What’s Trending in the World of KVM?

  • By David Kirk

What’s Trending in the World of KVM?

Contributing Editor David Kirk rounds up the latest developments in KVM (Keyboard, Video and Mouse) technology...

The transition from panel-per-product to computer-based device control via Keyboard, Video-display and Mouse dates back to the earliest generation IBM PCs, introduced in 1981. The mouse itself - as a pointing device rather than a supplementary cat food - was created nearly 20 years earlier by Douglas Engelbart at the Stanford Research Institute in Menlo Park, California. It opened the floodgates to the graphical user interfaces which control many aspects of modern life. Touch screens came later, in the 1990s, accelerated in popularity by the introduction of the Apple iPad in 2010. KVM switches are designed to make the entire business of computer-based device control easier than ever. This short summary looks at what’s new in KVM products.

Adder Technology has added new features to its ADDERLink INFINITY 4000 series including support for HDR10 video standards and the introduction of touch control. Users working with 5K IP KVM can create a matrix of up to 16 endpoints. Also introduced are two new dongle-style KVM transmitters that bring HDMI and Display-Port connectivity to Adder’s ZeroU series. These offer video resolutions of up to 2560 x 1600, two-channel HDMI audio and USB 2.0 compatibility. “Our customers are constantly juggling how to maximize rack space and IT efficiency, while adapting their IT infrastructure to support their evolving technology needs,” comments Adder’s Senior Product Manager, John Halksworth. “As KVM often lies at the heart of our customers’ IT function, it is important that we continue to innovate to meet these changing demands, remove connectivity pain points and facilitate growth. 

These new additions to our ZeroU range enable our customers to embrace the flexibility the need to use any connectivity type that suits their application - both now and into the future.” Apantac offers various KVM over IP products with features such as VGA, DVI, HDMI input/output support, resolutions up to 4K/30, power-over-Ethernet, single or dual transmit or receive in a single module, and IP transport over copper or fibre. Users can extend and/or switch video, keyboard and mouse functions, USB 2.0, embedded and analogue audio, RS-232. The receivers can scale incoming video up or down and allows the console monitor always to see the same resolution. The receiver scalers (one monitor per receiver) also allow users to feed video walls of up to 8 x 8 displays. Up to four computers can be accommodated. USB 2.0 devices such as touch screens, tablets or USB drives are also supported. Each Tx and Rx module is autonomous and has a configuration web page so no extra server is required to run a matrix. “We also offer a KVM over IP transmitter card for the openGear platform as an alternative to using standalone transmission boxes for each computer source in a technical operations room,” adds Apantac’s President, Thomas Tang. “Up to ten OG-KVM-IP-Tx cards can be mounted in a single openGear chassis with redundant power supplies.”

Black Box’s new Secure range of KVM switches are designed to achieve security against potential data leakage and hacking. Data-path isolation is provided between systems and networks to reduce the risk of hardware tampering and safeguard the network from accidental transfer, unauthorized access, or compromise of critical data. “Building on our wide range of NIAP 3.0 certified Secure KVM switches, we will release new NIAP 4.0 certified devices that address the latest security profiles while providing industry-first KVM switch functionality and the very latest in flexible video connectivity,” says Black Box Product Manager David Isola. Like earlier-generation Black Box Secure KVM switches, the NIAP 4.0 certified products will offer filters, data detection and data protection features.

IHSE’s new Draco Tera Flex matrix switch is designed to deliver enhanced performance and flexibility in a more compact design and at lower cost than its predecessors. It includes features from the Draco Tera Enterprise series of switches - SNMPv3, LDAPS, multilingual on-screen display, encrypted communi-cation for maximum security and fast booting. Tera Flex devices can now be interconnected via a de-centralised matrix grid. Three housing variants are available (1, 2 and 4 U) with between 16 and 160 ports. All ports can be used flexibly as inputs or outputs. An integrated power supply and redundant network connection are standard. Tera Flex is fully compatible with all Draco extenders and Tera KVM switches.

kvm-tec’s KVM System 4Future is a 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution HD and 4KExtender which can be combined in one matrix with 2,000 or more crosspoints, including a backup network. The company’s Real Remote system and Gateway2go service offer access to virtual machines as well as remote work-places.

