Everything You Need to Know About KVM Switches

Everything You Need to Know About KVM Switches


What Is KVM and What Is It Used for?

When individuals' job roles necessitate the use of multiple computers, they always using more than one set of peripherals, resulting in a cluttered and disorganized desktop environment. So, just imagine the remarkable convenience offered by a single device that enables seamless switching and control of multiple computers using just one set of peripherals (keyboard, mouse, and monitors).

The optimal solution to this imagination is a KVM switch, an acronym for keyboard, video, and mouse. This ingenious hardware facilitates the connection of multiple PCs or consoles to a single monitor, keyboard, and mouse. Whether the secondary machine serves work-related purposes or is utilized for streaming media or operating a home media server, it proves highly advantageous when it no longer necessitates its own dedicated keyboard, mouse, and monitor – not to mention occupying valuable desk space.

It can also be referred to as a "CATx KVM switch" due to its utilization of copper cables such as Cat5e or Cat6 for interconnecting various devices. Administrators can seamlessly transition control from one server to another by simply pressing the designated button on the KVM switch panel. In essence,the KVM switcher grants users effortless computer switching capabilities at their fingertips through intuitive button-pressing functionality.They prove exceptionally beneficial in terms of conserving space while eliminating the need for redundant components.This implies that if you possess several concurrently operational computers,you are spared from procuring separate monitors,keyboards,and mice for each individual system.Instead,a singular acquisition suffices,enabling swift transitions between different machines via employment of said switch.


How Does It Work?

Exactly how it does this is complicated to explain, but in simple terms, it simulates the computer's peripherals and constantly maintains a "fake" signal. When switching, the KVM switcher replaces the analog signal with the signal from the actual peripheral, providing a smooth and unobtrusive conversion.

Typically, a computer's operating system automatically attempts to detect incoming keyboard, mouse, and monitor signals upon first boot. Only after these connections are confirmed does the monitor display the startup page. KVM switching, on the other hand, allows the user to switch with the correct signal each time through signal emulation, thus ensuring that there is no harmful effect on the CPU operation of the computer.

A KVM switch works by providing a central hub for connecting multiple devices. In general, a device can be connected to a KVM switch using a Cat5 cable or a dedicated KVM cable kit. To switch between devices, connect all target devices to the KVM switch, which is connected to the keyboard, video monitor, and mouse in turn. We can also think of a KVM switcher as a signal controller that guides input and output signals between these network devices via a keyboard, video monitor, and mouse, easily switching between devices without physically disconnecting and reconnecting cables.

In the past, plug and play technology didn't exist, so every time you wanted to replace a keyboard or mouse, you had to restart your computer so that the CPU could detect any peripherals. While this is no longer the case, KVM switchers still do similar things, they trick the CPU into thinking there is a connection so that when you finally switch, it goes smoothly.


Why Would I Need A KVM Switch?

If your personal use only includes a single PC or a console, then KVM is not very useful for you. Besides this, if you just like a clean work environment, or if you just don't have enough space on your desktop, KVM is perfect for you. Here are a few reasons why you might need a KVM:

  1. Reduce Clutter

The KVM Switch can greatly reduce the number of desktop cables and external devices. When you don't have KVM, you usually need as many sets of peripherals as you need to use a PC, and having a KVM switch can greatly reduce the number of peripherals. This is especially important in messy work, no longer have to worry about the need to do some urgent operations because you can't find the right keyboard and mouse panic, more importantly, can also greatly reduce the chance when you knock down the coffee cup, coffee flow into your keyboard. 

  1. Provide Convenience

KVM Switch can also easily transfer files between two computers through the built-in USB interface. Before using KVM, if you wanted to control two hosts with only one set of keys, mouse, and monitor, you needed to plug in and out before each switch. This will cause a lot of unnecessary trouble and cost more time. When you have a KVM switch, you only need to follow the switching mode (usually only need one key) to operate, you can do the input source seamless switching, very convenient.

  1. Save Money

KVM prices are sometimes surprisingly low, starting at just a few tens of dollars for a basic kvm switch that can control two PCS. For example, for TESmart HKS0201A2U, only $89, you can have a high-quality HDMI interface kvm switch. Compared to buying a complete set of keyboard and mouse monitors, the price is significantly reduced.

Check more details about HKS0201A2U - support 2 pcs & 1 monitor, 4K@60Hz, USB 2.0

  1. Extra USB port

The typical KVM has additional built-in USB ports, which are easy to transfer data to, and some ports can charge your phone - this feature is so comfortable that you can save a few charging points.


All types of KVM switch

There are many ways to classify the KVM Switch. A fair way to classify is the signal type. the differences. The video signal between different interface types is completely different, not only the difference in appearance, each signal type has its own separate built-in transmission protocol, bandwidth, transmission speed.


HDMI KVM switches provide HDMI signal switching without affecting video quality. These switches offer fast switching times with no latency. They are ideal for applications such as broadcasting, high-end medical imaging, interactive digital signage, home theater and even industrial automation. HDMI KVM is the most common and most buy option for users.

Check more detail about our HDMI KVM: TESmart HKS0401A3U - for 4 pcs & 1 monitor, USB3.0, 4K@60Hz

VGA KVM Switch

The VGA KVM extender is ideal for an affordable, smooth real-time switching experience, capable of switching up to 1920x1200 VGA signals. These switches support dual, triple, or quad VGA video connectors, giving you easy access to video heads on each channel.

