Wired vs Wireless Keyboards and Mice

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Desktop computers cannot function without a keyboard and mouse. With laptops, you don’t really need a keyboard (because it has one built in), but mice are nice for portability. When keyboards and mice first came around, they were wired. As technology progresses, more and more wireless devices are showing up. Below, you will find some more handy information to help you choose between wired or wireless accessories. But don’t worry: there are still plenty of wired keyboards and mice available on the market. 

The way keyboards and mice connect to your computer has changed over the years. The most common ports for keyboards and mice to use are PS/2 ports and USB ports. PS/2 ports are considered legacy ports but can still be found on most desktop computers but aren’t seen often anymore on laptops.


PS/2 keyboard and mouse ports

The only real downsides to wired keyboards and mice are the cords. When setting up your desk, one of the first things you’ll do is find a spot for the computer itself. With wired accessories, you’ll have a finite amount of cord to work with, and if it isn’t long enough, you may just have to rearrange your plans. Cords can also cause a mess by getting tangled with themselves or cords of other devices, such as speakers. There are plenty of wire management devices available, to assist with the taming of rogue cords and cables. Of course, when plugging the keyboard and mouse into your computer, you will have to use one port for each device. 

Wireless keyboards and mice are becoming more common. While there are no cords to keep tamed, these devices connect to computers using a receiver or dongle. Most of the newer wireless keyboards and mice use USB dongles, but there are some that use the PS/2 port. Sometimes the wireless keyboard and mouse come in a combination pack and use the same dongle for both devices. They can also be bought separately, which means they will take up two ports instead of one (a port for each dongle). 


Wireless keyboard

These wireless accessories allow for freedom of movement; you’re not limited by where the cords can go. You’ll be able to sit at a further distance from your PC using the wireless keyboard and mouse combination. 

Of course, wireless keyboards and mice do have their downsides. Most of them use some sort of battery and not all of them are rechargeable. You’ll need to keep extra batteries around, or keep the devices charged. It can be a little annoying if the batteries die while you’re in the middle of something. 

Because these wireless accessories aren’t directly connected to your computer, there may be a slight lag every now and then. Normally, this isn’t much of an issue and can go unnoticed, but if you’re a gamer, it could be critical.

There are some security concerns with the wireless keyboards and mice. Some devices use wireless (you may see this listed as 2.4GHz)and some use bluetooth.


Wireless mice with USB dongle

It has been found that some models of wireless keyboards and mice transmit the data in plain text. With the right knowledge and technology, someone might be able to hijack your signal and gather the data you’re typing, or inject their own keystrokes; this person may have to pinpoint your device specifically in order to perform these actions, so don’t worry too much. Here is an article from Wired with more information on these specific security vulnerabilities. A security company called Bastille tested wireless accessories for security vulnerabilities and has more information on affected devices; click here and here for the lists.

Bluetooth is said to be more secure than wireless, so if you have an older wireless keyboard and/or mouse, you may want to upgrade to a newer model. They look the same and still use dongles, but the technology inside is different. 


Computer with wireless keyboard and mouse

Overall, it comes down to preference when choosing what keyboard and mouse combination to use. It really depends on what you use your computer for. Most people have no issues with using wireless keyboards and mice, and they give a nice sleek look to your desk. Also keep in mind wireless and wired devices can be used simultaneously; just because you have a wireless mouse doesn’t mean you need to use a wireless keyboard. 



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