Signal distribution / Control

BUYERS GUIDE: KVM

8/29/2017 2:04 PM Eastern
Adder CCS-PRO4
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This month, we focus on KVM solutions from a variety of manufacturers. This category of switches, extenders and entire platforms saw a lot of action at InfoComm 2017—including increasing support for 4K@60Hz— expanding the possibilities for remote and multiple workstations. Whether workflow requires a single operator to access a number of computers from one keyboard and mouse, or requires centralized computing that can be accessed remotely by many secure users, there have been improvements in power, resolution, speed, latency, and integration.

Adder has provided a variety of solutions for KVM at multiple budget levels and scales. One of their more popular products has been the CCS-PRO4 for its blend of simplicity and capability. Recently, Adder announced their new CCS-PRO8 KVM processor. Expanding the simplicity of the CCS-PRO4 which accommodates four computers, the CCS-PRO8 creates a single workstation for up to eight computers. Through Adder’s Free-Flow technology, the operator, using a single mouse and keyboard, simply moves the mouse pointer from one display to another and the CCS-PRO8 seamlessly switches the control to the computer driving that display. The user can select which computer to receive audio from and USB peripherals can be connected to specific computers without affecting the KVM control. A keepalive function allows the operator to choose which computers always stay active, and it features a redundant power supply.

This month, ATEN will debut the KE8950/ KE8952 4K HDMI KVM over IP Extender. The KE8950 and KE8952 support one HDMI monitor at each end at 4K x 2K video resolution (up to 3840 x 2160 @30Hz 4:4:4 24 bits) over Cat 5e/6, allowing any combination of point and multipoint administration. The KE8950 and KE8952 also support 1Gbps SFP fiber module expansions; an SFP port for use with fiber-optic transceivers provides the option to use an optical Ethernet network interface up to 10km. The KE8952 additionally supports PoE, allowing power and communications over a single Ethernet cable. This 4K HDMI over IP extender line integrates with ATEN’s KE Matrix Management Software (CCKM), which provides configuration support including auto detection of all KE Series Extenders on the same subnet, username/ password authentication and authorization, and the ability to define different types of connections that can be switched and shared. With the integrated KVM over IP Matrix system (which integrates the extenders and management software), users can execute multi-display setups, video grouping, video profile scheduling and more. Security features support AES-128 bit encryption; RADIUS, LDAP, AD or remote user authentication provides an added layer of connection security. With OSD, RS-232 support, and Auto MDIX, the KE series is positioned as a cost-effective and convenient way to get a full digital extension from anywhere on the intranet.

AtlasIED, manufacturer of audio distribution, voice evacuation, and AV convenience solutions also provides a rackmount 8-port KVM switch. The MMK-KVM8 is a modular switch for use with LCD console use. It features an optional IP-based remote console port, on-screen display menu, password security, hot key control, and auto-scan control. It also provides complete keyboard and mouse emulation for simultaneous boot up process. The Switch is compatible with Windows, Netware, Unix, Linux, MAC OS, and Sun MicroSystems. Additionally, the MMKKVM8 provides Access Control List security function and can store up to eight independent user accounts.

Not all KVM is performed with the use of dedicated, point-to-point extenders. Aurora’s patent-pending IPX-TC1 is a fully featured, HDBaseT-over-IP transceiver that also can perform KVM functionality (Aurora brands it as IPBaseT). Based on BlueRiver NT platform from AptoVision (under acquisition by Semtech), the IPX-TC1 is a transceiver for uncompressed 4K video over 10Gb (copper or fiber) with less than a frame of latency. While this device is at its heart a solution for Video-over-IP, it also supports Extreme USB for high-speed USB2.0 over IP, as well as Dante over IP. The USB functionality can be used for data transfer (480Mbps) or control, but it can also be used for KVM over copper or fiber networks. This KVM tool comes with other features including HDMI Inputs (2) and HDMI output, videowall processing, seamless switching, audio breakout, and 128x128 HDCP compatibility. The benefit of the IPXTC1 transceiver is that if it is installed to create a Video-over-IP solution, there is no need for a separate KVM system. The built-in USB functionality will handle most KVM needs.

