The Raritan Blog

How Raritan’s KVM-Over-IP Switch Is Being Used in Astrophysical Observatory

Rick Gonedes
May 25, 2017

Up until recently, the Okayama Astrophysical Observatory in Japan had been operating in what they call a "classical mode." A principal investigator and/or team members would come to the observatory operate the telescope and instruments collecting all relevant data of interest and go on their way. The observing console consisted of three PCs, keyboards, mouse, speakers, six Full-HD monitors and some other related equipment. 

In an effort to upgrade their infrastructure to meet modern day demands, Okayama Astrophysical Observatory was looking for a way to eliminate the need for people to come on-site. They wanted people not only to be able to access the OAO 188cm telescope from anywhere at any time but to offer an experience that lets them access mission-critical hardware as well. In addition to controlling the telescope, they wanted to capture data like sound which is very important for research purposes.

Representatives at the Okayama Astrophysical Observatory began searching for alternative solutions, which is when they discovered the Dominion KX III KVM-Over-IP Switch from Raritan.

The OAO 188cm Telescope and the KVM-Over-IP Switch: The Challenges

After drawing up an initial design concept, staff at the Okayama Astrophysical Observatory had a number of requirements they needed to meet. Remote accessibility was obviously a top priority, but it could not be created at the expense of network security, information security, and the safety of on-site workers.

On the subject of performance, everything had to be accounted for - from frame rate to observing efficiency and more. OAO representatives needed a solution that not only fit within the confines of their design concept, but that addressed as many of these potential causes for concern as possible.

KVM-Over-IP Switch

After a lengthy period of investigation, representatives discovered that Raritan’s Dominion KX III KVM-Over-IP switch was a simple, secure and hassle-free solution to nearly all of their problems.

The major benefit was increased usage of the remote equipment - all remote observers had to do was connect to the switch via their Web browser and select a desired target from the menu list. The Raritan KVM client software then loads and the target appears on their desktop. The client software downloads automatically upon first use, which is very convenient for remote observers since it eliminates the need to install client software on each individual desktop.

Up to eight remote users are able to access the same targets at the same time, allowing team members to join an observation from anywhere on Earth so long as a high speed active Internet connection is available. Trouble shooting of open-use instruments by observatory staff from home or trip destinations is also possible, which greatly reduces the waste of time and improves the satisfaction of observers.

The Results

In the end, Raritan's Dominion KX III KVM-Over-IP Switch was essential in meeting the demands of the observatory's remote environment while exceeding the expectations of both end users and observatory staff at the same time. The use of the switch was incredibly straightforward for both users and staff - not only is multiple simultaneous access possible, but access with an Internet connection is also possible with minimal maintenance requirements.

The best news of all was that the degradation of observing efficiency specific to remote observing functionality was negligibly small - guaranteeing that everyone was able to enjoy the best possible experience at all times, no exceptions. Since opening in the first semester of the 2016 school year, the remote observing environment at the Okayama Astrophysical Observatory has been responsible for approximately 30% of ALL observing time across the board. To learn more about the Dominion KX III KVM-Over-IP Switch visit us at

SOURCE: Remote observing environment using a KVM-over-IP for the OAO 188 cm telescope
Kenshi Yanagisawa, Goki Inoue, Daisuke Kuroda, Nobuharu Ukita, Yoshihiko Mizumoto, and Hideyuki Izumiura
Okayama Astrophysical Observatory, National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, Kamogata, Asakuchi, Okayama 719-0232, Japan;
National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, 2-21-1 Osawa Mitaka, Tokyo 181-8588, Japan
SPIE 9913, Software and Cyberinfrastructure for Astronomy IV, 991330 (2016/08/08)