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      Avocent/Cybex KVM AutoView 400 Review

     
     Date: October 8th, 2001
     Type: Review
     Supplier: Avocent
     Author: Xtracable

    Testing
    Because the AutoView 400 was shipped from the United states it came with a US IEC power lead, this is no real problem as IEC leads are standard computer power leads so we just used a spare computer power lead to power the main AutoView 400. However the remote extender also requires a power pack that provides 24vDC @ 500mA so we had to buy a universal DC power adapter which cost about $30 form our local Tandy store. As a note, if you want to buy this product we recommend getting it from a local Australian distributor so that you don't have to get a different power adapter.

    .

    Once the unit was powered up the On-Screen menu came up and we were required to add the channels that were plugged in. Adding the channels was quite simple it just involved specifying a channel name and the port that you want to assign to that channel name. Once the channels are added you can bring up a list of the channels by pressing <CTRL><CTRL> on your keyboard, you can then go down the list and select the channel which you would like to view. You can also press the buttons on the front of the AutoView to switch channels

    To access the On-screen menu simply press <CTRL><CTRL> to bring up the channel list and then hit <CTRL><CTRL> again. This will bring up the menu where you can access all the configuration options of the AutoView 400. From the menu you can add channels, edit channels, setup scan lists and access all the security options.

    One of the useful functions the AutoView has is its ability to scan through channels at a set time interval, you can tell the AutoView to scan all channels that have a computer plugged or create you own custom scan list to scan only the channels that you want, in the order you want. Starting a scan is very simple you can either press the scan button on the front of the AutoView or go in to the menu and selecting scanning.

    The AutoView also has a command line which is brought up by holding down <NUM LOCK> and pressing <-> then releasing <NUM LOCK>. A full listing of all the commands available to use at the command line are provided in the easy to read Instruction manual that comes with the kit. The documentation comes in a wide range of languages and is designed so that it can be easily read, plus it has some diagrams and examples helping you to setup the AutoView and how to use all of its features.

    The last thing we tested was the Remote Extender. The remote extender is probably one of the best feature of the AutoView 400. Just the thought of being able to monitor the servers from my desk at work, without having to walk down stairs to the server room. To test the remote extender we ran a length of standard CAT5 cable into another room and setup a monitor, keyboard and mouse on the remote extender. Then simply connect the CAT5 cable to the Remote I/O port on the remote extender and the AutoView 400. Well the setup was as simple as that and the remote extender allowing us to access all the computers connected to the AutoView. The multi-user ability also worked very well, for example while one person is using the computer connected to port B, someone else can be using the computer connected to port A. Below is a snapshot when connecting the remote extender.

    Conclusion
    Working in the IT field you come across many different KVM packages, each having their own features and uses. But by far one of the best options I have seen yet is the AutoView 400 with its small stylish design and huge list of features like On-Screen display, easy installation, hot swapable, cross-platform compatibility, multi-user ability, remote extender and many more.

    The only real problem with the AutoView is that it require power to be connected to use any of the computers, although it does have the ability to power itself so that all the computers connected can bootup in the event of a power failure. Other than that the integration of the AutoView in to your current systems is completely seamless.

    The AutoView is definitely a better option than swapping cables or having several monitors and keyboards. Although the AutoView 400 is mainly targeted at the workplace, it could also prove useful in the home with the growing number of computer these days!

    A big thanks goes out to the team at Avocent and Trisha from NetPR for supplying this kit for our review. If you would like to find out some more technical information or would like to place an order for a AutoView from them, please visit the Avocent website.

    Score: 8 / 10

    FORUM: Talk about this and other products

     

      Supplier Information

     
    Avocent provide a large range of networking products, for the home user to enterprise solutions. If you would like to purchase a Cybex KVM or any other product then please drop by their website for more information on specifications of their product lines and to place an order. You can find all the details on products on their site http://www.avocent.com/.

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