Manufacturers of AV devices are continuing to bring tools for tech managers to maintain, monitor, and control the AV system. KVM is no exception with the new Boxilla KVM and AV/IT management system from Black Box. Targeted for large-scale enterprise deployments, Boxilla is a centralized command and control center that provides instant view of the KVM network. The Boxilla dashboard displays data such as real-time status of the devices, a list of active users, and bandwidth usage. The control capabilities also include firmware and configuration management, security monitoring, performance monitoring, and user rights management. Boxilla integrates with InvisaPC, also from Black Box, to augment the capabilities of client-free virtual servers with large-scale KVM deployment.

EvertzAV positions the MMA-10G KVM suite as an entire ecosystem for KVM over 10Gb Ethernet. The series features rackmount transmitters and standalone receivers for large deployments of KVM capabilities. The MMA-10G platform supports up to 4K video and USB 2.0 at full bandwidth. Each modular transmitter (MMA-10G-KVM-TX2) handles up to two video inputs, audio, and USB and delivers them over 10GbE. The standalone receiver (MMA-10G-KVM-RXS-2) features two video outputs, and audio and USB output. The receiver includes a built-in seven-port USB hub for the connection of multiple USB devices. Uniting the platform is accomplished via the Evertz MAGNUM-AV Control system. User management and control is made possible with virtual control panels or by interfacing with third-party control systems.

With a catalog full of video switchers and Video-over-IP solutions, Gefen also offers a KVM over IP solution in the form of a sender and receiver pairing. These units (EXT-UHDV-KA-LANS-TX and EXT-UHDV-KA-LANS-RX) extend 4k60, VGA, USB, RS-232, IR, and two-way audio. They work as a point-to-point sender and receiver pair with Ethernet cable connection and can be up to 100m (300ft) apart. Both units are housed in half-rack, 1RU enclosures that can be shelf mounted in the rack or surface mounted. When used with the EXT-CULAN Matrix Controller, system configuration can be automated. The receiver units include a three-port Gigabit switch for adding receivers, and support for HDCP 2.2. This Gefen product solution offers intuitive and fullfeatured KVM extension without complicated installation or configuration requirements.

This fall, Hall Research is scheduled to begin shipping the UH2X-P1, an HDMI +USB + LAN over UTP transmitter/receiver extender with HDBaseT 2.0 and PoH (sender and receiver). The set can extend uncompressed audio/video along with IR, RS232, USB 2.0, and IP using a single run of CAT5e/6 cable up to 100m long. The PoH compliant extender comes with only one power supply that plugs to the sender. The receiver does not require a power supply and gets its power through the Cat6 cable from the sender (using IEEE802.3af standard). It supports 4K (UHD) and 3D video. The extender provides audio return extension as well (from receiver to the sender). The independent audio return source is user selectable and can be either from the ARC pin of the HDMI connector at the Receiver (ARC signal from the connected TV), or from a separate SPDIF audio input connector provided on the receiver. The receiver has two USB 2.0 ports acting as a USB hub to support all USB 1.1 and 2.0 devices and at HDBaseT 2.0 specs. Surfacemount with integrated mounting brackets.

IHSE designed the new Draco OPS+ KVM to support the growing number of digital signage and command-and-control installers implementing displays equipped with Intel’s open pluggable specification (OPS+). (Intel created OPS+ to help standardize the design and development of UHD displays and media players). IHSE based the product on their Draco Ultra DisplayPort CON extender and incorporated display components (video and USB-HID) for KVM. (Fraunhofer ISS lightweight image coding technology (Lici) supports image quality). IHSE utilized Intel’s Arria processor and a simplified architecture to support the cost-effective OPS+. With its pluggable slot design, OPS+ supports security features without additional power requirements. Further, IHSE has repackaged the Draco ultra console (CON) extender to fit the OPS+ slot, allowing for a modular design that can lower deployment and maintenance costs when connecting workstations or digital signage over long distances. From the OPS+ extender CON unit, a duplex fiber cable can increase the distance between display and source up to 10 kilometers. Built-in control allows permission-only access to all components. With a KVM matrix switch, multiple extender modules can be managed over IHSE’s Tera View GUI. IHSE’s flex-port technology simplifies configuration, eliminating the need to create IP addressing of each OPS+ device. As future displays are added, a technician can simply attach an OPS+ module to an open port on the KVM switch and be operational in minutes.

