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      Avocent/Cybex DSR2161 KVM Review

     Date: February 10th, 2002
     Type: Review
     Supplier: Avocent
     Author: mayhem

    In testing the unit we just put it through the paces of running servers remotely and locally to see how it performed. In doing so two system where used (three in total including the local monitor, mouse and keyboard), the first was a Windows 2000 system (connected to the network) as the DSAuthentication Server and also for the DSAdmin, the second system was a Windows ME system used (pretending to be one of the servers on Port 1), this allowed us to test all the necessary features.

    When using the DSR2161 locally, by connecting a keyboard, video, mouse to the analog ports, the hardware has a handy onscreen display that is handy to set up the machine and custom every setting for each port. This allows you to give each user and port a name (similar to the DSView software for remote sessions).

    DSView Setup of DSR2161: DSView Topology | DSR Connection (click link to view the images)

    Remote Access
    The Session Window is very similar to the look of pcAnywhere, allowing a windowed connection to the server of your choice. This setup is both convenient and problematic, on the good side you can connect to more than one system at a time (depending on the model of the DSR), but the performance is not 100 percent real-time like it is with a directly connected keyboard, monitor and mouse. Then again, you have to understand that the DSR is taking the analog signals, digitizing them, compressing them, encrypting them and then encapsulating them into a TCP packet. Then they are sent down the wire where the process is then reversed at the client running DSView. While there is some latency in video performance, it is a very small sacrifice to make in return for the huge amount of flexibility you gain by being able to control your servers from anywhere in the world.

    Since the DSR2161 unit is a combination of Hardware and Software the control of the system comes up differently if your accessing from the local port of a remote session using DSView.

    Unfortunately we were unable to test the unit with 16 machines connected to it, but from the above testing you can see how the unit works with all its features.

    For a business solution the Avocent/Cybex DSR2161 unit is rather a good option, allowing upto 16 servers to be remotely monitored or operated by upto 3 connections at any one time makes the job of any IT Technician easier to say the least.

    Although it does allow you to completely display a system to the local screen (using the Session Window) it doesn't actually allow you to manage the unit in the same was as the other KVM's we have seen before (where by the control is physically transfers over to the screen and keyboard your sitting at), the way the DSR2161 works is more like pcAnywhere by Symantec which leads to the question couldn't you just use pcAnywhere in the first place. Well yes and no would be the answers to that, if your looking for a cheaper solution then pcAnywhere 10.0 might be for you, but the DSR2161 allows for greater flexibility with its central server design. The end choice would really depend on the network that you are implementing.


  • Connections for upto 16 servers
  • Rack mountable 1U unit
  • Fully configurable via null modem cable
  • Cons

  • The price tag of $3000 US for the DSR2161
  • No Linux support or software
  • NTFS partition installation for DSAuthentication Service
  • Overall the DSR2161 is packed full of features making it easy to use and ideal for a large scale solution and implementation.

    A special thanks goes out to the team at Avocent and Trisha from NetPR for supplying this kit for our review. If you would like to find out some more technical information or would like to place an order for a SwitchView then please visit the Avocent website.

    Score: 8 / 10

    Avocent now have an Australian reseller, below are the necessary contact details:

    Blue Ridge
    Justin Milne
    Phone: 61-7-3250-7777
    Fax : 61-7-3257-1700
    P.O. Box 455
    Nundah Queensland, 4012

    FORUM: Talk about this and other products


      Supplier Information

    Avocent provide a large range of networking products, for the home user to large scale enterprise solutions. If you would like to purchase a Avocent/Cybex KVM or any other product then please drop by their website for more information on specifications of their product lines and to place an order. You can find all the details on products on their site

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