Black Box Digital KVM Switch chosen Best of Show at InfoComm 2015

AV Technology named the DCX3000 Matrix Digital KVM Switch from Black Box a Best of Show Winner at InfoComm 2015. This innovative product was demonstrated at the show, which took place in Orlando, FL, June 17–19.

Small size and big performance set the DCX3000 apart from otherBlack-Box-InfoComm-2015-Booth digital matrix switches in its class. Created for smaller organizations that need to upgrade to digital KVM signal switching and extension, the DCX3000 reaches 30 endpoints over CATx cable. Go up to 30 feet (10 m) from the workstation to the KVM switch and up to 160 feet (50 m) from the switch to the CPU.

The DCX3000 Matrix Digital KVM Switch features zero latency and zero compression of the signal transmission. The Graphical User Interface (GUI) is simplified for ease of use. In fact, according to the judges at AV Technology, this was an award-winning feature. “The unique thumbnail preview provides a simplified graphical user interface, making it easier to view multiple screens than text-based, on-screen menus,” according to one of the judges.

Digital KVM matrix switching gives multiple users access to the same systems in real time for monitoring and controlling processes. Learn more about migrating to digital KVM.

View the full list of winners of the AV Technology Best of Show Awards. AVT bases awards in part on the ability to see and test the products it selects on the trade show floor. The decision to award a product a Best of Show designation is also based on a combination of the following criteria: perceived value, ROI and TCO, richness of the feature set, ease-of-use, reliability, versatility, and overall network impact. According the AV Technology, “The Best of Show Awards support our objective of meeting the needs of the tech manager community by spotlighting products that genuinely solve problems, offer value, and consider the operator’s PoV.”

View Black Box’s Garrett Swindell giving a brief demonstration of the GUI of the DCX3000 below. AV Technology is able to talk to product managers and team members, such as Garrett, that help develop and test products.

Congratulations to the Black Box team who is bringing the DCX3000 to market and the team members who demonstrated it at InfoComm 2015!

Why are warranties so important?

You’ve just purchased HDMI-over-IP extenders for your video wall application. You’re in the middle of setting up your system in your corporate office lobby, when you reach for your glass of water and it tips over and spills all over your new device. You frantically clean up the mess only to discover the worst – the device cannot be recovered and the product warranty does not cover accidental damage. Then, you ask yourself how you could have overlooked the warranty details. Sigh.

As we all know too well, accidents happen. Some are even out of our control. If you live in an area prone to storms, for example, a power surge could cost you hundreds or thousands of dollars in damaged equipment. That’s why it’s imperative for you to look over a product warranty before making a buying decision.

The Black Box Double Diamond™ Warranty protects Black Box-brand products* from accidental damage, including drops, water, and power surges. During the warranty period, Black Box will repair or replace your damaged equipment within one week of receipt at no charge.**

So, your water-damaged extender would be covered! And, even if your product warranty has expired, Black Box can extend the life of your equipment with repair service. We guarantee parts and labor on repairs for 90 days.

I recently learned about new warranty information for all audio/visual products. Beginning July 1, 2015, all AV products will come with a standard three-year warranty. Previously, most came with one-year warranties, some with two years, and a three-year warranty was available at an additional cost. The three-year warranty will soon be standardized across all AV products. And, some products, such as copper cables, manual switches, cabinets, and racks, are guaranteed for life!


Additionally, you can extend your warranty or protect a previously purchased Black Box-brand product** for an additional year—for only 10% of the current retail price! And when you do, we give you the second year of extended coverage free! For details, talk to a Black Box representative at 800-316-7107.

* Warranty subject to certain exclusions and limitations.
** Certain products may not be eligible.

Three networking solutions for remote HVAC control

Here’s how industrial switches, media converters, and wireless Ethernet extenders enable one person to oversee the HVAC systems of several buildings in a large apartment complex.

In this scenario, a community of apartment buildings is spread out over a five-acre campus. Each has its own boiler room in the basement to house its heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) equipment. The housing complex, while large, employs only one facilities contractor to look after the heating and cooling system. During an update of the HVAC system, the contractor wanted to make it possible for the entire system to be controlled from one central location.

1. Industrial Ethernet switches
Unlike the Ethernet switches in a wiring closet or computer center, Ethernet switches in harsh environments have to endure humidity, and temperature fluctuations. In this building automation application, Industrial Managed Gigabit Switches are used in the boiler rooms to connect and monitor the HVAC system. Encased in IP30-rated metal cases, the switches withstand extreme temperatures ranging from -40°C to +70°C and are protected from dirt and moisture. The switches also operate in a ring topology simplifying wiring and providing instantaneous failovers in case of a link break.

