Help Me Craft Ideal 2 Computer Setup

orygun

Novice Member
Without going into too much detail, I work for a state government. My budget and access to peripherals is limited. My hope is to describe my desired work setup, the limitations I have, and then let the forum do it's thing by offering ideas on how to best build what I need. Unlikely I will be able to provide enough information in my first post to satisfy, but I am here to provided clarification where needed. Here goes:

Current Machines/Peripherals:
  • 1 Dell Desktop
  • 1 Dell Laptop
  • 2 Desk-Based External Monitors
  • 1 Wall-Based External TV

Mandatory Functionality:
  • The Dell Desktop will be my main go-to for in-office work (Microsoft Office, Internet, Printing, etc.) Being a desktop, it must have a desk-based monitor to accompany.
  • The Dell Laptop houses a video editing software which is critical for my work. Being a laptop, this can leave the office with me for remote work when needed.
  • Must project the Dell Laptop to the Wall-Based External TV (this is currently done via hard-wired HDMI, but preference is to do this wirelessly)

Desired Functionality:
  • Wireless projection of Dell Laptop to Wall-Based External TV
  • 1 Wireless Keyboard & 1 Wireless Mouse that can be switched between the Desktop and the Laptop to control both (KVM Switch?)
  • Docking station for Dell Laptop so it will be in place when needed at work (which is the majority use case), but able to easily be removed for remote work
  • Maintain the 2 Desk-Based External Monitors so both computers can be viewed simultaneously
 

EndlessWaves

Distinguished Member
You need to find out which wireless mirroring protocols the TV has support for, if any.

You also need to find out whether the laptop has any dedicated docking connectors and if not what type of USB ports it has and which capabilities they have. Specifically if it has Type C ports whether they support DisplayPort Alternate Mode.

Are the computers running Windows?


For the switchable wireless keyboard and mouse it's likely easiest and cheapest just to get a bluetooth set that has multi-device support built in unless you want to use a specific keyboard and mouse.
 

orygun

Novice Member
You need to find out which wireless mirroring protocols the TV has support for, if any.

You also need to find out whether the laptop has any dedicated docking connectors and if not what type of USB ports it has and which capabilities they have. Specifically if it has Type C ports whether they support DisplayPort Alternate Mode.

Are the computers running Windows?


For the switchable wireless keyboard and mouse it's likely easiest and cheapest just to get a bluetooth set that has multi-device support built in unless you want to use a specific keyboard and mouse.
Thanks for the reply. As for the TV mirroring protocols... this is a standard Vizio TV that was likely manufactured within the last 5 years or so. My preliminary searches have pointed me in the direction of the Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter. This would use Miracast to display my laptop screen on the TV screen, wirelessly.

The Dell Laptop has a Thunderbolt docking connector available. This would likely be the preference due to the simplicity, as long as it gives me the functionality I desire.

I am trying to decide what would be the better solution for the keyboard/mouse... A switchable keyboard/mouse or connecting the keyboard/mouse via KVM switch and using that to switch back/forth.
 

EndlessWaves

Distinguished Member
My preliminary searches have pointed me in the direction of the Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter. This would use Miracast to display my laptop screen on the TV screen, wirelessly.

Most recent laptops have wi-fi direct built in (which is what Miracast uses) so you're only likely to require that sort of additional hardware on the computer side if the laptop is more than a few years old.

I've no idea what the North American TV market was like five years ago in terms of wireless mirroring support but it's worth a go in seeing if you can get the two to connect as they are.

The Dell Laptop has a Thunderbolt docking connector available. This would likely be the preference due to the simplicity, as long as it gives me the functionality I desire.

A docking connector on the rear or underside designed to mate with a specific dock or a normal thunderbolt port?

If it's a normal thunderbolt port then which version is it? Thunderbolt 1 and 2 used a different connector to 3 and 4.


I am trying to decide what would be the better solution for the keyboard/mouse... A switchable keyboard/mouse or connecting the keyboard/mouse via KVM switch and using that to switch back/forth.

KVMs are fairly pricey and if you're not using the video switching I'm not sure what the advantage is going to be.
 

orygun

Novice Member
Most recent laptops have wi-fi direct built in (which is what Miracast uses) so you're only likely to require that sort of additional hardware on the computer side if the laptop is more than a few years old.

I've no idea what the North American TV market was like five years ago in terms of wireless mirroring support but it's worth a go in seeing if you can get the two to connect as they are.



A docking connector on the rear or underside designed to mate with a specific dock or a normal thunderbolt port?

If it's a normal thunderbolt port then which version is it? Thunderbolt 1 and 2 used a different connector to 3 and 4.




KVMs are fairly pricey and if you're not using the video switching I'm not sure what the advantage is going to be.
I have attempted to get the Vizio TV onto the in-building wi-fi, but have been unsuccessful. The wifi here requires a login and password for the network. The Vizio network options only allow for a password entry.

The laptop is a Dell Latitude 7490. My research (and the eyeball test) tells me that it has a Thunderbolt 3 port. This is on the left side of the machine.

You make a great point about the KVM versus the switchable keyboard/mouse setup. The KVM may be unnecessary. The only issue I foresee is the Desktop machine is quite dated. It does not appear to have Bluetooth. Finding a wireless keyboard & mouse with a dongle may be the best solution here.
 

EndlessWaves

Distinguished Member
I have attempted to get the Vizio TV onto the in-building wi-fi, but have been unsuccessful. The wifi here requires a login and password for the network. The Vizio network options only allow for a password entry.

Miracast is mainly a point to point connection and if I recall correctly doesn't use the existing network even for setup (although chromecasts do). It's well worth enabling it on in the TV (if required) and trying to connect to it in windows.

Is the username and password one you normally enter via a web browser on other devices? You could try the same on the TV.

The laptop is a Dell Latitude 7490. My research (and the eyeball test) tells me that it has a Thunderbolt 3 port. This is on the left side of the machine.

That's compatible with cheaper USB-C docks then, which are often a fair bit cheaper if you're not using Thunderbolt's extra capabilities (which it sounds like you wouldn't).

The only issue I foresee is the Desktop machine is quite dated. It does not appear to have Bluetooth. Finding a wireless keyboard & mouse with a dongle may be the best solution here.

Do you get USB wireless keyboards that can sync with multiple dongles? I'm afraid I haven't looked at those sorts of keyboards for some time.

USB bluetooth dongles are very cheap though, so it's no bother to add that capability to the desktop.
 

orygun

Novice Member
Miracast is mainly a point to point connection and if I recall correctly doesn't use the existing network even for setup (although chromecasts do). It's well worth enabling it on in the TV (if required) and trying to connect to it in windows.

Is the username and password one you normally enter via a web browser on other devices? You could try the same on the TV.



That's compatible with cheaper USB-C docks then, which are often a fair bit cheaper if you're not using Thunderbolt's extra capabilities (which it sounds like you wouldn't).



Do you get USB wireless keyboards that can sync with multiple dongles? I'm afraid I haven't looked at those sorts of keyboards for some time.

USB bluetooth dongles are very cheap though, so it's no bother to add that capability to the desktop.
I did a wide search for the Vizio D48-D0 that I have in my office paired with the key term "miracast," unfortunately it appears that specific TV does not support miracast. I may still buy/attempt the Microsoft dongle, but this desired feature is not looking good.

When it comes to the decision between a switchable keyboard/mouse and a KVM... do they make keyboard/mouse combos that allow both devices (referring to the keyboard and the mouse here) to switch with the click of one button? Or would you have to switch the keyboard and then switch the mouse separately? That could be a situation where the KVM would be superior (laziness).
 

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