FAQ

Below is a list of KVM Solutions UK frequently Asked Questions and a KVM Knowledge Base. If you can not find the answer to your question please contact info@kvmsolutions.uk or call us on +441372450794

Which payment methods are accepted in the Online Shop?

We use PayPal for our online purchases due to the ease and security it provides and customers can use any card to make the purchase without the need to have a PayPal account. However, our Checkout will also offer you with the options to pay by BACS or by cheque. Purchase orders are welcome.

What currency can I pay with?

All billings are in GB Pounds and your credit card provider will bill you in your local currency.

How secure is shopping in the Online Shop? Is my data protected?

We use PayPal for payments on our website. The PayPal site is highly secure. They use industry-leading technology (such as SSL) to keep your information safe.
PayPal automatically encrypts your confidential information in transit from your computer to theirs using the Secure Sockets Layer protocol (SSL) with an encryption key length of 128-bits (the highest level commercially available). Before you even register or log in to the PayPal site, their server checks that you’re using an approved browser – one that uses SSL 3.0 or higher.
Once your information reaches the PayPal site, it resides on a server that is heavily guarded both physically and electronically. PayPal servers sit behind an electronic firewall and are not directly connected to the internet, so your private information is available only to authorized computers.

If I am not sure which product(s) I need, are you able to help?

Here at KVM Solutions UK, we have over 15 years experience in KVM, PDU and AV solutions and are more than happy to work with you to find the right solution that best fits your requirement.

Do you offer price match?

Please make a note of the product number, its price and the competitor web address you want us to match (excluding price comparison or auction sites). We will verify and in most cases match the price there and then for you. To benefit, please call us on 01372 450 794

Do you accept purchase orders?

All purchase orders from government, local governments, corporates, universities and schools are accepted and credit accounts are opened immediately.

Who is KVM Solutions UK?

KVM Solutions UK is a trading name of Save On IT Ltd Registered in England number 07940127 VAT Registration Number is 235 0255 39 and the Registered Office is Wayside, Guildford Road, Bookham, Leatherhead, Surrey KT23 4HB UK.

What are the delivery charges for orders from the Online Shop?

All UK Mainland deliveries are free of charge. If you do not live in UK Mainland, please contact info@kvmsolutions.uk or call  +441372450794 for shipping cost.

How long does it take to deliver?

We aim to despatch within 24 hours of receiving your order but please allow 3 to 5 working days for delivery. For Standard postage to Mainland UK , if items are in stock and your order is placed before 12 o’clock we will endeavour to ship the same day.

Can I have the parcel sent to an alternative address?

Yes, just give us an alternative delivery address. We will also need your credit/debit card address to verify your payment.

Do I receive an invoice for my order?

Once your order has been dispatched, an invoice will be e-mailed automatically to the e-mail address provided on your order. If for any reason your copy invoice has not been received, please call us on +441372450794 or e-mail info@kvmsolutions.uk and we will send you a copy invoice  immediately.

Do you offer trade prices?

At KVM Solutions UK we work closely with re-sellers, installers, and system integrators. If you need any help with price, design and the support to help you win a deal, please send an email to:sales@kvmsolutions.uk or you can contact us on +441372450794.

Do you sell outside the UK?

We can provide solutions and shipping cost to almost every country in the world. Please contact info@kvmsolutions.uk or call +0441372450794

Can I return a product if it does not meet my requirements?

In order to ensure that our customers do not incur any unnecessay return costs, we strongly recommend they get in touch with us to discuss their requirements.

If you are not entirely satisfied with your purchase simply return the item in the condition supplied within 14 working days of receipt. You are entitled to an exchange or refund.
Please be aware, returned packages remain your responsibility until they reach us so always retain proof of postage.

How long should I normally wait for a refund to my card?

We endeavour to process your returns as quickly as possible but please allow up to 14 days.

If I have a query or complaint whom should I contact?

We welcome your feedback, please email us at info@kvmsolutions.uk

What is a KVM Switch?

A KVM switch (with KVM being an abbreviation for “keyboard, video and mouse”) is a hardware device that allows a user to control multiple computers from one or more sets of keyboards, video monitors, and mice. Although multiple computers are connected to the KVM, typically a smaller number of computers can be controlled at any given time. Modern devices have also added the ability to share other peripherals like USB devices and audio.

Before the mouse became relevant in server switching applications, the term Keyboard Video Switch (KVS) was used to describe keyboard and monitor switching devices. With the increased adoption of Microsoft Windows, the mouse and other I/O ports in peripheral switching became prevalent. Remigius Shatas, the founder of Cybex (a popular peripheral switch manufacturer at that time) expanded the initialism to Keyboard, Video and Mouse (KVM) in 1995. Some years later, Universal Serial Bus (USB) began to become the new industry standard for connecting computer peripherals.