2. Industrial media converters
Copper cable connects the switches to the boilers, hot water tanks, HVAC, and other equipment. But a fiber backbone is used in the buildings for the range it provides and for its immunity to EMI/RFI from elevators, motors, and other building infrastructure. To make the connections, Industrial Media Converters are used to convert copper to fiber and back to copper again.

3. Wireless Ethernet extenders
To connect the Ethernet networks between the multiple apartment buildings, Wireless Ethernet Extenders are used to eliminate the cost and hassle of trenching new fiber cable between buildings. More industrial media converters are used to convert the fiber backbone to copper on each rooftop.

Each Ethernet Extender is mounted on a pole on the roof of each building, creating a “hub and spoke” arrangement, with the “hub” residing on the roof of the control room building. The configuration is simple, as the extenders are pre-configured to work with each other. Their tough, waterproof enclosures make them ideal for outdoor use.

Total control from one location.
The network provides visibility into all four buildings, enabling the facilities contractor to monitor and control the entire HVAC system via IP.

Additional Resources
White Paper: 5 Questions You Need to Ask When Choosing Wireless Ethernet Extenders
White Paper: Media Converters: The Time for Fiber is Now

ISTE 2015 Preview for Black Box Chromebook, Laptop, and Tablet Carts

ISTE 2015 is just around the corner. With over 500 exhibitors, we know how overwhelming it can be to locate the right vendor, collect data, remember key product benefits, and keep to the busy conference schedule. That’s why we put together a sneak peek of what you can expect to see at our booth #1764. It’ll save you time and keep you on track. Plus, we’ve got free, bonus resources to share with you before you head to the big event.

Digital education solutions from Black Box
We’re packing up and shipping out these top products to showcase at ISTE 2015. All of our storage solutions store, charge, and transport the most popular e-learning device. They’re built with student safety at the forefront—no pinch points, sharp corners, or launch points; and, the sturdy, 100% steel design will not tip over. Plus, they come with a lifetime guarantee on the cart/locker frame—a rarity in this industry.cart-lockers-footer

1. Universal Charging Carts
Our most popular carts for all e-learning devices—Chromebooks, iPads, laptops, netbooks, and more. They’re named “universal” because their shelving racks can adjust to accommodate changing sizes of e-learning devices. This deluxe model holds up to 36 e-learning devices in a single frame or up to 48 devices in a double frame. Choose between sliding or hinged doors, plus options like syncing, pop-up power ports, drawers, accessory shelves, and more.

Stop by the booth to see these included Universal Charging Cart features, and so much more:

  • Standard rack mounting for greater flexibility.
  • Hook-and-loop straps hold power bricks for neat cable management.
  • Easy-grip handle and quiet, free-rolling casters make maneuvering the cart a breeze.
  • Rack-mounted shelves with rolled stainless steel device slots help to prevent scratches.

2. Low-Cost Carts
The perfect charging cart for situations where price matters most—starting at less than $1,000 including shipping, lift gate service, and inside delivery costs. This standard, Low-Cost Cart model allows you to securely charge and store up to 30 devices. The one-size-fits-all shelf has slots that can accommodate a majority of devices on the market, including 14″ Chromebooks. Available assembled, unassembled, and with or without charging timers.

3. Modular Locker System
This system easily scales to charge and store from 10 to 40 e-learning devices. It allows you to start small and grow later. For example, you may only need to store and charge 10 Chromebooks now, but plan to buy more devices in the future. When you’re ready for an additional locker for more devices, simply add a locker and attach using only four screws. The Modular Locker System also offers a number of options from casters for mobility to laminate worktops and storage drawers.

B11-mistakes-guideonus: get your free evaluation checklist and guide to take with you
It’s important to take a look at this evaluation checklist when talking to charging cart vendors. The list will keep you on track to find the right digital education solution for your school’s 1:1 computing initiative. Download the evaluation checklist.

Another must-read if you’re considering purchasing carts or lockers for your e-learning devices is our guide: 11 Mistakes Schools Make When Buying Charging and Storage Carts… and How to Avoid Them. Download the free guide.

Remember to come see us and our premier partners
Find something that sparked your interest? Stop by booth #1764 for a demo. Or, call a Black Box technical specialist today at 877-877-2269.

Our premier partners will also be on location. Look for Best Buy Education, Camcor, CDW-G, GovConnection, Howard Technology Solutions, Insight, Promevo, SHI, and Zones – they’ll be standing by ready to talk about Black Box charging carts and lockers.

