If you use two desktops together, you must know how inconvenient it can be to switch keyboards and mouse between both systems. Not to mention that keeping two sets of computer peripherals occupy more space. The same is true in the case of servers as well. KVM (Keyboard, Video, and Monitor) switches help you in such cases. These switches help you switch seamlessly between two or more systems, and let you control and manage multiple desktops efficiently.
They remain plugged into your desktops and peripherals and make switching the peripherals between two desktops a hassle-free affair. All you need to do is flick a switch.
As simple as it may sound, KVM switches are not cheap, and a quality switch with good connectors costs north of $50. And this brings us to an important question—are KVM switches worth buying? Or is the hassle worth the time?
Well, that’s what we will explore in this post today.
So, without further ado, let’s get started.
How Does a KVM Switch Work
KVM switches are hardware devices designed to switch between two or more systems efficiently. These devices are small and occupy very little space on the desk. At the same time, they have enough ports to let you plug in computer peripherals and leave room for more, especially for home setups. These switches make it easy to switch between your desktop workspaces.
As noted earlier, KVM switches are not limited to desktop computers and are useful in many scenarios. You can also hook your laptop and tablet to use a single keyboard and mouse between them. In some cases, you do not have to worry about charging the connected devices as well since the switch takes care of it.
Aside from the above, KVM switches find use in server rooms, stock trading, and data centers. The good part is that the systems don’t necessarily have to be in one place. For systems far apart, IP-based KVM switches do the deed of switching between two systems based on the remote IP connection. Of course, there is more at work than just the system’s IP.
There are quite a few types of KVM switches, depending on the type of function. Cable KVM switches and USB KVM switches are the popular ones when it comes to simple home setups.
Switch Seamlessly Between Systems
KVM switches are versatile. And depending on the device, you can assign a keyboard shortcut or hotkey to switch seamlessly between the systems, besides using the hardware switch.
However, there are a few things you need to take care of, like the quality of the HDMI cable and power cables. Secondly, not all switches can deal with the premium mouse and keyboards. You may need to switch to a basic mouse and keyboards to get things sorted, especially if you are facing any connectivity or performance issues.
Potential Security Issues
The security aspect comes into the picture when you are using two different systems for work and home. The inclusion of a switch means users will be able to switch to their personal laptops for their work, whether it’s surfing through Facebook & Instagram or going through their emails on Gmail. The latter means there will be fewer instances of opening phishing emails or tracking emails on company systems. In short, it will save you from risking breaking security and IT policies on your work system.
In short, if you work from home and often switch between home and office systems, then a KVM switch might be your best investment, for it will allow you to switch between multiple systems without the hassle of plugging and unplugging cables.
But before you buy one, you will have to check the number of inbound and outbound connectors. More importantly, if the connectors suit your requirement. And like laptop docks, the HDMI ports must be powerful enough to let you stream 4K content at 60Hz if you have 4K monitors.
Here are three of the best KVM switches that you can use.
Best KVM Switches
1. UGREEN USB KVM Switch
The best part is that there’s a LED indicator to indicate the system that is currently in use. It’s a popular KVM switch with more than 4,000 user ratings on Amazon. However, it doesn’t support keyboard shortcuts.
2. KSWLLO KVM Switch
It features an easy installation process and several users have praised its value-for-money proposition, and easy installation process. The company provides a micro USB cable for extra power, but you may have to buy a power adapter to go with it.
3. TESmart KVM Switch
If the picture quality of your foremost priority, then the TESmart KVM Switch makes for a good buy. However, despite the higher price, it doesn’t support hotkey or mouse cursor gestures.
Should You Buy a KVM Switch?
If you are tired of switching between multiple systems and if plugging and unplugging cables drives you crazy, I’d say why not? As long as you are not looking for 4K quality, a simple KVM switch shouldn’t set you back by much.
Last updated on 05 July, 2022
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