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Review: ATEN CV211 All-in-one Crash Cart Adapter

Posted by Toni Wong on

Mobile IT maintenance managers encounter a series of common frustrations, such as dealing with malfunctioning servers located in a narrow aisle that is hard or impossible to reach with a crash cart. For the event of an unpredictable on-site situation, such as no crash cart or missing equipment, they need to prepare the needed equipment themselves to ensure their work effectiveness. This creates the hassle of carrying around this equipment including a lot of cables.

The CV211 Laptop USB KVM Console Crash Cart Adapter is designed specifically for those frustrated mobile IT managers by providing a direct Laptop-to-Computer connection to servers, kiosks and ATMs. ATEN’s CV211 turns your laptop into a KVM console combining the functionality of a wormhole switch, capture box, external DVD-ROM, keyboard, mouse and monitor all in one compact and convenient unit. You are free to quickly and professionally diagnose and troubleshoot with ease.

Completely portable, CV211 unburdens mobile IT managers who may need to visit one or multiple repair sites in a single day of having to lug or ship equipment, its compact size and cable clip making it incredibly easy to carry around from site to site.


Unboxing the CV211

One of the things that stands out most about CV211 is just how easy it is to use. Just plug and play with no software installation required and instant, BIOS-level access. Once you connect the target server with your laptop via CV211, you can diagnose and operate in seconds. The device also provides bi-directional file transfers, hotkey macros, video recording, and screenshots through a USB 2.0 and VGA composite cable.
CV211’s compatibility extends to modern Windows operating systems including Server 2008 R2 and 2012 and it also supports Linux 2.6+ and OS X 10.1+.

On the KVM side, the adapter has both a VGA and USB connection, which makes for extremely fast and simple connections.

On the bottom edge of the adapter, we have the user console USB connection. The build quality of the device is strong, which makes it hard to damage if dropped accidentally.

Above, we have a Windows laptop set up with the CV211. You can note just how compactly designed the device is.


Another key feature you will discover extremely helpful upon use is CV211’s built-in Virtual Media function, which enables file applications, OS patching, diagnostic testing and software installations. This is made possible through the CV211’s intuitive graphical user interface (GUI), which provides easy operation and fast remote access.

Virtual Media Control tabs

Another often heard complaint is that though server maintenance almost always needs to be monitored and recorded, cameras or mobile phones are rarely allowed in a secure server room. CV211 easily overcomes this issue by featuring a Snapshots and Video recording application that makes it possible to keep the images/video clips stored in the laptop. A highly convenient toolbar facilitates ease of operation.


CV211 is designed to be used in a variety of IT management scenarios, with the most notable being local troubleshooting onsite. However, another application the CV211 can support is remote access software over Intranet for in-house IT managers overseeing multiple server sites.

For example, small to medium-sized companies with multiple locations may have only one IT manager based at HQ to oversee all branches. This means frequent travel to other branches to troubleshoot server problems, leading to more time and resource commitment.

By leveraging existing company IT infrastructure with CV211, the device can reduce commuting and labour cost for IT managers. Just connect CV211 to the target server and a laptop, allowing for collaborative working with remote colleagues or troubleshooting by remote engineers. What’s more, the connected CV211 unit can handle problems at the BIOS level, which cannot be handled through remote access software alone. This is where the CV211 comes in especially handy.

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