You just give a wonderful PowerPoint presentation in your office using wireless keyboard and mouse. But do you ever wonder how they work since they are not traditional peripheral connected to the computer with a wire? So, how do they work? Let’s take a look into the mechanism behind the best wireless keyboard and mouse.
How does a wireless keyboard work?
Though the name may imply otherwise, the working of a wireless keyboard is not complicated. To understand it easily, think about how a wired keyboard works. The keyboard is directly connected to the computer with a cable and the cable acts as a medium to transfer signal to the computer from the keyboard. But the wireless keyboard does not have any cable. So how it works?
What happens, in this case, is, the data from the keyboard is encoded and transmitted through infrared or radio frequency (RF) as a signal. Each letter on the keyboard has a corresponding code. For example, the corresponding code of the letter T is U+0054. The receiving end of the signal is a computer which has an integrated circuit (IC) chip. The IC circuit receives all the information that comes from the keyboard and transfers it to the operating system of the computer. The encoded data of the keyboard is then decoded in the central processing unit (CPU) and is displayed in the monitor.
Type of wireless keyboard
- Standard size wireless keyboard
- Foldable features hinges that allow folding of keyboard
- Portable keyboard these keyboards come with an integrated touchpad
- Portable with stand comes with a tablet or smartphone stand
- Roll-up wireless keyboard these keyboards can roll up when not in use
- Mini wireless keyboard these are palm size keyboards with an integrated touchpad
- Slim keyboard
What is a Bluetooth keyboard?
Bluetooth keyboard is also a wireless keyboard but instead of using RF (radio frequency) technology it uses blue tooth technology to communicate with its parent device. Bluetooth technology uses radio waves for communication purpose. But it has the capability to communicate with many different devices at once without an interface.
The advantage of using a wireless keyboard
- Wireless keyboards are much flexible and comfortable to use
- Allow stress-free working and increase overall productivity
- People suffering from a backache and joint pain should use wireless keyboards and mice for amazing health benefits.
How does a wireless mouse work?
Wireless mouse uses radio frequency technology to transmit information to your computer. Since radio frequency based, the device requires two primary components a transmitter and a receiver. Wireless mouse has some other components which include mouse controller, ceramic capacitors, 26.690 MHz crystal for transmission. The mouse features a standby mode and its transmission of the signal depends on your action, for example, clicking.
The transmitter resides in the mouse. Its function is sending an electromagnetic signal that encodes the information about the mouse’s movements and the buttons you click. The receiver, which is connected to the computer, accepts the signal, decodes it and passes it on to the mouse driver software and your computer’s operating system.
The receiver not necessarily to be a computer. It can be a separate device that plugs into your computer, a special card that you place in an expansion slot, or a built-in component.
Unlike infrared technology, which is used for short-range wireless communication for example, in television remote, RF (radio frequency) devices do not require a clear line of sight between the transmitter (in this case mouse) and receiver. Because a wireless mouse signal can pass through barriers, for example, desk or monitor.
Use of radio frequency
Nowadays, many electronic devices use radio frequencies to transfer data. They include cellular phones, wireless networks, and garage door openers. In order to avoid conflicts, different types of devices have been assigned different frequencies.
For example, an earlier version of the wireless mouse operated at a frequency of 27 megahertz. But newer mice operate at 2.4 GHz which makes them capable of working at a greater distance, for example, 100 to 150 feet.
Newer cell phones have been assigned to 900-megahertz frequency. Garage door openers function at a frequency of 40 megahertz, and 802.11b/g wireless networks operate at 2.4 gigahertz. Megahertz means one million cycles per second.
So, 900 megahertz means there are 900 million electromagnetic waves per second. Similarly, Gigahertz (GHz) means one billion cycles per second. So, in case of new wireless mouse 2.4 GHz means 2.4 billion electromagnetic wavers per second.
Types of wireless Mice
Two essential components of an optical mouse are the light emitting diode (LED) and light sensors (CMOS sensor). LED emitted red light which people use to track the movements of the mouse. The CMOS sensor is then capturing the image of the mouse movements.
After capturing, the sensor sends each image to a digital signal processor. The DSP’s function is to analyze the pattern of each image sent by the CMOS and examines how these images have changed, comparing to the previous image.
The pattern of mouse movements is on the coordinate axes. The monitoring of the mouse movements and capturing the images are to do with extreme precision. Because a smooth movement of the cursor on the screen depends on these two things. DPI (dot per inch) technology gives a fine resolution to the image which is similar to megapixels in mobile phones. Optical mouse use 400 to 800 DIP for image resolution.
The working of the laser mouse is similar to that of an optical mouse with a few differences. The main differences between them are laser mouse has more resolution (2000 DPI) as compared to optical mouse and it uses invisible laser rays to detect the movement of the mouse.
Advantages of wireless mice
Wireless mice utilize radio frequency technology. The technology offers a number of benefits
- RF transmitter is in the mouse and requires low energy. Moreover, it can even run on batteries.
- RF wireless mice are inexpensive. They are available for less than $50 and even as low as $25.
- Wireless mice are lightweight. So, they are quite portable
Are wireless keyboard and mouse hackable?
wireless keyboard and mouse use a device called computer dongles. It is a hardware device without which a particular software program will not run. People use it to prevent unauthorized use.
The security issue of wireless keyboard and mouse has a relationship with this device. Because some computer dongles offer hackers a fairly simple way to remotely access and take over your computer. Internet-of-things security startup Bastille has identified and revealed This security issue.
Bastille is an Atlanta-based company. The company says that it has determined that a number of non-Bluetooth wireless keyboards and mice from seven companies including some reputed brand, for example, Logitech, Dell, and Lenovo have a design flaw that makes it easy for hackers from as far as about 90 meters away to pair with the dongle that these devices use to take control of your computer. Furthermore, hackers can add malware to your machine.
Upon testing, Bastille determined that while data is transmitting through the wireless keyboard. But none of the mouse it tested encrypt its click. Another issue is as a security requirement while most wireless keyboards encrypt their data before sending it to the dongle, on the other hand, the dongle did not always require that the data be encrypted.
Both of these two things that is mouse click does not encrypt and dongles allow non-encrypted data make it possible for a hacker to fool the dongle on a victims computer into thinking that his remote clicks and keystrokes are ok to accept.
What experts say about hacking –
Another fact revealed by Marc Newlin, a Bastille engineer, is that since each wireless keyboard or mouse use a unique radio frequency address. A hacker can simply use an inexpensive USB dongle to track data packets transmitting between a mouse and the dongle. That has a connection to its computer to determine the address. After figuring out the address, the hacker could transmit keystroke packets to the dongle as if he were the legitimate user of the computer.
Chris Rouland, Bastille founder and chief technology officer, says that his company draws the attention of manufactures of wireless keyboard and mouse about the security vulnerability of the devices. The companies took the issue seriously. According to Rouland, you can make some of the wireless keyboards and mouse more secure with a simple software update to the dongle. But, you can not patch most of them. So, he says the solution lies in replacing theed dongles.
Wireless keyboards and mouse offer many benefits. Wireless keyboard and mouse combo contribute to increasing overall productivity. They are reliable and stable. Like other devices, security is a concern that has recently been surfaced. But only a very few security breaches we know about. The good news is wireless keyboards and mice manufactures are working attentively to fix the security issue.