You are most likely already aware of how switches work in general. A switch is a device that is used to connect and disconnect an electric circuit, like a light switch for example. A KVM switch is a piece of hardware that allows multiple computer systems to be controlled from at least one (often many more) keyboard, video monitor or mouse. In this instance, KVM stands for keyboard, video and mouse. KVM switches range from simple cable extending utilities to highly sophisticated pieces of hardware capable of greatly simplifying any computer setup, from home or office to complex server rooms and data center environments.
KVM switches are very practical and have numerous applications. Though all types of computer users could benefit from the implementation of some type of KVM switch, many of these switches sadly only end up in the hands of IT professionals. The ability to control multiple computers from one location can greatly improve production for individual people as well as businesses in many industries. KVM switches can greatly simplify the process of telecommunication, for instance, as users only need one workstation to control multiple devices and can do so remotely(from home). These switches can greatly reduce the need and cost for other hardware and peripherals, such as extra monitors and computers. You may find by incorporating a KVM switch into your setup, you can greatly reduce the amount of money spent on other peripherals, as well as saving a lot of space in your work area.
One extremely practical type of KVM switch is known as the KVM extender. Simply put, KVM extenders allow you to extend control of your keyboard, video and mouse several miles. These analog extenders, reliant on some form physical cable connection, should be used in situations when a more modern solution, the KVM over IP switch, is not a possibility. An IP KVM switch, though technically satisfies the definition of a KVM extender, does so over a network and as such are treated as a different solution by professionals and consumers alike.
Another popular type of KVM switch comes in the form of a rack mountable drawer. These drawers fit perfectly into your server racks and allow you to control multiple servers and computer systems from one conveniently located drawer in your rack. A rack KVM drawer can come in multiple sizes, and incorporate different combinations of keyboard, video and mouse. These drawers dramatically increase efficiency in a data center environment, and prevent many unnecessary headaches.
These are just a few quick examples of different types of KVM switches available and potential problems they can prevent. The applications for KVM switches are truly endless, and can alleviate many of the daily annoyances that come from using computers on a daily basis.