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Issue of November 2005 
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Interface

A new generation of KVMs

Jerry Liu, Assistant Vice-president, Aten International, says that second generation KVM switches provide significant benefits over the previous lot.

What are the limitations of first generation KVM switches?

The first-generation KVM switches are mechanical in nature and act like on or off switches. When you change from one system to another using the switch on the KVM, the device mechanically disconnects the users’ devices from one system, and connects them to another.

Due to the inherent nature of mechanical switches, computer systems may crash when users try to switch from one device to another. Users may lose settings that affect the accuracy of your mouse when performing such a mechanical switch. Moreover, users need to turn on computers one at a time, which is time-consuming.

What are the benefits of the second generation of KVM switches?

The KVM switch technology has been reinforced significantly and quickly to meet the demanding management needs of a company. The second-generation intelligent KVMs perform the connection electronically inside the KVM such that all systems connected to the KVM recognise they are always connected to end user devices. Electronic KVMs do this by spoofing or simulating the devices so that the attached systems never know that a switch occurs. This simulation is less harsh on attached systems.

Can KVM switches use the benefits of wireless technology?

As wireless technology is one of the most promising technologies nowadays, KVM switch vendors will develop new models leveraging wireless connectivity.

The technology puts wireless in the middle when it is desirable to have IT managers move around the building. Any handheld computer becomes a full administrative console, allowing an administrator to manage, interact with, or even restart a server, router, hub, UPS, or other KVM-compatible network devices.

—Soutiman Das Gupta

 
     
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