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Frequently Asked Questions: KVM Switches


What is a KVM switch?
KVM stands for Keyboard, Video and Mouse. A KVM switch lets you connect multiple computers to one switch unit that needs only ONE keyboard, ONE video monitor and ONE mouse to control all the attached computers.
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What is a KVM matrix switch?
A KVM matrix switch allows multiple users to individually command or simultaneously share many computers.
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Why is an NTI switch beneficial?
A KVM switch:
  • Dramatically reduces hardware costs by decreasing the number of keyboards, monitors and mice required to control multiple CPUs;
  • Reduces wasted staff time by allowing all of the servers to be monitored and controlled from a central location;
  • Organizes valuable workspace to be more efficient and productive, freeing limited space for productive servers, hubs, routers, and printers;
  • Reduces energy consumption and air-conditioning costs by eliminating redundant monitors.
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What are some typical applications where a KVM switch is beneficial?
Typical applications include, but are not limited to:
  • Server rooms
  • LAN administration
  • Help desks
  • Labs
  • The military
  • Education
  • Legal firms
  • Accounting firms
  • Manufacturing operations
  • Medical facilities
  • Government offices
  • Software and hardware developers
  • Multiple computer desktops
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What computer platforms do NTI KVM switches support?
NTI produces a full line of switches that can be used with PCs, MACs, SUNs (including USB-enabled PCs, MAC G4/G5 and SUN Blades) and workstations.
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Will my computer behave any differently with a KVM switch in place?
No, KVM switches use port emulation so your computer will detect the presence of a keyboard, monitor and mouse at all times and will boot normally. With certain KVM switch models, it is possible to boot or shut down all connected computers simultaneously, even USB computers.
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Do I have to reboot every time I switch to another server?
No, there is constant keyboard and mouse emulation to all attached CPUs. Therefore, the computer constantly thinks there is a keyboard attached and active.
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What do I have to install on my computers?
Nothing, NTI's KVM switches are a hardware solution to computer management. They are designed to not intrude on the performance of the computer or the computer network.
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How do NTI KVM switches accommodate mixed platforms?
NTI offers a complete line of cables and adapters specifically designed to support multi-platform applications.
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What do I need to operate a KVM Switch?
Different KVM switches require different things. In most cases, all you will need is the KVM switch, enough cables to go to all of your computers, your keyboard, monitor and mouse, and the computers themselves. That is the basic configuration and more advanced systems may require more components. If you have any questions about a specific configuration, fill out this form or call Customer Service at 800-742-8324.
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Is there a way to name the computers attached to my KVM switch for ease in identifying which computer I am using?
NTI offers two options:
  • With the Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) offered on many NTI KVM switches, you can edit and enter computer names from the keyboard and then use the LCD to select and control computers attached to your switch by name.
  • With the On Screen Display (OSD) offered on many NTI KVM switches, you can utilize a pop-up menu to name, select and control the computers attached to your switch.
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What is On Screen Display (OSD)? What does OSD allow you to do?
On Screen Display is a control method utilizing a pop-up menu that appears on your monitor screen. You can use the on-screen interface to conveniently name and control the computers attached to your NTI KVM switch.
OSD allows you to do the following:
  • Switch computers
  • Check computer status (on/off) and identify computer platform (PC/MAC/SUN)
  • Scan powered-on computers connected to the KVM switch
  • Save system settings
  • Reset mouse and keyboard
  • Assign unique names to each attached computer up to 12 characters long
  • Change position of OSD menu
  • Change position of Status Flag
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Does NTI's OSD require that I load software on my systems?
No, OSD software is contained in the NTI KVM switch. No software resides in your system.
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I am using all the channels on my current NTI KVM switch. Can I control additional servers from the same keyboard, monitor and mouse by cascading?
Yes, you can cascade NTI's KVM switches to control up to 512 computers as if from one switch.
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What does "cascade" mean in relation to KVM switches? How does this differ from a "daisy chain"?
To cascade is to attach one or more additional KVM switches to the master KVM switch in order to expand the number of CPUs that you can control from one console. With the capability to cascade, NTI's line of KVM switches allows you to control up to 512 CPUs from one keyboard, monitor and mouse. Think of this system as an octopus, with one central master and each slave extending from the master.

To "daisy chain" is another method of linking multiple computers to a KVM switch; however each computer is a "link" in the chain rather than independently connected to a KVM switch. This method can lead to trouble, as a problem with one computer (one link in the chain) can result in a loss of the entire chain.
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Will NTI products interfere with my network or software?
No. Since NTI products connect directly to the keyboard, monitor and mice ports on the computer, the switch does not interfere with any software or the network.
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How are KVM switches controlled?
NTI KVM switches can be controlled from the front panel buttons or by using "hot keys." Some models are also offered with On Screen Display (OSD), Liquid Crystal Display (LCD), Wired Remote Control, and RS232 control options. For information on which standard features and options are available for specific models, click on the appropriate product description page on www.nti1.com/servswt.html, or contact Customer Service at 800-742-8324.
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How do the hot keys work?
Enter the command mode by hitting CNTL` (Control Key + tick mark located on same key as tilde~) and set your options. To exit you hit the Escape key.
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What is the best KVM Switch for my configuration?
This question can not be answered in a paragraph. Each configuration can be unique to what you are doing. If your questions are not answered on the website we recommend that you fill out this form or call Customer Service at 800-742-8324.
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How far can I locate the keyboard, monitor and mouse from the KVM switch? Can I position my system unit in a secure environment with the keyboard, monitor and mouse in a separate location?
Using NTI's KVM cables you can extend your keyboard monitor and mouse up to 100 feet.

NTI's KVM extenders allow you to place a computer in a safe, clean, and secure environment away from dirt, dust, clutter, and harm and access it from a location outside the computer room. When used in conjunction with a KVM switch, you can access remote computers located up to 1,000 feet via CAT5/5e/6 cable.
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What are the basic differences between NTI's KVM switch products?
NTI produces a complete line of KVM Switches to provide the flexibility our customers demand. All of our switches incorporate dedicated internal microprocessors that emulate keyboard and mouse presence to each attached CPU 100% of the time so all computers boot error-free.

Visit www.nti1.com/servswt.html to view information on NTI's complete line of KVM switches.
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Is NTI on a GSA contract?
Yes. The details of this contract are at: www.nti1.com/gsa.html
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