DP(DisplayPort) KVM Switch

As an emerging digital video port in recent years, compared with the HDMI interface, the DP interface has higher bandwidth, lower design difficulty and supports the transmission of audio as the HDMI port. Although the popularity rate is not as large as the HDMI interface, it is widely used in esports, high-quality image video design and editing fields.

Check more detail about our DP KVM Switch: TESmart PKS0201A10

DVI KVM Switch

Unlike other interface, the DVI does not support audio transmission. The DVI KVM extender is designed to provide a reliable digital video experience that overcomes the limitations of traditional analog formats such as VGA. These types of switches can support single - or dual-link DVI-D or DVI-I, and can even be backward compatible with analog VGA signals using passive or active video converters. These switches are ideal for critical enterprise-class applications that require reliable digital image quality and fast switching of redundant hardware, such as in broadcast play centers, process monitoring and control, staging LABS, and data centers.

USB KVM Switch

USB KVM Switches basically use USB type-c as an interface (arguably all of them), and due to type-c's excellent transfer protocol, USB type-c KVM Switches are generally smaller and do not require an additional audio interface. On certain devices, it is even possible to use a single input wire to achieve multiple display video outputs

Check TESmart USB-type C KVM Switch CKS202-P4K@60Hz, MST, EDID for 2 Laptops

Mixed KVM Switch

As the name suggests, a single KVM can have more than one type of video interface at the same time. In fact, this kind of hybrid interface KVM is very common. It has the advantage of integrating various video signals and compatible with more devices.

Check TESmart Mixed KVM Switch HCK402-P4K@60Hz, MST, EDID for 2 Laptops & 2 PCs


What Is the Most Suitable Usage Scenario?

Home Working

Normally, people who working at home having more than one PC such as a gaming PC or console. The KVM switch is perfectly suitable for this situation when people want to have a little leisure time. Just by click one button or press hotkey to switch into play-zone in 3sec.

Check TESmart KVM for best gaming experience: HKS0201A3U - Support 4K 60Hz, one button switch, USB3.0


All office desk is perfect and suit for KVM switch specially for IT programmer/Internet/computer engineering/ art designer. Unlike working from home, people in the office are more likely to use two or more screens.

Networking Control Center

In most control rooms, for example, in a railroad deployment room, each employee has to view multiple computers and has multiple operating systems to operate. KVM switch is not only pretty handy for personal use, but also works good for a large system. Employees can switch the screen content at any time, and managers can also unified screen display control.

Data Center

Due to a large number of devices or servers that need to be controlled, KVM switches are frequently used in data center applications. In addition to LAN administration, labs, manufacturing operations, multiple computer desktops, etc., KVM switches are frequently utilized.


What Is Dual or Multiple Monitor KVM Switch?

KVM can work on more than one monitor. But this requires a specific model, such as the TESmart HKS0403A1U, which allows four computers to be linked to three monitors. You'll need three HDMIs per computer, and when properly connected, you can control the display through a remote control, hotkey, or KVM front panel. HKS0403A1U supports three screens, mixed screen mode, users can customize the control according to their own preferences. The same is true for multiple screens, but it is worth noting that under normal circumstances, each host needs to be connected to the same number of lines as the output source, such as if you want to display content on three screens, the host should be connected to three data lines to the input port every day.

Check more information about TESmart Triple Monitor KVM HKS0403A1U - Support 4pcs & 3monitors, USB3.0, 4K@60Hz


What are the switch methods?

For different brands and different models, the switching method is different. The following is a description of the common switching methods. 

  1. Remote Control: Remote control is usually the most convenient and fast way to switch. You only need to press a specific key, you can quickly switch signals. The remote control switch allows users to remotely control the KVM, getting rid of the distance limit, and at the same time, allows the administrator to quickly control multiple screens and multiple signal sources in a large scenario

  1. Front Panel Button Switching Method: Many KVM switches have buttons that allow you to switch between pc signal sources with a single press. In a multi-screen KVM, there are usually several buttons on the front panel to allow users to switch between a single screen and control all screens in a unified manner

  1. Switch Hotkeys: Basically every brand has its own hotkey toggle combination. For the TESmart brand, it is easy to switch by simply pressing the button shown below. And the hot key, in addition to controlling the switch signal source, also has more practical uses. For details, please see the product manual

  1. Mouse Transparent Switch: Mouse transparent mode is a special switching method for specific TESmart models. You just need to use a mouse touching the screen boundary twice quickly and the KVM will automatically switch input sources. This mode is turned off by default, user needs to press the combination of hotkey+hotkey+F12 to enable it

  1. Mouse Wheel Switching: This is also a special switch method only adapted for specific TESmart models, normally for the newest product. Mouse wheel switching method can quickly switch input sources by mouse operation, double-click the mouse wheel to switch to the next input port. Mouse wheel switching mode is off by default. You can use keyboard hotkey command [Right-Ctrl] + [Right-Ctrl] + [F6] to turn on mouse wheel switching mode.



KVM switches may not be for everyone. But if you or your colleagues already use multiple devices in your digital workspace, getting started with a KVM can definitely improve your productivity and make your work environment more comfortable. If you want to give it a try, now is the time to start using your own KVM Switch



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