Saturday, August 15, 2009

Looking for an iogear kvm switch? Try the GCS632U 2 port

This KVM switch did the trick for me. For an iogear kvm switch, I was happy and think they have decently made hardware. In this writeup I will give you some comparisons on some of the differences between this iogear kvm switch and its older brother, the GCS632U.

1) There are no hotkeys with this iogear KVM switch. This is a remote that is hard wired to the KVM, and you have to toggle this hardwired button everytime you want to switch computers. This isn't the best option for me, as I would prefer hotkeys, and just pressing keyboard strokes is so much more smooth than getting up and switching it manually. The button would end up being a point of failure at some point also.

2) The newer iogear KVM switch GCS632 uses just one USB cable to go back to the server, which is convenient because it cuts down on cabling and clutter. The older GCS22U had 2 cables, each one with a dedicated USB cable for mouse and keyboard. This is one good feature of the GCS632U iogear KVM switch.

3) The GCS632U also has 1/8" plugs for audio to allow you to share line level bi directional stereo audio between to the two servers. If you only have one set of speakers this can be convenient because now you have a KVM + audio switch.

If you are in the hunt for an iogear kvm switch, the GCS632U would be a nice purchase for a 2 port kvm. It gets the job done and I have read compatibility reports of it supporting some off the wall keyboard hardware, which is rare in an iogear kvm switch. I hope this review helped and good luck! Here is a link if you choose to purchase this switch:

Here are some links of troubleshooting for the GCS632U:

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Connect KVM switch - A popular KVM email troubleshooting subject line

A lot of times I will get emails at work with subject lines like connect KVM switch, and install KVM switch, and the first thing that pops in my head is READ THE MANUAL. If you are a tech I am sure you know the acronym RTFM, and sometimes you just want to say that to people. I suppose it is job security for technical support for people to continue to not read their manuals so maybe I shouldn't complain so much.

If you are looking to connect your KVM switch the most important thing to do is make sure you have the appropriate cabling. Lately more and more KVM switches are coming with proprietary cabling, which is probably to make more money.

Here is a really good video on taking a KVM switch out of the box and hooking it up:

Other times on smaller KVM switches you will just have the native PS/2 connections or USB connections, and other times the KVM switch will have something a DB25 or an HD15 connector on it and 3-1 breakout cables are used. These connections confuse alot of people and upon receiving their equipment they think they got a serial piece of hardware or something that is video only with the HD15s.

Another thing to keep in mind is if you are doing PS/2 and USB make sure you get the proper cabling on a per port basis and make sure your hardware is capable of both. Also if you have an enterprise type of KVM switch you will also need to attach some type of Server Access Module and Remote Units for functionality. If you are unsure of these I would consult your manual or call Tech Support of your KVM manufacturer. These tips will help you save time on connect KVM switch.

KVM Switch Help - Where can you get answers?

If you are looking for KVM Switch help I have posted numerous tips in my blog on a ton of different topics. Here are the two links that I felt were most appropriate to be the top 2 KVM switch help links (from my blog):

KVM Over IP: What is it exactly?
KVM Switches - an overview.

There are many different things that you could be looking for if you need KVM switch help, a lot of which can be found in the manual for your particular switch. Truthfully Google Search can bring up helpful information about your problem if you need it a lot of the time.

I have seen a few KVM switch help screens that are built into the On Screen Display in certain KVM switches, and truthfully I think they should have that on every switch. Imagine interactive help on each section of a KVM switches menu. I am a visual learner and I would definitely benefit from this.

Lastly if you need KVM switch help, try contacting the vendor.

Here are some common KVM switch vendors whose contact information you should find on their site.

Avocents Homepage
Black Box Network Services
IO Gears Homepage

Between Manuals, tech support, and internet searches you should get all the KVM switch help that you need.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Kvm switch windows vista - can it be done?

The answer is yes. Some ancient KVM switches may have trouble communicating with kvm switch windows vista and will give up. The new KVM switch windows type boxes have fully transparent usb connections back to the host computer, leaving many options in terms of connectivity from the kvm switch windows down to your servers.

If you think about it USB runs on all operating systems, and if your kvm switch windows vista box is just passing transparent USB to the server, it doesnt matter what operating system is running, as it is just communicating USB data. This as I mentioned before leaves alot of options also for attaching peripherals, such as DVD RW's, CD RW's, touchscreens, and other things.

So to answer the question yes it can be done. Chances are if it is a newer kvm then it will be able kvm switch windows vista. If you are unsure always double check with the person you are purchasing it from to make sure that it is capable of what you need it to do.

KVM Switch Resolution - Is It Important?

KVM switch resolution is often overlooked when researching KVM switches. Some video applications run at very high resolutions, sometimes with digital video, and other times people are running very low resolutions such as 800 x 600. KVM switch resolution is an important spec of whatever KVM switch you choose, so that you are able to push the high bandwidth video through the switch if you need to.

If you get an out of range signal on your monitor, whether through KVM switch hardware or whether directly attached, it is usually a resolution issue. If it is out of range usually the frequency is too high caused by a resolution that the monitor is incapable of. The higher the resolution, the higher the bandwidth, and if you are pushing too much information to the monitor, it will not be able to handle the video.

So KVM Switch resolution is definitely an important spec to take note of while searching for a KVM switch, and if you get stuck with a switch that can't handle your video you will be upset. The KVM switch resolution is usually detailed in the manual, so proper research will save you trouble down the road with hardware that doesn't suit your needs.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Figuring out your KVM switch password

KVM switch Password - I lost It, Now What?

If you have a KVM switch password that you have lost, it usually is not that big of a deal. If it is one of the users KVM switch password that was lost, the administrator should be able to log into the switch and set a new kvm switch password. A factory default (usually found in the manual) would also delete the user information and give you a default kvm switch password.

If you lost the administrator password, and a factory default won't help you, then your next best bet is to call the manufacturer of your KVM switches Technical Support. They have different procedures which I have seen range from different button sequences to actually physically jumpering hardware inside of the kvm to get a default kvm switch password. Again consult the companies Technical Support or the KVM switches manual for accessing this information.

The last thing you may be curious of is the default kvm switch password. These are usually pretty predictable with settings such as "Admin" and "Password", but these will also be documented in your KVM switches manual.

My KVM Blog - A KVM switch guide

A KVM switch guide can be very useful when you are interested in KVM switches, whether it be to purchase one or just to find more information out about kvm switches. This blogs purpose is to be a KVM switch guide for you to give you definitions of key terms and help you to understand all of the different features and buying tips you should know when looking at KVM switches.

People dont know that KVM switches can range from the simplest of electronics such as a Y cable of sorts, while other KVM switches can span thousands of servers and multiple datacenters around the country. The limits truely are endless in terms of designing a KVM solution, so proper education and planning can make you confident that you are getting the correct thing.

You can use the search function of this site to research any topics, and hopefully find out the specific question you have. You can always leave comments also, and I will do my best to answer them. I hope you bookmark this page and use it as your KVM switch guide in the future.