Wireless keyboard - RF vs IR

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I am planning to get a wireless keyboard and mouse. What is the difference between RF wireless and IR wireless keyboards (apart from the frequencies they operate on) in terms of their usability and quality? I think IR requires line-of-sight, but then why are IR ones more expensive than the RF ones? Is there any difference in the size of "base station" or something?

I assume there are many of you who have been using these keyboards for a long time and have tried many varieties .

Thanks,
RG

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I have one of each.

You are correct, the IR requires line of sight where the RF doesn't. One is a radio frequency the other is not. As far as usability, they should be the same.

Although, I can take my RF keyboard (logitech MX Duo) to another room and still control my PC (although I can't see the monitor so what is the point). My IR will only reach about 10 feet before the signal starts to fade.

Wow. I didn't even know that anyone made IR keyboards/mice. Wouldn't it be a pain keeping the line-of-sight clear between the receiver and the keyboard/mouse? It'd also rule out a lot of placement options for the receiver.

From an article in arstechnica:
The first wireless keyboard that I ever used was an infrared keyboard commonly found with the IBM PCjr. The premise was that you could sit far from your computer and type away without being tethered to your computer by a short keyboard cable. Unfortunately, the wireless keyboard was a bit ahead of its time. For those that remember the PCjr's IR keyboard, it did not have a very long range and you had to have perfect line-of-sight between your keyboard and computer. And even then, the system would still manage to misinterpret what you typed.

You don't have to have 100% line of site. My receiver for that keyboard sits behind a picture on my desk and works fine. Thisis the actual setup that I have. Bought it from a mom and pop computer store in town for $30 -10% cash payment discount.

It is just like a TV remote, the IR signal will bounce enough to work. I can aim my TV remote at the wall oposite the TV and it still works.

I had a microsoft RF keyboard and hated it. The range was terrible, like less than 2 feet... sometimes 1 foot. The matching mouse worked great though. I ended up switching to bluetooth and haven't had a problem since.

Which ever wireless keyboard setup you get, make sure it has some security features. Some like my Logitech wireless kb has wireless encryption.

ninjaman said: [Q]Which ever wireless keyboard setup you get, make sure it has some security features. Some like my Logitech wireless kb has wireless encryption.
Isn't the encryption only to prevent two similar devices from conflicting? I guess it could have some security purposes, but I've never heard of anyone intercepting a keyboard/mouse signal to log keystrokes or anything.

Go for the RF sets. Don't worry too much about the receiver size; most aren't very large.

This is from Logitech "To secure your cordless keyboard so that data passed between it and the receiver is encrypted...." They go on to explain how to secure it. I am going to switch out mine to wired one now that I have new desk. I am a bit paranoid about computer security <img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif" border=0>

ninjaman said: [Q]This is from Logitech "To secure your cordless keyboard so that data passed between it and the receiver is encrypted...." They go on to explain how to secure it. I am going to switch out mine to wired one now that I have new desk. I am a bit paranoid about computer security <img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif" border=0>
I know that. <img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-tongue.gif" border=0> I'm using an MX Duo set right now! I just always figured that encrypting the data didn't have any purpose other than allowing you to use 2 sets of wireless devices (like 2 mx duos)without having the receivers read the wrong data stream.

XAquaLeviathanX said: [Q]ninjaman said: [Q]This is from Logitech "To secure your cordless keyboard so that data passed between it and the receiver is encrypted...." They go on to explain how to secure it. I am going to switch out mine to wired one now that I have new desk. I am a bit paranoid about computer security <img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif" border=0>
I know that. <img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-tongue.gif" border=0> I'm using an MX Duo set right now! I just always figured that encrypting the data didn't have any purpose other than allowing you to use 2 sets of wireless devices (like 2 mx duos)without having the receivers read the wrong data stream.

Securing data is a good idea for a bluetooth keyboard / mouse as the range is much further than an IR or RF. If someone is grabbing keystrokes off of your RF they are probably in the same house, the IR, they are in the same room, so just slap them <img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-tongue.gif" border=0>

I'd never given wireless keyboard security any thought. But I have a home office. I recall that ever since the 80's, the word was that the U.S. Government could read keystrokes from OUTSIDE a building - and that was with WIRED keyboards. There was a whole special class of extremely pricey "secure" computers that were designed to minimize RF radiation and minimize the chance of signal interception.

Of course, we don't have to worry about our Government spying on us anymore. <img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-sad.gif" border=0>



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