As a result of the growing need to switch peripherals (such as touchscreens) in addition to the keyboard, mouse and monitor, some companies are now selling “KVMP” switch devices (standing for keyboard, video, mouse and peripheral).

Types of KVM Switches:

With the popularity of USB—USB keyboards, mice, and I/O devices are still the most common devices connected to a KVM switch. The classes of KVM switches that are reviewed, are based on different types of core technologies in terms of how the KVM switch handles USB I/O devices—including keyboards, mice, touchscreen displays, etc. (USB-HID= USB Human Interface Device)

USB Hub Based KVM
Also called an Enumerated KVM switch, a connected/shared USB device must go through the full initiation process (USB enumeration) every time the KVM is switched to another target system/port. The switching to different ports is just as if you were to physically plug and unplug a USB device into your targeted system.
Emulated USB KVM
Dedicated USB console port(s) are assigned to emulate special sets of USB keyboard or mouse switching control information to each connected/targeted system. Emulated USB provides an instantaneous and reliable switching action that makes keyboard hotkeys and mouse switching possible. However, this class of KVM switch only uses generic emulations and consequently has only been able to support the most basic keyboard and mouse features.
Semi-DDM USB KVM
Dedicated USB console port(s) work with all USB-HID (including keyboard and mouse), but do not maintain the connected devices’ presence to all of the targeted systems simultaneously. This class of KVM takes advantage of DDM (Dynamic Device Mapping) technology.
DDM USB KVM
Dedicated USB console port(s) work with all USB-HID (including keyboard and mouse) and maintain the connected devices special functions and characteristics to each connected/targeted system. This class of KVM switch overcomes the frustrating limitations of an Emulated USB Class KVM by emulating the true characters of the connected devices to all the computers simultaneously. This means that you can now use the extra function keys, wheels, buttons, and controls that are commonly found on modern keyboards and mice.

Use of KVM Switches:

A KVM Switch is a hardware device, used in data centers, that allows the control of multiple computers from a single keyboard, monitor and mouse (KVM).This switch then allows data center personnel to connect to any server in the rack. A common example of home use is to enable the use of the full-size keyboard, mouse and monitor of the home PC with a portable device such as a laptop, tablet PC or PDA, or a computer using a different operating system.

KVM switches offer different methods of connecting the computers. Depending on the product, the switch may present native connectors on the device where standard keyboard, monitor and mouse cables can be attached. Another method to have a single DB25 or similar connector that aggregated connections at the switch with three independent keyboard, monitor and mouse cables to the computers. Subsequently, these were replaced by a special KVM cable which combined the keyboard, video and mouse cables in a single wrapped extension cable. The advantage of the last approach is in the reduction of the number of cables between the KVM switch and connected computers. The disadvantage is the cost of these cables.

The method of switching from one computer to another depends on the switch. The original peripheral switches (Rose, circa 1988) used a rotary switch while active electronic switches (Cybex, circa 1990) used push buttons on the KVM device. In both cases, the KVM aligns operation between different computers and the users’ keyboard, monitor and mouse (user console).

In 1992-1993, Cybex Corporation engineered keyboard hot-key commands.Today, most KVMs are controlled through non-invasive hot-key commands (e.g. Ctrl+Ctrl, Scroll Lock+Scroll Lock and the Print Screen keys). Hot-key switching is often complemented with an on-screen display system that displays a list of connected computers.

KVM switches differ in the number of computers that can be connected. Traditional switching configurations range from 2 to 64 possible computers attached to a single device. Enterprise-grade devices interconnected via daisy-chained and/or cascaded methods can support a total of 512 computers equally accessed by any given user console.

Multi-way Channel Selection can be found with new generation of KVM switches – via built-in IR remote sensor control – via built-in RS-232 port for serial commands and control – via On mouse click-switch – fast switch using some function buttons for system selection – via touchscreen sensing/control.

Video Bandwidth:

While HDMI and DVI switches have been manufactured, VGA is still the most common video connector found with KVM switches, although many switches are now compatible with DVI connectors. Analogue switches can be built with varying capacities for video bandwidth, affecting the unit’s overall cost and quality. A typical consumer-grade switch provides up to 200 MHz bandwidth, allowing for high-definition resolutions at 60 Hz.

