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What is a KVM Switch and How Does it Work?



This article will introduce you to what KVM switch is and how it works, then you will get a helpful guide when selecting the best KVM switch.

KVM switches were introduced as an efficient solution for managing multiple computers with a single set of peripherals, which dates back to the early days of computing. The first KVM switches were designed as hardware-based devices that required manual switching between connected computers. However, with the advent of networking technology, the KVM switcher developed into a software-based solution that allows users to control multiple computers from a single interface, making it easier to switch between them. Today, KVM switches especially switch support advanced features, such as KVM over IP are commonly used in data centers, server rooms, and other environments that require efficiently managed network solutions.

What is a KVM Switch?

KVM Meaning


KVM (Kernel-based Virtual Machine) is an advanced hardware management technology that allows controlling multiple computers or servers with a single piece of hardware equipment, with this centralized management by a single Keyboard, Video, and Mouse, a KVM switch is able to control 2, 4, 8, 16, or even 64 computers, enable easy access without the limitation of time and location, that means you can start to access a large number of network devices at any time and anywhere you want. Tough KVM switches and Gigabit Ethernet switches share a similar appearance and both can be used for controlling multiple computers or servers, in fact, they are different devices to support different functions. 




The key feature of the KVM switch allows the control of multiple devices at the same time, with sizes ranging from small desktop models to large ones that can manage hundreds of units. Security is also one of the most important features. Many KVM switches have built-in security features such as password protection, and user certification that help prevent unauthorized access and data leakage. Moreover, KVM switches often support advanced features such as hotkey switching, virtual media, and remote access, providing users with greater convenience and functionality. Typically,  the KVM switcher offers a variety of connectivity options, including USB, PS/2, VGA, HDMI, and DisplayPort, and contains 2 to 64 ports, The number of ports on a KVM switch determines the different number of connected devices, for example, a 2 port KVM switcher can only connect two computers.




In the diverse KVM switch market, various types of KVM switches are defined according to different classification criteria. The three most hotly discussed types are KVM over IP KVM switch dual monitor, and digital KVM switches, and the following are some common classifications of KVM switches.


KVM over IP technology provides a secure and reliable solution for remote access and management. With KVM over IP, IT administrators can remotely check troubleshoot and resolve issues with servers, reducing downtime and improving overall system availability. KVM over IP technology also allows for remote deployment and management of software updates, saving time and resources. Moreover, KVM over IP switch can be easily connected with network infrastructure, enabling high compatibility and providing a cost-effective solution for computing environments.


Digital KVM switches have a range of advantages over traditional analog KVM switches. By using digital interfaces, such as HDMI or KVM switch DisplayPort, digital KVM switchers provide a high-quality video signal, resulting in improved image clarity and resolution. Digital KVM switches also support higher video resolutions and refresh rates, making them ideal for demanding applications such as video editing and gaming. Furthermore, digital KVM switches often support advanced features such as USB sharing and audio switching, providing a more seamless and efficient user experience.


KVM switches with a dual monitor stand for managing multiple devices across two monitors while the number of keyboards and mice keeps the same. Additionally, dual monitor KVM switches can support advanced features such as picture-in-picture mode, allowing users to simultaneously view content from multiple devices on the same screen. 




What is a kvm switch used for? As information technology continues to evolve, the need for efficient management of multiple devices has become essential. KVM switches have emerged as a popular solution in various environments. You need to choose a suitable KVM switcher based on the actual situation, such as whether your budget matches the KVML price. Let's continue the discussion with the following three points.

 Enterprise Office Environment: In order to optimize office efficiency, it's common to have multiple computers in an enterprise. Using a KVM switch, office users can easily switch between computers on the same monitor, keyboard, and mouse, promoting an efficient workflow.

 Data center management: KVM switcher can simplify server management and operation by allowing multiple servers to be connected to the same monitor, keyboard, and mouse. Additionally, KVM switches support remote access, enabling administrators to manage servers remotely.

 Gamers: For gamers who require multiple computers for gaming, a KVM switch can significantly enhance their experience. With a KVM switch, they can enjoy HD video transmission and high-quality audio output without complicated switching.

How Does a KVM Switch Work

The KVM switch work by providing a central hub for connecting multiple devices. Typically,  Cat5 cables or specific KVM cable kits can be used for the connection between the device and the KVM switch. When users want to switch between devices, they need to connect all the target devices to the KVM switch, which in turn is connected to a keyboard, video monitor, and mouse. We can also think of the KVM switcher as a signal controller, directing input and output signals between these network devices via the keyboard, video monitor, and mouse, easily enabling switching between devices without the need to physically disconnect and reconnect cables.

