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USB And PS2 Ports On KVM Switches? 18

An Anonymous Coward asks: "I am regularly working with multiple computers and have given in to the fact that I need and will buy a KVM. However, I am in need of a device that can switch both standard PS2 (mouse & keyboard support) and also USB. From my searching I have found KVMs with Monitor + USB or Monitor + PS2, but not all three. Does anyone know if such a USB + PS2 + Monitor KVM exists?"
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USB and PS2 Ports on KVM Switches?

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  • How about USB-to-PS/2 converters? I've seen some bundled with USB mice, so such a beast might be generic enough to handle what you want.
  • Here [], here [], and here [].

    I don't have time to look, but you might want to check out Belkin [], they have just about every cable and accessory known to man.

    Good luck

  • Belkin people showed me one at Interop in Paris. They _said_ Linux USB keyboard was supported. I could not test though.
  • iogear [] makes a KVM with Mac and PC connections. I just bought one of their two port switches from [] with free shipping and it works great.

    -the packet man

  • Get the very best sheilded video cables money can buy (speaking from experience)
  • Pretty much every OS I care about has support for USB, and USB expansion cards are cheap (like, $20 and less), so why not get a KVM with USB and video (I like the iogear switches I use) and just add a USB card to the machines that don't already have it?

    BTW, I'd go with active PS/2 switching if possible. You don't get as many devices, but you *do* get immediate keyboard-n-mouse control of the newly swiched-to machine. With the USB switches, you've gotta wait for the OS to recognize that there were new USB components plugged in, which takes a few seconds.

    You might also look into the conyx "surfer mp" []. I dunno if it'll work or not, but it suports a bunch of stuff...

  • Humm lets see

    Box 1: Windows ME
    Box 2: Lots of differents OS's Windows 2k, Windows ME,Slackware 7 running X , and FreeBSD 4.0
    Box 3: Slackware 7 also running X
    Box 4: FreeBSD 4.0 also running X

    Yes three of these systems do support serial console, but last time I checked X does not work too well over serial consoles. I know that you can say well just use a X server on Box 1 and access X over the network work. Again not a bad idea, but Win2k Pro and WinME does not work very well with remote displays unless you use third party software.

    So as you can see One solution does not fit all, there are ones that fit certain solutions. Like yours a rack of servers, the serial console is a great idea. But have 2 or more desktop machines the KVM is the best way.

  • by Enry ( 630 ) <> on Wednesday November 22, 2000 @04:04AM (#607892) Journal
    Why do people insist on using KVM switches? Linux and most other UNIX(es) systems support serial consoles. Run the serial port to a concentrator, then those who need to can get DIRECT access to the system console from their desktops. Some motherboards support this and let you get into the BIOS via the serial port.

    There's only two times where you actually NEED a KVM switch:

    1) You have to do something at the machine that requires you to be there, like an OS install. Even that can be worked around. Pop CD in drive, walk back to desk, install while reading /. and drinking coffee.

    2) You're using NT. No serial console support there. The less said about this, the better.

    Seriously, look at the rack space used up by kvm switching gear and monitor and keyboard and mouse, the problems involved with having only one crash cart in a cage, or having to shlep your butt into work at 3AM to reboot a machine you could have done from home.

    (Yes, there are monitors and keyboards that will fit in a 1U space. $$$ and still has the limitation that you can't get direct access remotely.)
  • For remote NT, take a look at Freevision [] - the KVM switch From Hell. It starts at 64 servers and 32 users, and seems to be PC Anywhere (or similar) done in hardware, rather than an analog switch. It runs over cat5, and has a bolt-on to run over any IP network, which appears to be a video codec type of deal.

    Happily, we don't have anywhere near enough NT servers to justify one of these.
  • The other problem (under NT) is that when you want to use the keyboard and monitor on one machine, someone else is using the keyboard and monitor to control something else.

    I've also had the problem of working on a site with KVM and remote control packages. Same limitation of one user per machine.

    Basically, NT is hopeless when it comes to remote administration.

  • Oh come on! I have 2 Linux workstations (not servers) and an SGI at my desk. I use the KVM switch (switching with hotkeys) so I don't need my desk overrun with monitors keyboards and stray mice. Sure...I could use a serial concentrator, but that'd cost about 4 times as much as the KVM switch and I'd get no X. I could also remote display X onto one box, but even with 100mb ether it isn't nearly as fast as using the local X server.

    The person asking this question obviously has a need (possibly just a want, that's his decision) to use a KVM switch with USB support. Just because you can't see a valid use doesn't mean there isn't one.
  • The really simple answer is this may be a workstation© At work I have a Windows box and a Linux bos for my workstations© I use a KVM to jump between the two© All of my other systems are racked in the NOC and accessible via Telnet¥tm©

  • Do you need USB on YOUR side or the switch side? I use the Cybex autoview 400 (8 port) it's got cable kits for EVERYTHING. I've got my suns connects, my PC's and my Mac's (G4's with USB only) It only supports sun and Ps/2 keyboards on your side, no USB. But it does support USB keyboards and mice on the ports.
  • by Stavr0 ( 35032 ) on Wednesday November 22, 2000 @11:06AM (#607898) Homepage Journal
    How about USB-to-PS/2 converters? I've seen some bundled with USB mice, so such a beast might be generic enough to handle what you want.

    OMIGOD!!! You've just stumbled onto the biggest secret from the connector conspiracy!!! USB is nuthin' but a repackaged PS2 port!!!!!!

    Naah, it's the mice that are bilingual... they speak both PS2 and USB protocols - just like the old days when they spoke PS2 and SERIAL.
    Inanimate Carbon Rod thanks you for your support. See you in 2004!

  • by Heccy ( 85100 )
    I'm surprised noone has mentioned VNC [].

    Connect to the desktop of as many machines as you like... WAY better than crappy KVM switches! Free, and I believe Open Source as well.

    We have a load of NT and UNIX machines here, and I use VNC all the time, I highly recommend it.
  • If he's looking for a switch with support for both ps/2 and USB I doubt he's planning on using the USB port for kbd/mouse. The reason you wouldn't want multiple USB ports on each machine is the same reason you want a KVM switch in the first place: so you can share one device btwn 2 machines without unplugging/plugging in. So if he's talking about a scanner, printer, camera, cdwriter, etc etc. then having the kvm switch do the switching means the active machine can get to use those peripherals. Without crawling under the desk :)
  • So get XFree86 for Win32. []

Mathemeticians stand on each other's shoulders while computer scientists stand on each other's toes. -- Richard Hamming