Avocent LongView

Introducing the industry's first wireless KVM device.

February 13, 2004

3 Min Read
Network Computing logo

The $995 LongView Wireless frees the monitor, mouse, speakers and keyboard from most PCs (sorry, it doesn't support Macs) and puts wireless in the middle when it's desirable to have the machine in one spot and its input devices in another.

The vendor promises up to 100 feet of wireless connectivity, making LongView Wireless a candidate for situations ranging from warehouses to networked marquees and kiosks. With such versatility in mind, Avocent has included a tutorial on wireless dos and don'ts in its well-written user manual.

Receivers & Transmitters

The latest addition to Avocent's LongView series of KVM extenders, LongView Wireless builds proprietary compression magic on the relatively speedy Atheros IEEE 802.11a/b/g chipset.

By playing in the 802.11a radio space, LongView Wireless separates itself from the often-saturated world of the b and g spectrum to resist radio interference. 802.11a can reach throughputs of around 30 Mbps, and LongView Wireless will use most of that capacity during high-bandwidth operations, such as playing a DVD in full-screen mode across the airwaves. Casual audio and video output across LongView Wireless will chew up only 10 Mbps.LongView Wireless comes with a matched set of transceivers that can push video resolutions to 1,024x768, with video refresh to 60 Hz through the air at a stated 30 frames per second for nearly direct wired quality. Each unit sports appropriate connectors for a PC or its attaching devices, dual antennae, and cooling fans.

Avocent deals with security issues using the robust AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) and 802.1x authentications between transmitter and receiver (both boxes can play either role).

Plug & Play

Setup is simple. First, plug the transmitter unit's cable assembly into your computer's keyboard, mouse, monitor and speaker jacks. Next, plug the monitor and input devices directly into the receiver unit. Finally, put some distance between the two boxes and apply power. Done.

Avocent claims that LongView will operate with up to 100 feet of separation between the PC and its devices. In fact, I was able to place the devices 125 feet apart and still maintain good responsiveness in open-space testing. On the flip side, and in true wireless fashion, connectivity got disrupted at short distances (around 25 feet) when a wall separated the devices.Next, I tried the setup at midrange. My first deployment went well for about 10 minutes, until the transmitter and receiver lost each other. Resetting the units restored system functionality, but only for another 15 minutes. The units were 60 feet apart and separated by two drywall barriers, and the transmitter was close to a large metal heating duct. Moving the transmitter three feet away from the duct ended the intermittent loss of signal.



LONGVIEW WIRELESS, $995. Avocent Corp., (866) 286-2368, (256) 430-4000. http://www.avocent.com

A Feel for Wireless KVM

For the most part, the wireless KVM signaling worked well. Audio and keyboard response seemed perfectly natural. True, the video refresh and mouse movements were slow, especially on busy Web pages. But overall, performance exceeded my expectations for the industry's first wireless KVM device.Those wishing to cut the cord between the PC and its keyboard, monitor, mouse and speakers will find Avocent LongView Wireless an empowering choice.

Lee Badman is a network engineer at Syracuse University. Write to him at [email protected].

Post a comment or question on this story.

Stay informed! Sign up to get expert advice and insight delivered direct to your inbox

You May Also Like

More Insights