Newest feature for the kvm-tec media4Kconnect DP 1.2 is 5K super ultrawide resolution 5120 x 1440 by 60 Hz support. The super ultrawide resolution works with the compressed and uncompressed versions of media4Kconnect.  Specified latency time is less than 2 ms even at 5K resolution. 

Legrand’s Raritan Dominion KX III KVM-over-IP switch provides one, two, four or eight users with BIOS-level, remote management of eight, 16, 32 or 64 servers in a single switch. Standard features include DVI/HDMI/DisplayPort/USB-C digital video, VGA analog video, virtual media, audio, smart card/CAC with new smartcard/CAC/PKI login to KX III, and mobile access. The Dominion KX III is suitable for general computer and dynamic broadcast applications. New DSAM modules allow an operator to manage up to eight serial devices. “The KX III  is ideal for server rooms, test labs and the largest enterprise data centres,” says Marketing VP Mike Grubb. “It offers Java-free high performance remote management of servers, workstations and serial devices. The switches can be deployed individually or with the Raritan CommandCenter secure gateway.” For broadcast control rooms and studios, the KX III and new KX IV user stations provide KVM-over-IP access. The user interface supports multiple 1080p and 4K video sessions at 30 frames per second with simultaneous access to multiple servers, two or three monitors, audio and virtual media. The Dominion KX IV user station supports 4K video resolution and up to three monitors. The user stations integrate with the CommandCenter to support centralised login and access for large deployments.

Matrox Video’s Extio 3 IP KVM extenders now support KVM control over internet. This new mode of operation allows broadcast and post-production facilities to expand work-from-home remote programs by enabling off-site operators and directors with secure access to their powerful workstations and specialized equipment. Featuring 4K and multi-monitor KVM extension and switching support with secure network connectivity—and the first 4Kp60 IP KVM to support LAN, WAN, and internet over one GbE—users can now control, share, and manage systems and applications as they would on-premises for an optimized remote working experience. “We are very excited to bring another level of flexibility with our Extio 3 product line, as organizations can now standardize on one KVM-over-IP product to control their systems over LAN, WAN, and internet,” said Caroline Injoyan, business development manager at Matrox Video.

Muxlab has introduced an IP-compatible KVM extender allowing HDMI and USB equipment to be connected across distances of up to 100 metres via an Ethernet LAN. The extender supports 1920 x 1200 and 1080p60 resolution via Cat5e/6 cable in multipoint-to-point and point-to-multipoint configurations. The transmitter (500770-TX) and receiver (500770-RX) support PoE if used with a PoE Ethernet Switch. The transmitter terminates to a computer server/workstation via an HDMI and USB port. The receiver terminates to an HDMI display and supports up to four USB devices such as a keyboard, mouse, printer, drawing pad, storage device and camera, via a four port USB hub. A single receiver can be switched via hot key sequences to any transmitter on the network, allowing a single operator to manage multiple servers and workstations in a distributed KVM application.

Nortek’s Gefen EXT-VGAKVM-LANRX extends VGA, USB, two-way analog audio, RS-232, and IR over a Gigabit local area network. Resolutions of up to 1920 x 1200 are supported. The send and receive units can be automatically or manually configured via unique IP addresses to allow the connection of multiple units to the same network. Multiple receivers can simultaneously connect to any send unit with-in the network including Gefen KVM over LAN products with HDMI, DVI, or VGA video.

This allows the creation of a virtual crosspoint matrix with just over 65,000 send and receive units, depending on the network bandwidth and number of ports on the network switch. Any combination of HDMI, DVI, and VGA senders and receivers can be used. Each receiver has a built-in Ethernet switch and two additional RJ-45 Ethernet ports to allow for the connection of computers and other IP-enabled devices. USB 2.0 data rates up to 480 megabit/s are supported in addition to backward-compatibility with USB 1.1.

Each receiver unit provides two USB ports with up to 500 milliamps current draw per connector, allowing access to keyboard, mouse, and other compatible devices. Bidirectional analog audio capability enables audio to be transported between the send and receive units. The receiver incorporates a microphone pre-amplifier. IR commands from the receiver side can be extended to sources connected to any of the senders. RS-232 serial control can also be extended between each sender and receiver.

Set-up and configuration are via an integral web browser. VGA KVM over IP is intended for large scale remote workstation access and digital signage applications.