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How to protect and secure your CPUs with KVM extenders

Learn about KVM extension technology

Tasked with keeping CPUs or servers secure? Then watch this video tutorial to learn about KVM (keyboard/video/mouse) extension technology. It shows you how to use KVM extenders to put extra distance between CPUs and user consoles located in public areas. The educational video covers common applications for KVM extenders, such as schools and harsh industrial-control environments, and demonstrates how the extenders maintain high monitor resolutions at even extended distances. Later, the video goes over options for extending KVM signals wirelessly and over an IP-based connection, and spotlights extenders that feature integrated USB hubs and dual-video support.


In this Tips for Techs, we’re showing you how to protect and secure your computer CPUs with KVM extenders. These versatile devices enable you to locate a CPU away from a keyboard, monitor, and mouse—beyond what’s possible with standard PS/2 or USB extension cabling. They’re particularly good for moving CPUs to a safe and secure location in order to protect them from unauthorized users or harsh environmental conditions. A KVM extender can be used on a single computer or multiple computers connected to a KVM switch.

The applications for KVM extenders are limitless. They can be used in offices, public kiosks, hospitals, schools, and 9-1-1 call centers. Use them, for instance, in process control to isolate servers from the dust and debris of an industrial environment while still giving users full server access with a keyboard, monitor, and mouse on the factory floor. Or use them to keep computer CPUs separated from consoles located in areas frequented by the public. They’re also great for putting all your employees’ CPUs in a single centralized location to free up more desk space at their workstations.

So what are they? KVM extenders are transmitters and receivers that work together to emulate and transmit keyboard, monitor, and mouse signals much farther than ordinary KVM extension cabling. KVM extenders compensate for signal loss when sending video from the CPU to the display. One big advantage over ordinary extension cable is that there is virtually no video distortion when sending monitor signals over long distances.

How far you can go depends on the cabling the extender supports. If it’s a CAT-type copper extender, you can move computers up to 1000 feet away from the KVM console. For even greater distances, use fiber extenders. They support KVM extensions up to 6 miles over single-mode cable. Fiber extenders are immune to interference, which makes them great for use in electronically noisy factory areas.

If you’re considering a KVM extender, you have a number of choices for:
• PS/2 keyboards and mice,
• USB keyboards and mice,
• VGA video,
• DVI video,
• serial RS-232 control data,
• USB peripherals,
• and stereo audio.

You can also order one with dual access, so you can plug in a second user console or a KVM switch close to the computer itself. Plus, you have models with multihead video for connecting more than one monitor.

And for attaching multiple USB devices, some extenders have a built-in USB hub, like these compact workhorses from Black Box. Some of our most popular extenders, the ServSwitch Brand USB Micro Extenders, not only have an integrated 4-port hub, but they also enable you to put a USB keyboard, USB mouse, and two VGA monitors more than 160 feet from your CPU. There’s even a version that transmits serial data and audio, too.

These are just some of the many types of KVM extenders available, from inexpensive to high end, from standalone to rackmount, for use with copper or fiber cabling, or no cabling at all. We’re, of course, talking about wireless extenders. They’re great for areas where pulling cable isn’t possible. Plus, they offer quick setup, and are perfect for KVM users who are frequently on the move. Or you may want to consider one of the latest KVM-over-IP extenders that communicate over a TCP/IP network or the Internet. They essentially make distance limits a thing of the past.

Not sure which type of KVM extender is best for you, or you just want to investigate your KVM options further? Then call Black Box’s free Tech Support experts at 00800-2255 2269. You’ll be live with one of our techs in 20 seconds or less. We’ll answer your questions and guide you through the process of selecting a KVM extender for your specific application.

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