School District Stores and Charges Chromebooks with Durable Charging Carts [Case Study]

1:1 computing device programs continue to gain popularity in schools worldwide. E-learning computing devices such as iPads, Chromebooks, tablets, and laptops have helped to engage students, improve technology skills and collaboration, encourage blended learning, and assert cost savings in other areas such as textbooks and paperwork.

Find out how a midsized, suburban school district located in aCharting-Carts-Education suburb of Pittsburgh found a cost effective solution protect its 1:1 computing investment.

Read the case study: Bethel Park School District Invests in 1:1 Technology Initiative with Black Box

Need help planning your solution for Chromebook storage and charging?

Black Box offers affordable Chromebook charging carts and locker options. To learn more about cost-effective solutions for your 1:1 initiative, contact a Black Box education specialist at 800-355-8004, or comment below.

Additional Resources
White Paper: 12 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Tablet and
Laptop Cart
11 Mistakes Schools Make When Buying Charging and Storage Carts…and How to Avoid Them

The Changing Landscape of Secure KVM Switching Certifications

Until recently, the National Information Assurance Partnership (NIAP) used Common Criteria Evaluation & Validation Scheme (CCEVS) to evaluate and approve KVM switches for security. EAL2 and EAL4+ are tests regarding the process of the design, testing, verification, and shipping of security products. This protection profile is an international standardized process for information technology security evaluation, validation, and certification.

NIAP has determined that EAL and CCEVS are no longer adequate security standards for KVM switches that connect to systems with differing security classifications. As a result, they  upgraded the Protection Profile (PP) for peripheral sharing switches to PPS 3.0. Still, the next generation of secure switches are going to need to be TEMPEST-approved for the tightest security measures available.

TEMPEST testing, while classified, is regarded as a process that assesses the port-to-port isolation required for certain KVM switches. A TEMPEST approval means the necessary isolation is achieved and qualified. Additionally, the threat of data leaking by various covert electromagnetic eavesdropping mechanisms has been evaluated and found to be secure.

The TEMPEST designation is often required by military organizations. TEMPEST, as a security standard, pertains to technical security countermeasures, standards, and instrumentation that prevent or minimize the exploitation of vulnerable data communications equipment by technical surveillance or eavesdropping.

A desktop KVM switch at its most basic, is simply a hardware device that enables one workstation consisting of a keyboard, video monitor, and mouse to control more than one CPU. Desktop KVM switches are usually 2- or 4-port switches, and by pushing button or using keystrokes, users can easily access information and applications on completely separate systems.

Secure KVM switches fill a special need in switching for users, such as those in the military, government agencies, or law enforcement, who need to access information stored at different classification levels on physically separate systems. A secure desktop KVM switch is usual a two or four-port switch that provides control and separation of PCs connected to networks of differing security classifications. TEMPEST-approved switches offer the following features:

  •  High port-to-port electrical isolation, which facilitates data separation (RED/BLACK). Channel-to-channel –80-dB to 60-dB crosstalk isolation protects against signal snooping, so software tools and applications cannot be used to access any connected computer from another connected computer.
  • Switches are permanently hard wired, preventing access from one CPU to the others or access from one network to others.
  • External tamper-evident seals make it easy to spot attempted tampering.
  • Users can safely switch among as many as four computers operating at different classification levels.
  • Unidirectional flow of keyboard and mouse data means the computer cannot leak data along K/M signaling channels.
  • USB host controller erases entire RAM at each channel switchover. This prevents residual data from remaining in the channel after a channel change and being transferred to another computer.
  • Only keyboard and mouse devices can be enumerated at the keyboard and mouse ports. Any other USB peripheral connected will be inhibited from operating, preventing the upload or download of unauthorized data.

The Secure Desktop KVM Switches with USB from Black Box surpass the security profiles of most other KVM switches because they have received approvals and certifications in the TEMPEST testing standard.

Additional Resources
White Paper: HD Video and Peripheral Matrix Switching

InfoComm 2015 Preview: Top 10 Black Box Solutions

We’re just mere weeks away from the largest event for professional AV in the world – InfoComm 2015. So, it’s about time we share what’s going on at Black Box. With a sea of exhibitors (over 980, wow), this pre-event list will keep you on track to find the right AV solution for your next project.

Here’s a quick look at what you’ll see at the Black Box booth.