For analogue video, resolution and refresh rate are the primary factors in determining the amount of bandwidth needed for the signal. The method of converting these factors into bandwidth requirements is a point of ambiguity, in part because it is dependent on the analogue nature and state of the hardware. The same piece of equipment may require more bandwidth as it ages due to increased degradation of the source signal. Most conversion formulas attempt to approximate the amount of bandwidth needed, including a margin of safety. As a rule of thumb, switch circuitry should provide up to three times the bandwidth required by the original signal specification, as this allows most instances of signal loss to be contained outside the range of the signal that is pertinent to picture quality.

As CRT-based displays are dependent on refresh rate to prevent flickering, they generally require more bandwidth than comparable flat panel displays.

Monitor:

A monitor uses DDC and EDID, transmitted through specific pins, to identify itself to the system. KVM switches may have different ways of handling these data transmissions:

  • None: the KVM switch lacks the circuitry to handle this data, and the monitor is not “visible” to the system. The system may assume a generic monitor is attached and defaults to safe settings. Higher resolutions and refresh rates may need to be manually unlocked through the video driver as a safety precaution. However, certain applications (especially games) that depend on retrieving DDC/EDID information will not be able to function correctly.
  • Fake: the KVM switch generates its own DDC/EDID information that may or may not be appropriate for the monitor that is attached. Problems may arise if there is an inconsistency between the KVM’s specifications and the monitor’s, such as not being able to select desired resolutions.
  • Pass-through: the KVM switch attempts to make communication between the monitor and the system transparent. However, it may fail to do so in the following ways:
    • generating Hot Plug Detect (HPD) events for monitor arrival or removal upon switching, or not passing monitor power states – may cause the OS to re-detect the monitor and reset the resolution and refresh rate, or may cause the monitor to enter to or exit from power-saving mode;
    • not passing or altering MCSS commands – may result in incorrect orientation of the display or improper color calibration.

Microsoft guidelines recommend that KVM switches pass unaltered any I2C traffic between the monitor and the PC hosts, and do not generate HPD events upon switching to a different port while maintaining stable non-noise signal on inactive ports.

Passive and Active (electronic) Switches:

KVM switches were originally passive, mechanical devices based on multi-pole switches and some of the cheapest devices on the market still use this technology. Mechanical switches usually have a rotary knob to select between computers. KVMs typically allow sharing of two or four computers, with a practical limit of about twelve machines imposed by limitations on available switch configurations. Modern hardware designs use active electronics rather than physical switch contacts with the potential to control many computers on a common system backbone.

One limitation of mechanical KVM switches is that any computer not currently selected by the KVM switch does not ‘see’ a keyboard or mouse connected to it. In normal operation this is not a problem, but while the machine is booting up it will attempt to detect its keyboard and mouse and either fail to boot or boot with an unwanted (e.g. mouseless) configuration. Likewise, a failure to detect the monitor may result in the computer falling back to 640×480 resolution. Thus, mechanical KVM switches may be unsuitable for controlling machines which can reboot automatically (e.g. after a power failure).

Another problem encountered with mechanical devices is the failure of one or more switch contacts to make firm, low resistance electrical connections, often necessitating some wiggling or adjustment of the knob to correct patchy colors on screen or unreliable peripheral response. Gold-plated contacts improve that aspect of switch performance, but add cost to the device.

Most active (electronic rather than mechanical) KVM devices provide peripheral emulation, sending signals to the computers that are not currently selected to simulate a keyboard, mouse and monitor being connected. These are used to control machines which may reboot in unattended operation. Peripheral emulation services embedded in the hardware also provides continuous support where computers require constant communication with the peripherals.

Some types of active KVM switches do not emit signals that exactly match the physical keyboard, monitor, and mouse, which can result in unwanted behavior of the controlled machines. For example, the user of a multimedia keyboard connected to a KVM switch may find that the keyboard’s multimedia keys have no effect on the controlled computers.

Local Remote (including KVM or USB):

Local remote KVM device design allows users to control computer equipment up to 1,000 feet (300 m) away from the user consoles (keyboard, monitor and mouse). They always need direct cable connection from the computer to the KVM switch to the console and include support for standard category 5 cabling between computers and users interconnected by the switch device. In contrast, USB powered KVM devices are able to control computer equipment using a combination of USB, keyboard, mouse and monitor cables of up to 5 metres (16 ft).

KVM Over IP:

KVM over IP devices use a dedicated micro-controller and potentially specialized video capture hardware to capture the video, keyboard, and mouse signals, compress and convert them into packets, and send them over an Ethernet link to a remote console application that unpacks and reconstitutes the dynamic graphical image. This KVM over IP subsystem is typically connected to a system’s standby power plane so that it’s available during the entire BIOS boot process. These devices allow multiple computers to be controlled locally or globally with the use of an IP connection. There are performance issues related with LAN/WAN hardware, standard protocols and network latency so user management is commonly referred to as “near real time”.