Extending KVM control can be done over HDBaseT on a single Cat-5e or Cat-6 cable for up to 100m for 4K@60Hz or 150 meters full HD 1080p/60 or 1920x1200@60Hz with the KanexPro 4K HDMI over HDBaseT 2.0 with USB 2.0. The EXT-HDBTKVM100 extender supports uncompressed HDMI video, audio, USB 2.0, control signals, and PoH over a single CAT5e/6 cable. The PoH compliant extender comes with only one power supply, which means that it can be powered from either Tx or Rx to save installers time and added cost to installing a power outlet. One USB type B port is added on the Tx for connecting to PC or USB peripherals and two USB 2.0 ports are provided on the Rx side to work like a KVM or USB based Touch Panel using USB HID to create remote USB data and video extension.

Many high security applications require KVM switches that can isolate control between computers as well as ensure that only the right users can have access. The Kramer HighSecLabs Secure KVM switches are equipped with features that address those application concerns. Multiple models are available supporting DVI-I and VGA video inputs and between 2 and 8 ports. Robust USB support assures uni-directional peripheral isolation as well as filtering to assure connection to only keyboards or mice. These Kramer KVM Switches also feature Common Criteria EAL 4+ approval and compatibility with NIAP security requirements.

In Q4, Lightware plans to ship their UBEX optical scaling extender with optional USB HID and USB 2.0 extension. The design’s new optical configuration supports 4K UHD@60Hz 4:4:4 uncompressed signal extension with what the company describes as “latency-free multistreaming.” Utilizing visually lossless compression (compression levels can be set by the user), UBEX can extend two UHD signals over a single 10 Gbps port. The maximum reachable distance can be adjusted to vary between 400 m and 100 km, depending on the type of SFP+ optical modules installed. UBEX has a bandwidth of up to 20 Gbps depending on application. UBEX can work in a complex network with a standard Ethernet switch, or as point-to-point.

Centralizing computing power for security, cooling, and maintenance requires an easily scalable, modular, and versatile KVM platform. The Matrox Extio 3 KVM system features centralized PCI card or hardware appliance transmitters and appliance receivers for maximum flexibility. The Extio 3 transmitters and receivers come in Dual and Quad versions depending on the number of Display Port inputs that are supported (3408 or 3208 transmitter models). The receiver appliances are also available in Dual and Quad models (3408 or 3208 receiver models). The Exito 3 platform provides up to 4k60 4:4:4 at exceptionally low bit rates and can operate with off-the-shelf Gigbit Ethernet switches. Excellent image quality and keyboard and mouse responsiveness with a low bitrate, as demonstrated at InfoComm make affordable centralization a possibility to consider.

The CrystalView EX6 from Rose Electronics is a high performance KVM extender designed for quick and simple installation to convey uncompressed DVI video up to 1920x1200 resolution and multiple highspeed USB2.0 links for distances ranging to 330ft. on a single CATx cable. The industrial rackmount version supports 2, 3, or 4 extenders in a single 1U chassis. If the PC is configured as a dual, triple, or quad-head device then the CrystalView EX6-Quad product can extend all peripherals to the remote work area. The device is plug and play with no setup or configuration needed.

Thinklogical’s TLX KVM modular extension systems were designed for uncompressed, high resolution video, audio, and peripheral data on a single stream over single duplex fiber or single CATx cable. TLX extenders can support up to 4K @ 60Hz video (4096x2160), RS- 232, USB HID, and USB 2.0. The TLX design offers support for both HDMI and DisplayPort connectivity with HDCP compatibility. The modular extenders are compact and hot-swappable (for fiber the optical modules are also hotswappable). These modular systems promote system flexibility, scalability and a reduced maintenance effort. One example: The TLX24 matrix switch can be configured either as uni-directional (24x24) or bi-directional (12x12), enabling users to configure any modular chassis for “any to any” switching of video, KVM, audio, and USB. Several TLX chassis types are available (rack- and surface-mount), and compatible with all modular extenders, providing users with the ability to mix-and-match chassis to reduce the overall footprint of the design.

Enterprise IT teams are faced with space and convenience requirements when it comes to workstation deployments. KVM switches from Tripp Lite come in a number of configurations and form factors allowing for nearly endless flexibility. The Tripp Lite KVM switches are available in multiport standalone chassis ranging from 2 ports to 8 ports, and rackmount multiport chassis ranging from 2 ports to 8 ports. They also offer a rackmount full console that provides a full keyboard, trackpad, and monitor when being used, then slides back into a rack at only 1RU tall when not used. The standalone, multiport switches offer DVI-I input, DisplayPort, and HDMI; Serial ports, USB, and even VGA connectivity through a variety of models and options.

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