One key value of an IP KVM device is the ability to not only access your desktop remotely, but also to access your entire PC, including the BIOS. BIOS access is beyond the scope of software solutions like GotoMyPC, pcAnywhere, or Windows Remote Desktop Connection. All of these applications require network access to the PC, which typically isn't available from the BIOS level. Further, if rebooting a PC becomes necessary from a remote location, being able to monitor the reboot process and observe the POST messages, instead of hoping it comes back on line, is reassuring.
As shown in Figure 11, the GCN maintained a connection continuously to my target PC through its reboot cycle, where I could enter the DEL key to trigger access to the BIOS Setup menus.
Figure 11: The GCN1000 provides complete control while the target PC reboots
A nice feature with the GCN is Virtual Media functionality, which enables file transfers from a remote PC to the target PC. This functionality is enabled through the third cable connecting the GCN to a USB port on the target PC. A USB drive is required on the remote PC, which is then selected from a drop down menu in the GCN's web utility. Once selected, the target PC will see a new USB device.
My XP Pro target PC successfully recognized the new USB device, but required a reboot after loading driver software the first time I established the connection. This is an area where the value of the GCN is demonstrated. I was able to remotely reboot and monitor my target PC through its full boot cycle.
After reboot, the Virtual Media option in the GCN's OSD Panel allowed me to access files on a USB drive physically plugged in to my remote laptop on the target PC. Figure 12 shows the window presented for enabling the connection of the USB drive to the target PC via the GCN.
Figure 12: Virtual Media allows remote access to files on USB drives
In addition to the Windows Client for target PC access, the GCN has a Java Applet option. Both provide the same basic desktop access, with the Java Applet useful on both Windows and non-Windows machines.
I was unable to use the Java Applet to connect to my target PC using IE7 from my Vista laptop, but it worked with Firefox. (I continue to enjoy the wonderful challenges presented by Vista!) With another XP laptop, I was able to use the Java Applet and IE7. As shown in Figure 13, the Java client presents the same functionality as the Windows Client, with the exception of the Virtual Media feature. Interestingly, mouse lag, although still present, seemed better using Firefox instead of IE.