Access to most remote or “KVM” over IP devices today use a web browser but can even switch between two or more hard drives, although many of the stand-alone viewer software applications provided by many manufacturers are also reliant on ActiveX or Java.

Security Note: Some KVM chipsets or manufacturers require the “whitelisting” or authority to connect to be implicitly enabled. Without the whitelist addition, the device will not work. This is by design and required to connect non-standard USB devices to KVM’s. This is completed by noting the device id’s (usually copied from the Device manager in Windows), or documentation from the manufacturer of the USB device.

Generally all HID or consumer grade USB peripherals are exempt, but more exotic devices like tablets, or digitisers or USB toggles require manual addition to the white list table of the KVM.

In comparison to conventional methods of remote administration (for example in-band Virtual Network Computing or Terminal Services), a KVM switch has the advantage that it doesn’t depend on a software component running on the remote computer, thus allowing remote interaction with base level BIOS settings and monitoring of the entire booting process before, during, and after the operating system loads. Modern KVM over IP appliances or switches typically use at least 128-bit data encryption securing the KVM configuration over a WAN or LAN (using SSL).

KVM over IP devices can be implemented in different ways. With regards to video, PCI KVM over IP cards use a form of screen scraping where the PCI bus master KVM over IP card would access and copy out the screen directly from the graphics memory buffer, and as a result it must know which graphics chip it is working with, and what graphics mode this chip is currently in so that the contents of the buffer can be interpreted correctly as picture data. Newer techniques in OPMA management subsystem cards and other implementations get the video data directly using the DVI bus. Implementations can emulate either PS/2 or USB based keyboards and mice. An embedded VNC server is typically used for the video protocol in IPMI and Intel AMT implementations.

What is HDBaseT?

HDBaseT is the global standard for the transmission of ultra-high-definition video & audio, Ethernet, controls, USB and up to 100W of power over a single, long-distance, cable. For audiovisual, consumer electronics, and even industrial PCs, this can be a simple category cable (Cat6 or above), for up to 100m/328ft. For medical and government applications, optical fiber is usually preferred, spanning several kilometers. For automotive, HDBaseT can be transmitted over a single unshielded twisted pair (UTP), for up to 15m/50ft, or any other commonly used media (such as STP, HSD, coaxial and fiber).

Since its introduction in 2010, HDBaseT has revolutionized the video distribution sector. It brings a rich feature set, increased reach, and better performance than existing solutions. The cornerstone of the technology is 5Play, the converged and simultaneous delivery of uncompressed ultra-high-definition digital video and audio, Ethernet, USB, control signals and power over a single cable.

Today, HDBaseT is optimized for different markets, addressing the specific needs of such sectors as audiovisual, automotive, industrial PCs, consumer electronics and more. The common denominator in all these sectors is the need to distribute high-quality signals over the best, lowest-cost infrastructure, for the longest distance possible. HDBaseT delivers quality of experience, eliminating cable clutter and without compromising performance and high quality.

Why HDBaseT?

Before HDBaseT, video professionals had some serious challenges to contend with, mostly: How to deliver high-quality content over a reasonable cable (both in terms of cost and ease of installation), for more than a few meters/feet?  Usually the answer involved some serious compromises on quality, distance, or cost and complexity.

HDBaseT eliminated the compromises by offering:

  • Long-distance transmission: 100m/328ft with a single hop, or even more with several hops
  • Signal convergence: audio & video, Ethernet, controls, USB and power over a single cable, eliminating clutter, simplifying installation, with reduced infrastructure costs and low cabling weight
  • Performance: the current generation can deliver up to 4K (ultra-high-definition) video, and 8K is already in the roadmap
  • Simplicity: category (LAN) cable and UTP cables are easy to install and to field-terminate.  Cat cables also use standard RJ-45 lockable connectors.
  • Affordability: HDBaseT relies on low-cost infrastructure without compromising on performance, reducing not only installation but also maintenance costs; the ability to transmit power over HDBaseT eliminates the need for electrical cables and outlets near all of the devices
  • Standardization: HDBaseT is an industry standard, facilitating interoperability
  • Versatility: HDBaseT is an industry-proven technology, which can be easily adapted across different sectors

What is a KVM Sharing Device?

KVM sharing devices function in reverse compared to KVM switches; that is, a single PC can be connected to multiple monitors, keyboards, and mice. While not as common, this configuration is useful when the operator wants to access a single computer from two or more (usually close) locations – for example, a public kiosk machine that also has a staff maintenance interface behind the counter, or a home office computer that doubles as a home theater PC.