Wireless Keyboard Tech Guide
How do wireless keyboards operate with no wires attached? Before you go shopping, here is a quick lowdown on the three major technologies that power wireless keyboards.
Infrared keyboards are kin to television remote controls. A signal is transmitted within the infrared portion of the spectrum, which is just below the color red. Since this light is outside of the visible spectrum, we aren't bothered by the constant flashing of infrared light. To operate an infrared keyboard, a line-of-sight must be maintained between the keyboard and the infrared receiver. While infrared keyboards are usually cheaper than radio frequency and Bluetooth options, the signals are less susceptible to interference.
Radio frequency, or RF, keyboards use radio signals to transmit keystrokes to the computer. Using the radio spectrum means RF keyboards do not need a line-of-sight; in fact, you can use an RF keyboard in a completely different room. However, RF keyboards usually operate alongside many other electronic devices within the radio spectrum. Therefore, RF keyboards are susceptible to interference.
Bluetooth is the third and, arguably, most advanced wireless keyboard technology. Bluetooth has become a common technology to link headsets and other devices to cars, MP3 players, cell phones, and computers. While Bluetooth does operate within the radio spectrum, it is able to shift frequencies when necessary to avoid interference. Bluetooth devices are usually paired, meaning that the signals sent from a Bluetooth device can usually only be read and understood by the intended receiving device. This makes Bluetooth a more secure alternative to infrared and RF keyboards.