Question Hub/KVM Solution Needed

src1425

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So I started a new job where I have to use a work laptop from home. I currently have both my desktop and the work laptop connected to my Odyssey G7, but even time I switch back and forth I have to switch to a different keyboard and mouse and I can't share my webcam and speakers. There has to be an easier way.

I'm not too concerned about switching the display, as the G7 makes that really simple, and an initial look at KVM switches that can accommodate the HDMI output from the laptop and the DisplayPort output from my desktop seems pretty limited and expensive. But I would like to share my keyboard, mouse, webcam, and speakers. I'm not sure what I need. Is there a docking station/hub/KVM that will allow me to do this?

Thanks in advance for any suggestions.
 

Ralston18

Titan
Moderator
A couple of thoughts:

1) Is there a docking station available for your laptop? If so that could make things a bit easier.

2) You need to sketch out a diagram that shows laptop, desktop, keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, webcam, and network connections that you envision.

Focus on the plugs, ports, and cables that are required. Perhaps there will be some need for gender changers and/or adapters. Plan on purchasing the cables as well.

Google" KVM switch diagrams" to get some ideas about possible KVM configurations. Vary the search criteria as you learn and can narrow down the requirements.

Here is an image that I found on Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/CKL-Monitor-DisplayPort-Computers-Monitors/dp/B089LY4S63

And you can view other KVM configuration there as well.

Not an endorsement or recommendation per se but a good point from which to start.

Try to work out a viable configuration while maybe not ideal will be workable. And simple.

The required KVM switch and cables could indeed be expensive.
 

src1425

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Thanks for the thoughtful response! I guess this is where I'm a little behind on the technology, since I'm not sure exactly which cables are going to meet my needs, which makes it hard to create a diagram! Both the laptop and desktop have USB-C and the laptop (a Thinkpad X1) has a USB-C docking station. Does using USB-C replace the need for separate video, audio, and peripheral cables between the laptop/desktop and the docking station? And since the docking station only has 1 USB-C port, can I use a splitter to have both the laptop and desktop plugged in at the same time, or would I need to swap out the USB-C cable each time I switch back and forth? Or am I better off with an actual KVM hub with multiple USB-C ports?

As you can tell, I'm still trying to get up to speed on all this!

Thanks!
 

Ralston18

Titan
Moderator
FYI:

https://www.akitio.com/faq/356-are-all-usb-c-cables-the-same

What other audio, video, and peripheral ports are available on laptop/docking station and desktop?

Do you plan to stay with just the Odyssey G7 monitor or perhaps evolve to a dual monitor system? (Just trying to think ahead a bit. :) )

Here is a link to a simplified diagram (not an endorsement or recommendation):

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32910539090.html

Left side of the diagram being the common components shared by laptop and desktop but still in need of webcam, speakers. What about a printer?

Right side of the diagram would be your desktop but the second desktop would actually be your laptop or perhaps the host docking station with the laptop docked.

The video is nice (pretty music) but greatly over-simplified with respect to your requirements and do note the rapid increase in wires (not really shown thereafter).

I would actually start by using a manual swapping process to move shared peripherals from laptop to desktop and vice versa. At least the keyboard, video, mouse.

Extension cables can be quite helpful and make the swaps easier if you find yourself having to stretch and reach to make connections.

Plus you will end up knowing exactly what cables/plugs will work between laptop/docking station and desktop to the shared peripherals.

Get the laptop to work, for example. Then swap to desktop and get that to work. Map/draw out/list the connections being swapped as a simple SOP.

Work out bugs and issues. If and as some particular part of the swapping process is truly proven as cumbersome then you will be much more ready to identify a suitable KVM that will fulfill the requirements based on your swapping experience and what you learned from doing so.

Frankly (full disclosure), as a matter of practice, I would avoid entangling personal and work hardware. All the more so if the laptop is also going back and forth between home and a work location. That alone can can invoke any number of issues....

Maybe just purchase an inexpensive keyboard and mouse for the docking station at home. Plug in just the monitor and network cable as needed. Add a webcam if the laptop's webcam cannot be directly used. Ask work: they may be able to provide some extra peripherals.

Much to be said for simplicity.... Good news is that you do have a number of options just experiment for awhile to see how things go.

As you can see/read just thinking about it all gets cumbersome. Implementation likely costly on top of that.
 
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src1425

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Thanks for all the good info! Yes, it's certainly more complicated than I expected, but thanks for getting me to think about the right questions.
 

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