by Paul Mah

Control Multiple Devices on a Network from One PC with New Digital KVM Extender

Jul 10, 20123 mins
Computers and PeripheralsNetworking

The CE790 Digital KVM Extender lets you access and control multiple computers on the same network from one central PC.

The ATEN CE790 Digital KVM Extender is an IP-based keyboard, video and mouse (KVM) appliance that supports full HD video and connects to USB keyboards and USB mice. The CE790 gadget also has mic in, audio out and RS232 serial ports for use along with remote computer systems over local Ethernet-based networks.


The CE790 consists of one transmitter (CE790T) unit and a receiver (CE790R) unit, each of which is powered via the included AC adapters. The device is rugged and well built, and its chassis is made of anodized steel.

For my tests, I connected the CE790T to my laptop using a custom KVM cable that comes with the device and combines the various cables into a single bunch. Next, I connected the CE790T and CE790R using a single CAT5e network cable. No further configuration was needed. The CE790 also operates over a network switch, which means both ends of the KVM could be hundreds of meters part.

Video at 1080p (1920 x 1080) was smooth on my Windows desktop. My mouse was also responsive with no “ghosting” effects even when I moved it very quickly across the screen. Text looked a tad fuzzy, though it was still perfectly readable. When I played a couple of movies a few frames skipped during rapidly-changing scenes. The skipping wasn’t too bad, but it could make the CE790 unsuitable as a media extender.

The CE790 is powered by a specialized ASIC (Application-Specific Integrated Circuit), which digitizes incoming signals prior to transmitting them through the network. This was probably the reason why the unit got disturbingly hot after an hour or two of use.

The CE790 also lets you broadcast to multiple CE790R devices, but you’ll need to purchase additional hardware to do so.


Back view of the ATEN CE790 Digital KVM Extender. Note the mouse port can only be used with a USB mouse, and the keyboard port can only be used with a USB keyboard.


Close-up front view of the ATEN CE790.


The cables come in a single bunch for manageability.

Conclusion: ATEN CE790 Digital KVM Extender

The ATEN CE790 Digital KVM Extender can be used for a number of purposes, including remote connection to a desktop or server located in another part of the house or office. Its Ethernet support and the ability to work over standard intranet infrastructure makes it easy to stash noisy machines in a more isolated part of the house.

Unfortunately, its lackluster video capabilities mean you won’t be able to use it as the multimedia extender device. And its $780 price tag is also a bit of a turnoff.