 Note that the KVM switch has three switching methods including button switching, OSD menu switching, and shortcut key switching. In practice, we need to select the switch according to the requirements of the switch. The button switch is the physical button on top of the KVM switcher, which can be pressed directly to select the corresponding server. The OSD menu is the internal KVM software that allows you to use the mouse to select the corresponding server for switching according to the server name displayed on the menu. Shortcut keys are usually a combination of keys such as Ctrl and data key, 1, 2, 3, for example, select Ctrl+1 to select the first server, simple and convenient.

Simplify  Wiring

KVM switches offer lots of benefits in computing environments, one of which is simplified cabling. The presence of multiple computers can pose significant challenges to the wiring structure, which can lead to increased complexity and clutter. With a KVM switch, a single set of peripherals, including monitors, keyboards, and mice, can be used to connect to all devices, thereby streamlining the cabling infrastructure. This allows for seamless and efficient switching between devices, while simultaneously reducing clutter and enhancing the overall organization and management of the computing system.

Efficiency Operation

KVM switches provide a significant advantage in terms of efficient operation, which simplify the management of multiple devices in a computing environment. By utilizing a single set of peripherals, such as a monitor, keyboard, and mouse, KVM switches eliminate the need for users to switch back and forth between different devices. This centralized management system streamlines the operation of multiple devices, saving time and reducing labor costs. Additionally, it minimizes the risk of errors and enhances the operability of the entire network system, making KVM switches an ideal tool for IT workers seeking to optimize their computing environment.

Easy Management

A KVM switch provides a simple and effective solution for managing multiple devices in a computing environment. It allows IT administrators to manage multiple devices using a set of peripheral devices such as keyboards, mice, and monitors. In addition, KVM switches can support advanced features such as hotkey switching, allowing administrators to quickly switch between devices with the press of a single button. Furthermore, KVM switches can support advanced features such as virtual media, enabling administrators to remotely install software or perform system updates across multiple devices simultaneously.

KVM Switch in Data Center Application

As data centers continue to grow in size and complexity, data center KVM switches have become an essential device to gain a cost-effective solution to efficiently manage multiple servers and devices from a centralized console. These switches enable remote access to servers, streamlining critical tasks such as software installations, updates, and system configurations. At the same time, another crucial player in the data center network is the data center switch, which is primarily deployed at the core layer of the network architecture. These switches are designed to deliver exceptional flexibility and scalability, supporting comprehensive layer 3 functionality. The QSFPTEK S7600 series is high performance data center switch, offering advanced features such as MLAG, VXLAN, EVPN, VARP, and IPv6 support. With these capabilities, the QSFPTEK S7600 series proves to be an ideal choice for data center networks, meeting the demanding requirements of modern data center environments.

How to Choose the Best KVM Switch?

Effective device management is essential in any computing environment. However, choosing the best KVM switch may be a challenging task for many users. There are several essential factors to consider when selecting a KVM switcher.


Specification-The number of ports on a KVM switch determines the different number of computers, and servers that can be connected and remote free access. In addition, the number of users should be taken into consideration, Multi-user KVM From a desktop KVM switch allows smaller 4-user switches connection to enable hundreds of administrators to control thousands of servers at the same time. Single or Multi-monitor-KVM switches differ in single and Multi-monitor, the number of monitors ranges from a single multi to 8, there are also KVM-over-IP and CatX KVM units available that enable the grouping of multiple sources, thereby allowing a KVM switch to support an unlimited number of monitors.


Advanced feature-including audio, USB Peripheral device, Digital KVM, KVM over IP, security level, etc. For example, if you require a USB connection, thus a USB KVM switch is ideal for you, In another scenario, which needs to work with sensitive data, you should consider LDAP, Active Directory, RADIUS, or TACACS+, choose a KVM switch that supports encryption and authentication. Overall, When selecting a KVM switch you need to be very clear about what advanced features to better support your network.


Management operability-In addition to providing a complete software application, it must also support unified and centralized management of KVM products across the network so that users can detect failures at any time and access and manage servers directly from their desktops or from anywhere in the world.


This article introduces all the Knowledge you should know about the KVM switch. Careful consideration will help in selecting the best KVM switcher.  Additionally, if you require further queries regarding network solutions, feel free to contact our CCIE/HCIE via sales@qsfptek.com or live chat for prompt assistance.



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