KVM extenders extend (Keyboard, Video, and Mouse) video and USB signals to a longer distance so that the operator can control the computing device even though it’s away. There are different types – 4K KVM extenders, HDMI KVM extenders, DP KVM extenders, Dual monitor KVM extenders, etc.
What’s A KVM Extender
A KVM extender enables users to control the distant servers/CPUs. Unlike an HDMI extender, it extends not only video but also USB signals, which help send commands back and forth (usually through a keyboard and mouse) between the operator and the computing device.
Generally speaking, a computer is connected to the monitor, keyboard, and mouse through HDMI cables and USB cables. However, when you have to put the server in a separate room apart from the KVM, they are not long enough. That’s where a KVM extender comes to the rescue.
The extender consists of two boxes, a transmitter, and a receiver, which are connected via an Ethernet cable. They convert different types of data to run through Ethernet (so that the data can be transmitted over a longer distance with less loss).
HDMI is the most popular. DP extenders are available as well. They extend DP (DisplayPort) video signals instead of HDMI. In addition to video and USB ports, a KVM extender sometimes integrates other interfaces such as an audio interface for a headset or a microphone, RS232 for an extended control system, etc.
- Communication mediums including copper, fiber, wireless, etc.
- Support for HDMI/DP/VGA/DVI displays
- Dual head/single monitor setup
- Support for USB 2.0
- Connections for audio/microphone
How Does It Work?
A KVM extender contains a transmitter(TX) and a receiver(RX). Most of them are connected through a CATx cable. The TX will connect to the computer end and the RX will connect to the display and USB devices at the user station.
Besides video, audio, and USB ports, some KVM extenders will integrate RS232 and infrared (IR) connections for control. The KVM transmitter encrypts the signals from the computer and sends them over to the KVM receiver unit. These signals will be decoded by the receiver unit and streamed to the devices like display, keyboard, mouse, and headset.
Types of KVM Extenders
- HDMI KVM extender: A extender transmits HDMI and USB data for a longer distance.
- DP KVM extender: A extender transmits DP and USB data for a longer distance.
- Fiber KVM extender: A fiber extender is designed for long-distance transmission and can run over 12 miles (approximately a 10-minute drive).
- KVM extender via CAT/Ethernet: Most AV Access KVM extenders are HDBseT extenders via CAT. In our everyday life, extenders via copper CAT cables are mostly used. They are able to run the data over 300-400 feet and it is enough for most uses in family scenarios, or at any commercial venues. They work through a direct connection.
- KVM extender over IP: AV over IP solutions are more flexible than HDBaseT extenders. KVM extenders over IP can be connected through a network switch in a LAN and have all devices connected in a more flexible way. Read this to explore the differences between KVM extenders vs. KVM over IP.
- Can people control multiple devices with one set of KVM? Not if your extenders support only point-to-point connection like HDBaseT extenders (unless you use a KVM switch); Yes, if you use extenders over IP, connect them through a network switch and flexibly configure and match your devices within the LAN.
You may be interested: AV Access KVM extenders
How A KVM Extender Is Used?
You already know the basics, so what are they used for? People use them for different purposes. Basically, it works for multi-site data streaming, remote data monitoring, and data security.
Some gamers play games everywhere. I mean they play in the game room, sometimes in the bedroom, or in the home theater with a better AV experience.
I noticed that one of my clients plays games on his patio while bathing in the breeze. What a life. And each environment creates a different gaming experience.
KVM extenders help gamers play games at multiple places using the same game console. Once the extenders are well installed and connected to the game console, the KVM on the receiver side would be enough for a joyful gaming break. It makes the game console really mobile (without actually moving the machine and the pack of cables).
If you are using extenders over IP with a LAN, you may be able to launch a LAN party then with your gamer friends. Well, you would need more game consoles then.
KVM extenders are widely used for security system installation as well. They connect the security cameras to monitor screens where people can see real-time pictures in the room.
They are used by families, commercial centers, and factories for security or monitoring needs.
Enterprises tend to establish a server center (or a data center) and store all the servers in the same place for central management.
A data center is a place where all servers can be cooled down and secured in a stable state. KVM extenders enable employees to operate and control the server in the data center from their desktops.
This is good for servers, and good for the employees as well (a better ergonomic working environment).
In a family, people use extenders to move the bulk of machines to the basement on the media rack. So they live in a more comfortable place away from the noise and heat with more space.
Save your hardware costs
Working from home (WFH) has now become many people’s life. There is a trick to separate work from life – entertain in the living room or game room; and work in the workspace. Don’t mix up. Giving a certain function to your space helps people establish good habits.
While moving the equipment here and there cause inconvenience, and sometimes troubles. KVM extenders help you make the best out of the one.
You have one PC in your office room where you can work and e-meet your colleagues online; You will be able to entertain and play games on the same PC in your living room when the HDMI and USB signs are extended there.
KVM extenders make the best out of one machine and cut down the hardware costs.
KVM extender Key Considerations
There are some key questions you shall ask yourself before paying for a KVM extender kit:
- Are the interfaces match your devices? (Video: HDMI, DisplayPort, DVI, VGA, etc.)
- What resolution and refresh rate does it support? (HD, 4K@30hz, 4K@60hz, 4K@120hz, etc.)
- How many USB ports are available in the hub?
- What method is used for the connection? (HDBaseT, over IP, over fiber, etc.)
- How far will the boxes extend? (for example, 200ft/300ft/400ft)
- For single screen or dual screens?