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KVM switches can vastly improve your efficiency, keep your PC’s safe and secure while de-cluttering workstation desks – all great benefits unless you choose a KVM that doesn’t support the features that today’s users demand.

When you are choosing your next KVM switch, make sure it meets your every requirement – we’ve prepared this handy eight-point list so you make the right choices.

1. Connectivity

KVM switches are normally installed in high pressure environments and you must be able to instantly view and control a critical system, whatever the operating system (OS) using a standard keyboard and mouse. You also want to have guaranteed a guaranteed, secure connection that isn’t dependent on the performance of your standard office network. When you have found a KVM switch that offers the performance you are looking for then arrange to try it for real before you buy.

2. Operational ergonomics

Gone are the days when a double shift key and a poor on-screen display (OSD) are acceptable. Users now demand a modern OSD, hot keys and the ability to monitor and control multiple PC’s simulators. They also require  totally transparent USB  operation for peripherals together with extended desktops. All of this needs to be available with no lag whatsoever. Check if you can try a system before you buy to make sure that the KVM switch doesn’t hinder your business workflows.

3. Performance levels

Not all KVM switch systems are equal. Check that the image quality is high, with no visible compression artefacts, and that the system delivers zero latency performance in every operational state – any more than 20 milliseconds is unacceptable and much less (ideally zero latency!) is more preferable . Also check that the USB performance matches the video performance this often gets overlooked. Finally check the distance the KVM will reach out to.

4. System expansion

As your business grows, your KVM switch system needs to seamlessly grow also. It’s best to choose a KVM switch that uses Off-The-Shelf (OTS) networking hardware so you can grow with less pain plus you need to choose a KVM switch solution that can grow above and beyond your expectations. Just like power sockets in your home, you will always end up needing more KVM end points; so, you should always choose a KVM switch system that can easily grow with (end even beyond!) your needs.

5. Cost of ownership

While some KVM switches seem completely priced at first sight – make sure you ask about the true cost of ownership. Will you be charged licensing fees, do you need a costly control server and are the features that are shown in the brochure available as standard or are they expensive add-on options? Also ask about the system MTBF, how long is the warranty that the supplier offers and whether this includes fast support from an expert on your time zone.

6. Fanless operation

One of the key benefits of using a KVM is decluttering workspaces but also making them quieter as noisy PC’s are moving into the rack room – so why would you place a fan cooled unit in your operator’s desk area? What’s more, if your end points don’t have passive cooling – they have another component that could fail, plus the fans will be pull dust and dirt into your end points as the unit can not be sealed.

7.  Automated control

With any KVM system there will be occasions when an end point locks up. Lower end solutions don’t tend to have any RS-232 automation connectivity and the end point will be reset instead using a remote power controller but the need for this additional hardware and complexity actually adds significant cost which might easily offset the cost of a more stable solution with RS-232. You won’t make any friends by making users run to the rack room during a high pressure event or conference – let automation be your friend!

8. HDCP

HDCP touches many parts of our world and is a technology that your next KVM system needs to master without doubt! The alternative is to heavily restrict the interoperability of your business systems across your network. 

tvONE brand, Magenta Research, has offered large-scale, high-performance video transmission systems for over 20 years – now the same high levels of performance are available on your network with the Pathfinder KVM over IP. To find out more click here.