Aten Altusen KH1516 review
Aten is a long-term player in the KVM switch market with a keen eye on value. Its KH1516 delivers a high-density 16-port KVM solution, but has anything been sacrificed to keep it at such a low price?
Expansion potential is massive, as the switch has two ports at the rear for daisy-chaining more switches. Remarkably, you can add up to 31 more switches and centrally control a total of 512 systems should you so wish. Each system links to the switch via a compact CPU module, which converts monitor, keyboard and mouse connections to an RJ-45 network port.
Aten offers plenty of modules with options for USB, PS/2, Sun legacy systems and serial ports. The modules use standard CAT-5e/6 network cable and a key feature is their ability to maintain a good signal over cable lengths up to 40m.
Costing £270, the KH1516 looks good value, but note that web browser access isn’t supported. If you want KVM over IP then check out Aten’s KH1516i, which costs around £400. The CPU modules are also good value and are less than half the price of Raritan’s DCIM cables. Our only complaint is that the switch doesn’t offer USB ports for connecting a local keyboard and mouse.
Installation is a simple affair, and you have three modes for selecting each port: you can use the push buttons on the front, the OSD (on-screen display), or custom hot-key combinations. The switch supports resolutions up to 1,600 x 1,200 at 60Hz, and we found it to be particularly responsive over 10m network cables.
The OSD provides good security as you define an administrator and up to four users. For each user you decide which KVM ports they can access and how they can interact with the system. The Quick View function determines which ports appear in the user’s list. A scan function skips through each system display and a dwell time determines how long it stays on each one.
There’s certainly no shortage of KVM switches on the market, but the KH1516 scores highly for value. It’s simple to install and use, the CPU modules are competitively priced, and it offers huge expansion potential.