard cables or a combined video-mouse-keyboard cable to reduce wire clutter. Some switches have only one port per computer and require a special cable.
KVM Over Longer Distances
The distance between the user and the computers can be extended up to several hundred feet. The keyboard, video and mouse plug into a "KVM extender," which is cabled to its counterpart remote KVM unit that is attached to the computer.
KVM devices can also control machines across the Internet or attached to the LAN. Software in the client PC converts keyboard, video and mouse signals into IP packets that are sent over the network. At the receiving end, the IP-based KVM switch is cabled to the network and to the computers. With an IP-to-KVM device, standard KVM switches can be used over an IP network. The IP-to-KVM unit converts IP packets to KVM signals.
StarTech.com makes the StarView line of KVM switches. The KVM cables shown here combine keyboard, monitor and mouse cables into one for less clutter. These units control, four, eight and 16 computers.