Wireless 2.4GHz and Bluetooth Mouse | Understanding the differences

Wireless 2.4GHz and Bluetooth Mouse | Understanding the differences

Wireless 2.4GHz and Bluetooth Mouse | Understanding the differences Loading

Wireless mouse connectivity looks relatively simple but there are several ways to connect. This includes the bluetooth or with a USB dongle. In this post, I touch on the differences so you can make better decisions.

I was a bit surprised to learn that when you did a search for bluetooth mouse, I ended up getting results for the Wireless 2.4GHz mouse. This led me to create this post which hopefully will give you a better idea of the differences between the two.

Most of us are familiar with the mouse that is based around the 2.4GHz with a tiny receiver that you attached to your USB port (Fig. 1).

Fig. 1 Wireless 2.4 GHz mouse most of us are familiar with.

What can add to the confusion is that the Bluetooth mouse can look remarkably similar to the 2.4GHz standard mouse, see Fig. 2.

Fig. 2 Bluetooth mouse, similar to standard mouse.

Ok, let’s see why we should have two types of mouse and not just the standard one that everyone is familiar with?

First of all you need to appreciate that there several ways for devices to connect to your laptop such as mouse, trackpads, extra keyboards, graphics tablets etc. Majority of these devices will hook to your laptop or PC through the ubiquitous USB port (Fig. 3).

Fig. 3 Standard USB ports found on desktops and laptops for connecting external devices.

There is another type of connection that is found on almost all devices and that is bluetooth. There is no ‘hardware’ port like the USB, the connectivity hardware is already built into the device ie. laptops, tablets and phone. You will probably recognize the unmistakable symbol to define bluetooth, Fig. 4.

Fig. 4 Bluetooth connectivity shown on a smartphone

The way that bluetooth connects with external device is based on wireless technology. You may very well ask, surely the mouse with 2.4GHz is wireless technology too? Yes it is, but the connectivity is slightly different. What happens with say a wireless (2.4GHz) mouse, is that you need a small dongle to attach to your USB port. This will permit the mouse to make a wireless connection to your laptop and you have guessed it, at 2.4 GHz. So a lot of questions will arise from hereon, why not just use bluetooth and do away with this need for a dongle in the first place?

Bluetooth can be used as many of us do, to connect bluetooth speakers, wireless headphones but for mouse, the 2.4GHz USB way of connecting has become the norm. Bluetooth is a standard form of connection so that peripherals can be made to support this type of connectivity. As such, this will allow device manufacturers to focus on delivering the products rather than the wireless connectivity. As a result there is compatibility of devices across the board no matter which manufactures.

If you have noticed, the standard wireless mouse that you buy off the shelf has a dongle to attach to your laptop, PC etc. Now, if you got another brand of mouse and decided to plug in their dongle, the connectivity will surely fail. The reason for this, is because the connectivity between the dongle and the mouse is proprietary. Providing you are using a wireless connection that is permissible under law, manufactures can choose to use any types of wireless connectivity. Most opt for the 2.4GHz and hence the reason I have been labeling it as such.

Some smart cookies out there will also know that bluetooth also has a frequency range of 2.45GHz. There is really no reason why the two match closes to each other frequencies, it is perhaps the frequency band that seems most available for connectivity. Also, there is likely to be plethora of transmitters and receivers made with that frequency, which means lower cost. The latest bluetooth protocol is 5.0. Bluetooth is always backwards compatible, meaning that they will work with older devices supporting the older bluetooth versions. The latest 5.0 offers a low energy transmission (important for battery life) and a greater range than the previous 4.2. Such advances in this technology also enables greater signal clarity which means that your audio quality will be an improvement over previous versions. The other big driver of the latest technology is in IOT devices which is expected to be an emerging field that will continue to grow significantly over the years.

With 5G coming onto the scene, the digital world will expand to a whole world of possibilities. With speeds of 5x more, there will be substantial improvements found in games, video streaming, voip calls etc. Check out these comparisons for 4G and 5G, from the PCMag.

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