There are two main types of KVM switches, mechanical and electronic.
Mechanical switches use no electronics or intelligent circuitry. You must physically turn a rotary switch to the channel through which you want to pass information. These switches cannot communicate with the computers at the end of each closed channel or interpret the information that passes through the switch. For example, to turn on the computers attached to the KVM switch, you must manually turn the rotary switch to each computer port individually. While the rotary switch is at a particular computer port, you can turn that computer on. You must wait for it to boot before going to the next computer. NTI does offer a selection of mechanical switches for customers who prefer this low-cost option.
Electronics switches operate on the same principle as mechanical switches, but can communicate with the user and maintain continuous contact with all the attached computers. NTI's advanced KVM electronic switches will fully emulate the mouse and keyboard connections for each computer, even when that computer is not selected. They do this by dedicating a microprocessor to each computer attached to the KVM console. This ensures that all attached computers can boot and maintain connections. As a result, switching is seamless and you can even reboot servers through the switch.
2. How are Electronic 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 optional On Screen Display (OSD), Liquid Crystal Display (LCD), Wired Remote Control, and RS232 control options. For information on which options are available for specific models, click on the Options icon at the bottom of the appropriate product description page on this website, or contact Customer Service at 800-742-8324. Click on the Options link for further Options FAQs.
3. 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.