1. *New* 16 x 16 and 8 x 8 Modular AV Matrix Switcher
This new, flexible AV matrix allows seamless switching of audio and video with up to 4K resolution as well as extension up to 230 feet (70 m). The modular matrix switcher with built-in conversion and scaling allow users to mix legacy equipment with new digital systems. Although the world is moving to digital, there are still a multitude of interfaces around. This solution meets those needs with I/O cards for HDMI, DVI, VGA, analog video, and HDBaseT for extension. Ideal for corporate, government and military, and education markets. Available Fall 2015.

2. *New* Digital KVM Matrix Switch
This 30-port, less than 1U, digital KVM matrix switch is for multiple users in smaller broadcast studios and server rooms. This cost-effective matrix KVM switch supports up to 30 endpoints. The graphical user interface is intuitive and simple to use. The on-screen display of the GUI makes setup and configuration simple.The space-saving switch uses Server Access Modules (SAMs) powered by the interface to extend DVI or DisplayPort signals over CATx. The DCX3000 extends signals over CATx cable, 30 feet (10 m) from the KVM switch to the workstation, and 164 feet (50 m) from switch to CPU.

3. AV-Over-IP Extension, Switching, and Video Walls – MediaCento IPX
The popular MediaCento IPX video extenders enable HDMI video distribution over an IP network to a virtually unlimited number of screens. Users can choose to seamlessly distribute signals for point-to-point multicast or video wall applications up to 8 x 8. The MediaCento IPX controller can be added to the system to enable easy setup and user friendly matrix switching and video wall control from any source to any display. Learn more.

4. 4K Solutionsinfocomm-2015-mediacento-video-wall
Black Box’s 4K video solutions allow users to create impactful, state-of-the-art video systems. The 4K video product line includes:

    • A video wall controller, VideoPlex4 Video Wall Controller, which enables the user to create stunning video walls with 4K output across four or more screens.
    • A scalable digital signage solution, iCOMPEL P Series, with high-quality video display and 4K resolution support.
    • For easy video switching, a new series of 4K HDMI switches is available with up to 2 inputs (2×1 switch or 2×2 switch) and up to 4 outputs (4×1 switch or 4×2 switch). Auto switching automatically switches to an active source and makes it a great fit for the conference room. A series of splitters for 4K HDMI distribution is also available with either 2 ports or 4 ports.
    • A high-resolution DisplayPort video extender with USB 2.0, DisplayPort 4K KVM Extender over CATx, which enables the user to create an unchanged user experience at remote consoles with 4K monitors.
    • A variety of high-speed HDMI cables: Slim-Line, Active, and Hybrid Copper/Fiber.

5. DKM FX Video and Peripheral Matrix Switching System
A highly reliable video and peripheral matrix switching and routing system supporting high-resolution HD-SDI, HDMI, and KVM in one flexible, scalable product. Learn more.

6. Multiviewer KVM – 4Site Flex4Site-Flex
4Site Flex provides fluid video performance in a multiscreen viewer with KVM and video processors for monitoring and control. Includes HDCP support and seamless switching. Learn more.

7. 4-Port KVM Switch – Freedom II
Get fast, reliable switching between computer systems simply by moving a mouse from screen to screen. The Black Box Freedom II creates a unified desktop across multiple PCs and operating systems. Learn more.


8. Agility IP-Based KVM Switching and Extension
Improve workflow and efficiency, and send HD video, KVM, USB, and audio signals over an IP network. The transmitters and receivers extend signals over CATx cable up to 330 feet (100 m), and even farther with the addition of network switches. Learn more.

9. HDBaseT Recommend Cables and Certified Extenders
Black Box HDBaseT Recommended cables and HDBaseT-certified extenders (transmitter and receiver) guarantee the highest level of reliability and compatibility in today’s demanding-bandwidth intensive AV applications.

10. Zero-Client Virtual Desktop Computing – InvisaPCInvisaPC
IP-based LAN/WAN solution enables point-to-point KVM extension and transition to small unmanaged matrices in a small form factor over a LAN or the Internet. Unique features include: connectivity to virtual machines, traditional point-to-point extension over IP, flexible extension and remote access, and soft migration from real to virtual machines. Learn more.

Find something that sparked your interest? Stop by InfoComm booth #5143 for a demo. Or, call a Black Box technical specialist today at 877-877-2269.

BONUS: Get a free exhibitor pass to InfoComm 2015 with VIP Code BLA176. Register here.

