How can I connect three laptops to a fourth one?

colore

Limp Gawd
Joined
Sep 18, 2010
Messages
390
Hello

I want to connect three laptops to a fourth one and operate all the four from the fourth one.

I need full operation, i.e. video, audio, hotkeys, etc.

I also need minimal latency.

Can you suggest please what hardware/software do I need?

My budget is limited, I have seen online some in the region of $25 but I can consider some a bit more expensive.

Thanks!
 

mwroobel

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Jul 24, 2008
Messages
5,019
It depends on what kind of security you need. Are all of these local to your network with no access from the outside world necessary? If so VLC or RDP will be fine (and free.) If you want something remotely accessible with relative security (including 2FA) then something like Anydesk would be an option or one of the other remote desktop products.
 

colore

Limp Gawd
Joined
Sep 18, 2010
Messages
390
It depends on what kind of security you need. Are all of these local to your network with no access from the outside world necessary? If so VLC or RDP will be fine (and free.) If you want something remotely accessible with relative security (including 2FA) then something like Anydesk would be an option or one of the other remote desktop products.

They are not on any network and I do not want to use any network. They are my own laptops that I physically possess them in my room. Why would I use a network for that? Why introduce latency and cost for routers etc? I would be looking at a KVM solution or anything similar. I suppose this is 100% secure.
 

cdabc123

2[H]4U
Joined
Jun 21, 2016
Messages
3,054
You would need a nice kvm switch. It would also be worthwhile to use a actual monitor/keyboard set up to connect to them as trying to use a laptop as that with a kvm switch is a pita
 

kirbyrj

Fully [H]
Joined
Feb 1, 2005
Messages
27,942
From what I can tell, you want to do remote desktop without a network or you want to do KVM using the 4th laptop as the screen, mouse, kb, etc.

You might be able to use an external monitor with the mouse/KB from the 4th laptop, but I haven't seen a mainstream laptop where you could customize the input of the integrated screen to use the 4th laptop as the monitor with a $25 KVM switch
 

crashtech

Weaksauce
Joined
Aug 15, 2013
Messages
65
They are not on any network and I do not want to use any network. They are my own laptops that I physically possess them in my room. Why would I use a network for that? Why introduce latency and cost for routers etc? I would be looking at a KVM solution or anything similar. I suppose this is 100% secure.
You would put them on a LAN because that is the cheapest and smartest thing to do. Then you could use software that is free for personal use like Teamviewer that has the built-in capability of connecting over a LAN (no Internet). It's the only way I know of to stay under $25, a cheap switch and some cables can be well under that. Presumably, latency will be very low with this setup, but it's not something about which there is a lot of information.
 

mwroobel

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Jul 24, 2008
Messages
5,019
They are not on any network and I do not want to use any network. They are my own laptops that I physically possess them in my room. Why would I use a network for that? Why introduce latency and cost for routers etc? I would be looking at a KVM solution or anything similar. I suppose this is 100% secure.
You mentioned $25 as your budget for this project. Any hardware option for a 4 host KVM will cost more (a lot more) than that. Since they are laptops with built-in displays you would also need an additional external monitor and that would only work with a non-network KVM if you have an external VGA port on each of the laptops. You would also need a keyboard and mouse, you cannot use the internal keyboard and mouse on your laptop as a host HID with any cheapo USB/VGA KVM. Network is the only way to go for what you are doing based on the price you quoted, and if you use GigE and are not trying to push 60fps 1280x1024 and just use it for normal stuff it will suffice.
 

toast0

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jan 26, 2010
Messages
1,142
I'm still not clear on what you want to do? Do you want everything showing on each laptops' own screen and you can use the one mouse and keyboard to control all four?

There's solutions for that, I used https://fredrik.hubbe.net/win2vnc.html or something like it at a past job to do things like this. It's a little janky, but it works. You would need a network; but I'm not sure what you're doing on 4 separate computers with no network in 2021 anyway.
 

Jinto

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Aug 10, 2006
Messages
1,744
If you just want to control the 3 laptops from the 4th and use all the displays then Synergy is your best bet.

If you want to view all 4 on the 4th then Teamviewer is your best bet.
 

crashtech

Weaksauce
Joined
Aug 15, 2013
Messages
65
If you just want to control the 3 laptops from the 4th and use all the displays then Synergy is your best bet.

If you want to view all 4 on the 4th then Teamviewer is your best bet.
Synergy also requires a LAN, something the OP hasn't been sold on yet.
 

robijito123

Weaksauce
Joined
Feb 2, 2021
Messages
117
I would say Teamviewer can work for this purpose or RDP if using something like rdpmanager (which Microsoft crippled recently)
 

Jinto

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Aug 10, 2006
Messages
1,744
Synergy also requires a LAN, something the OP hasn't been sold on yet.

If his laptops are going to be connected to the internet he will likely be on a lan regardless.

If his laptops are not going to be connected to the internet then he can create an adhoc network with just the built in wifi.
 

crashtech

Weaksauce
Joined
Aug 15, 2013
Messages
65
If his laptops are going to be connected to the internet he will likely be on a lan regardless.

If his laptops are not going to be connected to the internet then he can create an adhoc network with just the built in wifi.
Well, the problem is in the OP's own statements:
They are not on any network and I do not want to use any network. They are my own laptops that I physically possess them in my room. Why would I use a network for that? Why introduce latency and cost for routers etc? I would be looking at a KVM solution or anything similar. I suppose this is 100% secure.
Which led me to believe this individual has no idea what he's talking about, but then again I am not so smart either.
 
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