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      Avocent/Cybex KVM SwitchView Review

     Date: June 18th, 2001
     Type: Review
     Supplier: Avocent
     Author: mayhem

    Are you getting sick of having to swap monitors and maybe even keyboard and mouse over to your server when you want to do something at the console, its rather annoying isn't it? Well there is no need to do this anymore, even if you don't have a spare monitor there is still a way, the Keyboard-Video-Mouse Switch (KVM) is the solution. Below is the setup that I had before using the KVM, what a mess, I kept getting the keyboards mixed up, this is probably a sight that most of you are getting used to, or even some people who only use a single set and must keep swapping them all over.

    One of the leading KVM products on the market is the Cybex SwitchView, (Some of you may have already heard of it as the Avocent SwitchView, well this product is one and the same, "In July 2000, Cybex and Apex merged to form Avocent Corporation"). These products come in a range of models (2-port, 4-port etc) has a list of great features:

  • PC selection from the push of a button.
  • Scan mode to run through each PC in sequence
  • Hot plug capability allowing PCs to be added or removed without powering down the switch or attached servers
  • Small footprint to make it ideal for single user multiple workstations/servers.
  • Colour coded cables and plugs for easy installation
  • No external power supply required
  • Supports any operating system you may run
  • Supports PC/AT and PS/2 keyboards

    Initial Package
    product has alot of functionality in one compact unit, it has basically the same physical size as a standard 5-port network switch/hub. It looks very neat and professional and its simple design doesn't make it standout.

    Setting It Up
    The first thing you will need to do is unplug any keyboard, video or mouse cables from the back of your systems in order to make way for the SwitchView cables. It is probably advisable to power down both machines if you can, just makes the process easier and prevents problems, but as stated above the SwitchView supports hot swapping.

    Since the cables that come with the kit are colour-coded it makes for a painless installation, plug the first set of cables into your main machine and then plug it into the A port plugs on the back of the KVM (I made this my server machine), then with the second set of cables you want to plug these into your other machine and then into port B on the back of the KVM (this was my client machine), of course if you have the 4 port version then you will follow the same for C and D ports. The last thing you will need to do is plug your peripherals into the KVM, these are the plugs on the very left hand side marked USER. If you want to make the cabling nice and neat then you can cable tie the sets of cables together, i.e. keyboard/video/mouse of each set into a bunch.

    The above is the setup with the server plugged in. All up it is a pretty straight forward and easy installation, once you have completed your setup you should have something looking like the below image, now you just need to place the SwitchView somewhere on your desk where its not in the way and is easily accessible should you need to swap computers quickly.

    As you can see below, it fits in nicely next to my cable modem, the SwitchView itself is rather light, and as such the cable tend to make it tip up a little, but with some fiddling it was made to site nicely, and with some luck it was the exact size for the space that was next to my modem, what pot luck.

    The cables that came with this kit made the install even quicker and also helps to keep the area tidy, as you can notice the cable for each computer has the Keyboard, Monitor and Mouse built into one cable, the end with the shorter ends is for the plugs on the back of the KVM and the longer ones are for the PC, the long ends are fairly lengthy so that they will fit any computer be it mini or full tower.

    NEXT: Testing and conclusion


      Supplier Information

    Avocent provide a large range of networking products, for the home user to enterprise solutions. If you would like to purchase a 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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