Press Releases
Black Box Extends Distribution Channel Through Partnership With Herman ProAV
Black Box Freedom II Switch Enables Zer0-touch KVM Switching between Four Local PCs
Black Box to Demonstrate Single Cable, 4K-Ready KVM Matrix Switches and Extenders at InfoComm 2015
Extend 4K Video Over an IP Network With the Black Box MediaCento IPX 4K
Black Box to Demonstrate New Digital KVM Compact KVM Matrix Switch at InfoComm 2015

3 Ways to Extend Your Ethernet LAN

Copper CATx cable supports Ethernet distances up to 100 meters. That’s not a problem when you’re connecting workstations in a building. But what happens when you need to extend the reach of your LAN beyond 100 meters to connect a distant department, a building across campus or across town, Wi-Fi access points, IP security cameras, or even remote monitoring stations in industrial environments.

That’s where Ethernet extension comes in. Depending on your environment and application, there are three ways to extend your Ethernet LAN beyond the nearest closet.

1. LAN extension over fiber optic cable with media convertersExtend-Ethernet-LAN
Media converters are a popular and economical solution for converting Ethernet cable runs from copper to fiber. They can be used in pairs (near-end/far-end) or with Ethernet switches.

Fiber optic cable offers the best performance for long-range network extension. That’s why the telephone and cable companies made such a big deal about using it. Multimode fiber has a range of 550 meters for 10/100/1000 Ethernet links. Single-mode fiber offers distances of more than 30 km for 10/100/1000 Ethernet extension.

Fiber also offers the advantage of being immune to electromagnetic interference (EMI), surges, spikes, and ground loops. That makes it well suited for connecting buildings across campus, across town, and in industrial environments.

There are a number of different types of media converter options ranging from simple, unmanaged, compact converters that mount on panels or DIN rails to managed converters that mount in equipment racks. There are also converters available for commercial and industrial applications. A common industrial application is to use a media converter with PoE capabilities to power and backhaul an IP camera signal over fiber.

2. LAN extension over existing copper cabling with Ethernet extenders.
In some cases, it’s possible to use existing facilities to extend your LAN. If there is an existing twisted-pair copper or coax cable run, then you can extend your network with a pair of Ethernet extenders. Use one at each end to convert Ethernet to DSL (digital subscriber line) and back again to Ethernet. Extenders can deliver 50-Mbps speeds over 300 meters or about 10-Mbps at 1400 meters.

Using existing twisted-pair cablingtwisted-pair-extend-LAN
A common application is a security checkpoint services upgrade. The checkpoint may have originally been connected only with twisted-pair cable to support an analog phone. By using a pair of Ethernet extenders (near-end/far-end), the checkpoint can be upgraded to support an Ethernet LAN connection, a VoIP phone, and an IP camera.

Using existing coax cabling
Another common application is a security camera network upgrade. When you replace older, analog security camera systems with newer, digital IP cameras, you can save a lot of installation time (and labor costs) by using the existing coax cabling with Ethernet extender on each end.

3. Wireless Ethernet extensionWireless-Extension
2.4-/5-GHz radio extension
Wireless Ethernet extenders provide a very cost-effective method for extending a LAN/WAN beyond 100 meters. They eliminate the need to buy new cable, dig expensive trenches for fiber cable, and also the time-consuming waits for rights of way.

Wireless Ethernet extenders are the most seamless way to extend LAN connections up to several miles across office parks; on business, educational, and medical campuses; in enterprise business complexes; and in industrial settings, such as factories or oil/gas field drilling operations, and even in traffic control.

Wireless Ethernet is frequently used to connect line-of-sight networks that are miles apart. While wireless extension is often used in enterprise business applications, where it really shines is in industrial applications, such as data acquisition, control, and monitoring; HVAC controls; and security and surveillance, to name a few. The extender radios can also be PoE powered to simplify installation.

Cellular extension
Cellular wireless routers provide an alternative to wireless Ethernet extension. Anywhere you can get cellular phone reception, you can set up a network. Cellular routers can be used to provide the primary network connection for industrial environments where it’s too expensive or impractical to run a wired access network, such as cable or DSL. Cellular routers are also used in factories, oil/gas field drilling operations, and in traffic control.

Cellular routers are available for all the major carriers (AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon) and all networks (3G, 4G, and LTE). Cellular routers eliminate any line-of-sight and distance limitations that may exist with radio wireless extension.

Additional resources:
White Paper: Media Converters: The Time for Fiber is Now
White Paper: Power over Ethernet in Industrial Applications
White Paper: 5 Questions to Ask about Wireless Ethernet Extension
Webinar: Wireless Solutions for M2M, Security, and Mobile Data Networks
Video: Wireless Ethernet Extenders