Six Questions to ask before you buy a KVM switching system

A KVM switch enables you to control multiple servers and other equipment from one keyboard, monitor, and mouse workstation. KVM switches give you the flexibility to access servers that are down the hall or across “the pond.” How you access your servers depends on a number of things. Before you choose a KVM switching solution, you need to consider some important issues…

What type of connection does the controlling keyboard, video display, and mouse have?
Depending on whether they are PS/2®, USB, or some combination of both, your connections determine what type of cabling you need.

If you are using USB devices, like keyboards and mice, make sure to purchase a KVM switch with USB support. Older KVMs usually only support PS/2 connections.

Do your CPUs require keyboard or keyboard and mouse emulation?
Keyboard emulation and keyboard and mouse emulation are enhanced features of most KVM switches. They enable each CPU to communicate with the switch as if it were directly attached to the controlling keyboard or mouse.

What operating system (OS) software do your computers use?
Are all your computers running the same OS? Or, like many organizations, do you have multiple CPUs running different OSs? With the right KVM switch, interconnecting multiple CPUs running different OSs is easy.

How close are your users to your servers?
If servers and users are physically close to each other, an analog KVM system will meet your needs. On the other hand, if users require access from remote locations because they travel, or if an IT manager needs to manage a distant data center, a KVM over IP (KVMoIP) system is going to be the best fit for your organization.

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Three Essential firestopping tips

Most cables are constructed with standard polymer jackets, which are combustible. Copper and aluminum are the most common metals used as conductors. Unfortunately, they’re good conductors of heat. The conductors can spread a fire by igniting surrounding flammable materials, such as the cable jacket. Then the jacket burns away, the conductors melt together, and the size of the cable bundle shrinks and causes gaps to develop within the cabling opening. This can be a major fire risk.

Firestopping is a term used to describe sealing and protecting openings and other joints between the cable and edges of the floor, wall, or ceiling. Firestopping was first practiced on U.S. combat ships in the 1960s. The walls and floors of the ships had steel tubes, which allowed conduits to pass through. Then, non-burning material was stuffed between the gaps, preventing the spread of fire and smoke. It wasn’t until the 1970s when larger companies began producing firestopping materials.

A successful firestop plan requires careful planning. Here are three tips to help you meet the needs of future cabling requirements and fire protection:

#1. Think long term
Most people tend to underestimate the size of the openings required for cabling and often forget about future expansion. When planning on how large to make the opening to run your cable, you must consider the diameter of the cable itself, how much room you need for firestopping materials, and whether you’ll be adding more cables in the future.

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“Removal only with approval” – New locking patch cables

We’ve focused on the importance of network security before, and if you remember, it all starts with getting physical. Now you can boost your physical network security starting at the port. Here’s one of the simplest and inexpensive, yet most effective ways you can increase your Layer 1 security. Lock up your network ports with LockPORT Security Locking Patch Cables. They stay locked in place until you take them out. Or, as Christina Hansen from’s Product Showcase says, “removal only with approval.”

If people—whether they’re personnel, visitors, or those with evil on their mind—can’t disconnect your network cables, they can’t tamper with your network and bring it down. Another danger to your network are cable connections that work loose over time or are accidentally knocked out. Loose and poor cable connections are one of the biggest causes of network downtime. And, it’s why the first question Help Desk technicians ask is: “Did you check the cable connection?” Whether from accidental or intentional disconnects, once your network goes down, you could spend hours and hours trying to pinpoint where the problem lies.

Two levels of security
LockPORT gives you two different locking cable choices. Both feature the same patented LockPORT boot. What differs are the patented clip inserts. Best of all, the clips are interchangeable so if you’re application changes, all you do is move a clip from one cable to another instead of buying more cables.

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New upgrade available for iCOMPEL users

Digital signage is fascinating. No other medium makes it possible to deliver compelling content at the right location at the right time. And, if you’re a fan of our award-winning iCOMPEL™ digital signage solution, you’ll be happy to know that the new V8.1.1 release is here! Better manage your content through our new features below:

Add remote control functionality to your iCOMPEL
Do you log into a GUI to change what’s playing on the screen? Control the content on your iCOMPEL digital signage easily with this handheld remote control unit. Just press a button on the IR remote to change a video or TV channel, or to turn the volume up or down. It’s great for quickly accessing content to show to important customers or for giving local users (receptionists near your screens, for instance) an easy way to change content themselves.

Distribute iCOMPEL content wirelessly to your digital signage

iCOMPEL Wi-Fi Module

iCOMPEL Wi-Fi Module

Looking at setting up digital signage in areas not easily reached by conventional network cabling? Or are you simply seeking a way to back up wired player links to ensure continuous signage uptime? Then go wireless by adding this iCOMPEL Wi-Fi Module to a new or an existing iCOMPEL player. This module is perfect for signage in historic buildings where cables would be unsightly, or buildings with ornate marble, brick, or similarly finished surfaces. Need rapid deployment? Think wireless so it won’t disrupt nearby operations.

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Break the 5-meter USB barrier!

Extend the benefits of USB by reading these FAQ:

Q. What are the distance limitations of USB?
A. The maximum range of USB is limited by the length of an individual USB cable and the number of cables that can be connected in series through USB hubs. The maximum length of a USB cable in 5 meters (16 ft.). The maximum number of USB hubs that can be daisychained (connected in series) is five. Thus, if a device is connected to a PC through five hubs, then the maximum distance from the device to the PC is 30 meters (98 ft.) (6 cables @ 5 meters [16 ft.] each).

Q. Why is USB cable length limited to 5 meters (16 ft.)?
A. This the maximum capability of the standard drivers that are provided in USB devices and hubs.

Q. Why is the number of hubs limited to five?
A. Each hub delays the USB signal by a certain amount of time. When the host controller issues a request for data from a device, this request must pass through each hub in the chain, incurring incremental delay as it does so. A similar effect is experienced by the reply (data) from the device as it passes back through the chain of hubs to the host controller. The number of hubs is limited to five to place a limit on the round-trip delay of a signal from host controller to device and back to host controller.

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