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Basically my setup is that I have a server that I need to use for the moment as a desktop but it is extremely loud. I want to wire the server in the basement to the second floor which has a keyboard/mouse/monitor.

Since USB has a very short maximum range (15 feet?), I can not keep on using extension cables to connect to a computer from far away. Is there a way to connect a keyboard and mouse using another way that can go about 100 ft plus or can I use something like a "USB signal booster"?

Also does VGA/Ethernet have a maximum range?

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Is it possible to use a remote desktop solution instead? – Kruug Mar 26 '13 at 22:12
Your USB max cable length is correct. The maximum cable length of 5 meters for USB2, and 3 meters for USB 1.1) – Hennes Mar 26 '13 at 22:23
up vote 1 down vote accepted

You could get headphones if noise is the issue.

Some alternatives:

  • Extenders, repeaters, switches

    That's probably not the ideal nor the cheapest solution, but it's probably the easiest considering you already have the cables and the peripherals. Google for those for each cable type and you'll get a bunch of results.

  • The network

    I think this is the best solution. If you have a laptop or another computer or even a smartphone you might be able to remotely access your old computer on the basement not only from the 2nd floor but from anywhere - via the internet. You could also create a LAN, but that involves buying switches and/or Ethernet cables - see below to max length. You could even buy a wireless router and create a WLAN.

  • Wireless peripherals

    You could buy a wireless mouse and keyboard, but sending the video to the display would be a bit tricky and involve either the buying of expensive equipment or setting up a WLAN. Not to mention the signal loss that would certainly be present between the 2nd floor and the basement.

  • Good ol' cables

    • USB cables: Limit appears to be around 5m so unless you can dig a hole on the floor it's probably no good.
    • Old mouse and keyboard cables (PS/2 ports): Never heard of a limit for those, doing some googling it seems to vary a lot from one model to another.
    • VGA cables: It also depends on the quality of the cable, and apparently on the screen's resolution - more or less data being transferred. Doing some googling there are reports of people using 15m long cables with no signal loss.
    • Ethernet cables: Very high limits - 100m it appears - I have about 30m of cable connecting my computer to the router and no speed is lost. You'd need to set up a LAN, though, i.e. you'll need a second device.
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VGA starts to diminish after 100 feet.

Ethernet caps at 300 feet, but generally it's advised not to go past 100 feet as well without a switch or something in between.

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Ethernet has a maximum range of about 100 meters (328 feet). That is one cable, no switches in between. If you put the switch halfway between those two you can effectively double that.

I am not aware of an official maximum length of DB15/VGA, but it is an analog signal which degrades. For decent quality you want to relative short cables. Certainly no more than a few meters even with high quality cables and ferrite cores.

That leaves you the option of using another (less noisy) computer as a front end. Effectively you would use this other computer (lets call it a thin client) and a progam such as VNC, RDC, or SSH to connect to the computer in the basement.

That works fine as long as you do not play games of watch video streams.

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You are looking for a "VGA, keyboard, mouse extender" - there are many models, with prices ranging around 50-100 USD. Some models allow one V/K/M to control more than one server, in case you need it.

Gadgets such as this - but you can find them on Amazon too (and elsewhere). Some require just an ordinary CAT5 cable to be pulled, and send everything through that. There are also (but more expensive) units that use WiFi, or any Ethernet carrier, which means you may try and run them over a PowerLine adapter using your domestic power cables as network (i.e.: you plug a PowerLine in a power outlet in the cellar, plug the extender on the PowerLine, plug the other PowerLine in a power outlet on the second floor, with the second half of the extender plugged in. The two PowerLines, if they're attached at the same electric meter, establish a 85, 100, or 200 Mbps connection [depends on models, wire quality, and radio noise in the neighbourhood]. The two extenders "see" an Ethernet connection and route video/mouse/keyboard signals through that, and Bob's your uncle.

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