From everything I have read about IP KVM it seems it is basically a computer with some specialized hardware/built-in software - all blackboxed.  Would I not be able to make my own IP KVM with a laptop and some special adapters and some software on the laptop? I am agnostic as to whether it would be Windows or Linux that I would accomplish this with. I am also indifferent between wired or wireless if that is a possibility.
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I have worked with four different IP KVMs from 3 different vendors manufactured over the last 12 years. None of them appeared to be based on a PC motherboard from the housing. One was the size of an 8 port desktop switch.

There was an attempt in 2005 to make this available, but it didn't gain traction. I say good luck with this.

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Well there's a bit more to it that just some specialized hardware  software
what exactly do you want to achieve lineonecorp save money or a DIY using one keyboard mouse with several computer towers?
Here's an example with Raspberry Pi and Synergy, if you never heard of the PI it is a very versatile board made to automate many things. You would need a keyboard. I bought a rubber keyboard from Woolworths. Prefer the keyboard than a mouse
Synergy combines your devices together in to one cohesive experience.
see this picture
Share keyboard and mouse with Raspberry Pi
Your thoughts?
lineonecorpAuthor Commented:

Your solution sounds interesting. My question is whether I can actually see 'boot up/BIOS' screens on the various PC's. I understand sharing a screen once in the OS given I have software installed on each OS - but what about at the boot screen level? Can I see the boot screen itself/go into BIOS?  My scenario would be to try to Wake-on-LAN a dormant PC and then watch the bootup screen so if I had to I could actually go into the BIOS and make changes.
lineonecorp good question, it doesn't display the bios booting computer so the answer is no.
 I was a bit off with my suggestion as I didn't understand you needed to see the bios.
In order to achieve this you could bypass the Pi, and use Synergy with a kvmp switch.
synergy functions as a switch is a free and open source software for sharing a mouse and keyboard between multiple computers but it only allows you to move your mouse between computers once booted?
see this how synergy works
Share Your Mouse and Keyboard Between Windows and a Raspberry Pi Using Synergy
There is a video here that confirms it only shares the desktop.

I do however have a Aten KVMP here connecting several towers to one mouse keyboard and just pressing a switch to tower two or tower 3  I can boot that other system access the system bios using this one keyboard and mouse, This has been very handy for me when I need to capture a bios screen.
So if it interests you, mine is wired and with an ethernet cable, but wireless is also available by adding a wireless adapter.
You can also add a wireless keyboard and mouse
They do have two or four port depending on how many towers you wish to connect.

Is there any more you can add?
regards Merete
lineonecorpAuthor Commented:
Thanks for the info. However, I don't see how this unit could be accessed/manipulated remotely e.g IP KVM? That is what I was looking for -  controlling computers remotely down to the reboot/BIOS startup screen.
Why would you use a IP  KVM? for remote access  lineonecorp
does this give you the   keyboard video  mouse option?
I can see why your hesitant the prices are quite large for a switch but that seems to be the best and most suitable avenue.
Can you not just use your desktop? on your laptop?
Is this just one computer and windows 7? or various different versions of windows?
How to Access Another Computer Using an IP Address
The other system would be need be turned on first?
Then through the cmd prompt you get it to reboot.'
Type shutdown /i to display the Remote Shutdown dialog box (Shutdown.exe).
Restart or Shut Down a Remote Computer and Document the Reason
lineonecorpAuthor Commented:
"That is what I was looking for -  controlling computers remotely down to the reboot/BIOS startup screen." Remotely means from off-site, a long way away.
Thank you lineonecorp
I have never actually done this remotely only with a KVMP switch locally.
I have read that this achievable with Intel AMT KMS
Here is how to have full remote KVM control of your PC without the proprietary RealVNC Viewer Plus software.
Also follow up reading
How to Remotely Control Your PC with Intel AMT KMS even if it crashes.

Hope it helps
For workstations Intel AMT, a feature of Intel vPro does what you want. For servers HP has ILO and Dell has DRAC Enterprise for full out of band management.

For a single device Aten makes a single device KVM and a PCI card that enables remote KVM over IP. I have used the CN8000 and it works well.
lineonecorpAuthor Commented:
Thanks. I am aware of AMT but there are still a lot of computers out there that don't have it.

As far as the CN8000, can you explain a bit more how it works. I checked the site and it says something about it working with traditional KVM's  - how would that work?  What does the PCI card do? Where does it go?
The CN8000 is essentially a single PC KVM switch. You plug it into your computer, and you can plug in a local keyboard, monitor, and mouse. The CN8000 also has an IP address and a web server, so you can connect to it via web browser or the client software to connect to the KVM remotely. It can also just as easily be attached to a traditional KVM in which case it can turn a regular KVM into an IP remote KVM.

The PCI card essentially is a mini computer that plugs into the PCI bus and can do power management of the machine,  and provide remote KVM. It requires a PCI slot, which very few computers have these days, as newer computers use PCIe.
lineonecorpAuthor Commented:
Thanks.  I understand about the PCI business now.  Still not clear on this:

" It can also just as easily be attached to a traditional KVM in which case it can turn a regular KVM into an IP remote KVM."

Let's say I have a regular KVM that shares a screen/keyboard/mouse between 4 computers.   By some kind of keystroke combination/button I can go between the 4 computers with the KVM and if I reboot one then I can see the entire boot process of the relevant PC if I reboot it physically.  How do I attach this unit to that KVM and will I now have the same ability. For instance let's say I am at a remote location and I send a Wake-on-LAN packet to one of the four computers that for some reason has been shutdown.  The packet is successful and the computer it was directed to, 'wakes' up.  Will I be able to see the entire boot up process with the 8000 unit now attached to this device to the point where I could - again from far away - press whatever the 'get into BIOS' key maybe at my end - the 'far away' location and get into the BIOS of the remote PC behind the combination 8000/old standard KVM?
Yes, you can do all that. The CN8000 has cables that connect to your PC or KVM with a standard VGA and then PS/2 or USB for keyboard and mouse. The only difference is that you now have the ability to use the keyboard, video, and mouse connections remotely. Through the CN8000 you can send key sequences to the KVM, function keys to enter BIOS, etc.
lineonecorpAuthor Commented:
Thanks. Just to be clear, where I would ordinarily connect the mouse/video/keyboard to the KVM, I now instead connect this unit. So cables out of KVM into 8000. In turn cables out of 8000 into real keyboard/mouse/monitor so if I am onsite I could use those to switch between computers. In addition I now can add the PCI card to a computer connect it to the 8000 and now I add remote management to the mix. Have I got it right?
You are very close. The PCI card should only connect to the network, there is no need to add the CN8000 into the mix as it just duplicates the functionality of the PCI card. Okay, you could do both, and I do have both out of band server management which includes remote KVM capabilities, and I also have actual remote IP KVM for the servers in my remote data centers. Sometimes I break of the configuration of the remote server management due to IP configuration, VLAN configuration, etc.
lineonecorpAuthor Commented:
Ok. I think I understand. Thanks for all the assistance.
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