What is a KVM key?

If you manage multiple computers, you may quickly lose control of your mice, keyboards, and monitors. KVM switches can keep the number of devices to a minimum using relatively simple hardware or software. Let’s see how they work.

Simply put, a KVM switch allows you to switch from one computer source (or computer case) to another while using the same keyboard, monitor, and mouse; In fact, it is an abbreviation for KVM: keyboard, video, and mouse. This means that if you have multiple computers to work with, you don’t need to purchase separate monitors, keyboards, and mice for each computer. Alternatively, you can just buy one of each and use the switch to switch between computers.

However, the term KVM is somewhat of a misnomer, and while the original KVM switches only managed these three things, modern switches often manage more, including things like audio and USB ports. There are even KVM switches that only switch a single input, such as the Gana 3-Port HDMI Switch, although they are usually indicated simply by the data they are dealing with, such as the volume switch or keyboard switch.

How exactly do they work? Well, in the past, Plug and Play technology didn’t exist, so every time you wanted to change your keyboard or mouse, you had to restart your computer so that the CPU could detect the hardware. Although this is no longer the case today, KVM switches perform a similar function: they trick the CPU into believing there is a connection, so that when switching computers everything is fine.

The way this is done is a bit complicated, but it basically mimics the computer’s peripherals and constantly maintains a “false” signal. When switching stations, the KVM switch replaces the emulated signal with the actual signal from your device, allowing for a smooth, imperceptible transmission.

Explanation of KVM Key Types

KVM keys come in two main forms: hardware and software.

Hardware switches are the most common and most likely to encounter or use. For example, consumer KVM switches can typically switch between two and four sources, although some may have as many as eight, and are marketed a bit more to those running small offices or businesses. For large organizations, some large KVM switches can be up to 64 and sometimes connected to a server running many virtual machines that many people need to access.

Besides the number of sources you can switch between, there is also the video type, with the most common KVM switches being for VGA. Fortunately, KVM switches with HDMI and Display Port are becoming more popular, but they tend to be a bit more expensive than VGA switches.

Another option is how many monitors you want to support, with one being the most popular and three available, although rare. Again, you’re unlikely to find an HDMI KVM capable of supporting two or more displays, although this technology is becoming more prevalent as of this writing in early 2022. Perhaps in a few years, we may see HDMI as the default standard, rather than That’s from VGA, at least in the consumer market.

As for soft KVM switches, they are a bit mislabeled, as they generally don’t support screen switching, and so are technically KM switches. They work by installing an application on your computer that allows you to directly control the mouse and keyboard on any computer connected to your network. These switches are usually very useful in large companies with many servers that need to be controlled by many different management and IT people.

Do I need a KVM key?

KVM switches can be very useful for personal use, although you may need to spend about $50 on the low end like a PWAY KVM switch, it largely depends on your usage. If you find that you are constantly switching between two computers, the $50 entry cost may be worth it. Or, if you don’t have a lot of desk space and can only fit one monitor, mouse, and keyboard, a KVM switch can be a great investment.

Another option is to use the KVM program and turn on an additional monitor; This way you get at least some space while still being able to use the other computer resource functionally.

If you run a business that tends to manage a large number of servers or devices, a KVM switch can also be very useful, especially softswitch switches, as it allows you to access the devices remotely, giving you the ability to get there.

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