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Switch/Router for multiple workstations to multiple sets of peripherals
posted by Jean-Francois Panisset  on Aug. 26, 2016, 4:30 p.m. (2 years, 3 months, 22 days ago)
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There are lots of different KVM switching / routing solutions out there at various price points and capabilities. The "gold standard" has typically been the ThinkLogical stuff: a "TX" box goes behind every workstation, a "RX" box goes at every seating position, and you can connect "TX" to "RX" boxes either through a fiber patch panel or via a dedicated switch:

http://www.thinklogical.com/
http://www.thinklogical.com/sites/default/files/public/TLX%20Brochure.pdf

That stuff is not cheap, but it is uncompressed, and supports 4K/60. There are lots of similar products, you can look at companies like Avocent, IHSE... Which product you pick and how much you are going to spend will depend on:

- how many monitors, and what resolution: can you make do with single link DVI (1920x1200@60), or do you need higher resolution?
- how many USB peripherals
- do you need high speed USB, or just HID stuff
- tablet support: Wacoms are weird, so you need to make sure you are using a solution that explicitly supports them

An alternative is to use PCoIP technology from Teradici. A PCIe "host card" goes into each workstation, acts as a USB hub and sound device, and loopback cables capture the DVI/DisplayPort output of the GPU to encode everything into a TCP/IP stream on a dedicated Ethernet port. In your suite you have "Zero Clients", which are small terminals to which you connect monitors and peripherals and connect back to host cards over a standard network. You can control which host card a zero client connects to either from the zero client itself, or from a software management console. If you search the archives of SSA you will find lots of discussion of Teradici / PCoIP.

JF


On Fri, Aug 26, 2016 at 9:19 AM, David Kossin <content@studiosysadmins.com> wrote:

Hey,

In our office we have assistant editors that move around based on which projects they are working on. We have 3 assistant workstations in our server room but have 6 different editing suites. I have a monitor/keyboard/mouse/tablet in each editing suite for the assistants. Currently, when an assistant is assigned to a different suite I have to physically connect the correct peripherals to the workstation in the server room. I am looking for a way to put all three workstations and all 6 sets of peripherals on some kind of switch/router which would allow me to switch the peripherals from any workstation to any suite with the push of a button. Does anyone have a similar setup? What do you use? Ive searched for switches but all I find our KVM switches that do the opposite of what I want (1 peripheral set hooked into multiple workstations).

Any ideas?

Thanks!


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Response from Jeremy Lang @ Aug. 31, 2016, 7:20 p.m.
IHSE also makes a good product that's more reasonable than Think Logical's prices, working pretty good for us.
But if you already have the workstations in your server room and longview/etc in place to the rooms a simple local matrix switch may be an easy possibility.
Might start to get problematic if you need greater than 1920X1200 resolution.

______________
Jeremy M. Lang
it4vfx

On Fri, Aug 26, 2016 at 9:32 PM, Ken Spickler <ken.spickler@gmail.com> wrote:
We use the Avocent HMX system for this purpose. Wacom tablets are a bit laggy through it, though, so we use dedicated extenders for the few of those we have. Connecting to newer trash can Macs also produces unpredictable results in dual monitor configurations but the silver towers don't have this issue.

Ken SpicklerSent from iPhone. Srry for tpos.

On Aug 26, 2016, at 9:01 PM, Brandon Lindauer <brandon@thelindauers.com> wrote:

I've used a good number of Avocent IP KVMs on a network and it was pretty slick. Any number of clients can be looking at any number of hosts. Although if a second station tried to grab control via keyboard/mouse there was a delay before it released. But that was the old version. I don't know about their new stuff other than the fact that's it's OEM'd from Adder.
I wasn't impressed with the thinkLogical setup, kinda clunky. but again I used an older version.
If the computers themselves are fairly close together you could look into a KVM matrix switch. An 8 x 8 or 16 x 16 sounds like it would fit your needs.



On Aug 26, 2016, at 9:19 AM, David Kossin <content@studiosysadmins.com> wrote:

Hey,

In our office we have assistant editors that move around based on which projects they are working on. We have 3 assistant workstations in our server room but have 6 different editing suites. I have a monitor/keyboard/mouse/tablet in each editing suite for the assistants. Currently, when an assistant is assigned to a different suite I have to physically connect the correct peripherals to the workstation in the server room. I am looking for a way to put all three workstations and all 6 sets of peripherals on some kind of switch/router which would allow me to switch the peripherals from any workstation to any suite with the push of a button. Does anyone have a similar setup? What do you use? Ive searched for switches but all I find our KVM switches that do the opposite of what I want (1 peripheral set hooked into multiple workstations).

Any ideas?

Thanks!

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