You have just set up your new home office, or have started work at a new company. As part of your job, you perhaps need to use two, sometimes three computers at your work station. In addition to work PCs, you may also want to play video games or watch movies on your other PCs after you get off work. However, setting up three monitors, keyboards and three mice can make your desk far too crowded. Plus, there’s the additional hassle of moving around to use each PC. How can you even accomplish this? It there any device that can allow you to quickly and easily access several computers with just one set of monitor, keyboard and mouse? There is, and it’s called a KVM switch.
What is a KVM Switch?
KVM stands for Keyboard, Video (monitor) and Mouse. KVM switch’s main function is to control, switch between, and manage multiple PCs via a single keyboard, monitor and mouse.
Generally speaking, a KVM switch is usually a box-like hardware device which connects one set of keyboard, monitor and mouse to two or more PCs. The PCs are connected to the switch, and the switch is connected to other peripherals. The switch can improve work efficiency, save desk space and money by enabling you to use multiple PCs with just one set of keyboard, monitor and mouse.
Four Types of KVM Switches
With computer technology evolving rapidly, so do KVM switches which lead to the development of various types for different systems and applications. Here’re four types of KVM switches.
From the perspective of computer access and control, KVM switches can be divided into two main types:
The single user KVM switch: This is actually an entry-level KVM switch for small installations such as SOHO or remote office. It allows a single person to access as many computers as they need to from a single console. As this kind of KVM switch has been widely used by common families or office employees, it is what we mainly discuss about in this blog.
The multi-user KVM switch: This is employed for larger installations or data centers which require several users to manage a number of PCs or servers, like 16 users accessing up to 64 servers.
From the perspective of application and technology, KVM switches can be categorized into the two types below:
The analog KVM switch: Analog KVM switches operate itself by having a direct cable connection from the computer to it, then to the console. The cables can be Coax or Cat5 based on the switch.
The digital KVM switch: Also known as KVM over IP switch. This KVM solution is usually composed of several transmitters and receivers, which are hooked up via an Ethernet switch for KVM extension and switching. You can freely add or reduce the number of transmitters or receivers you need.
The Benefits of Using a KVM Switch
You usually need to purchase several sets of keyboard, mice and monitors if you need to control multiple PCs. However, it can create clutter and take up valuable space to keep a row of large monitors with keyboards and mice at one desk or in one rack. A KVM switch was “born” from the demands of saving space and costs, and increasing productivity. General speaking, the main benefits of employing a KVM switch for home office are as follows:
First and foremost, it enables multiple computer control. Self-employed professionals can have quick and easy access to several PCs from their keyboard, monitor and mouse setup. Secondly, it can reduce clutter and make your office desk tidy by cutting down on the number of keyboards, monitors and mice required. Last but not least, it is quite cost-saving as you don’t need to invest in extra computer equipment and save much more money. Some KVM switches support USB peripherals, thus eliminating the need for separate USB hubs and further saving more cost.
In short, a KVM switch provides a quick and cost-effective way to access several PCs with just a single monitor, keyboard and mouse. It can save more space and cost, improve work efficiency and facilitate your life while working from home, especially during this pandemic period.