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It seems to me that there are times and places where a wireless keyboard and mouse is not appropriate, and that there may be a time and a place where they are. Do you have any policies relating to the use of wireless input devices (and if not, insights or opinions)?

My personal opinion is, "Please let me plug the stupid thing in. I know it'll work that way. With RF interference and dead batteries, wireless isn't worth the hassle." It just seems that with wireless dongles, bluetooth devices, and wireless USB coming, that it is becoming easier to find a wireless device than a wired one, and that this will be more and more of an issue. [My suspicion is there are higher profit margins on wireless devices, and thus companies would rather sell them.] Some of them include a battery charger, which is nice, but I suspect there is a large class of users who would neglect to charge it.

Wireless is inappropriate in a computer lab -- I shudder at the thought of the time that would be wasted to ensure that the batteries were charged, and, as for interference, well, I heard of a meeting where each of the dozen participants had a bluetooth mouse and wondered why they didn't work. Wireless doesn't make much sense for a server, either. I'd hate to come to my KVM and find out that I couldn't use it.

Wireless may be appropriate for a secretary -- for someone removed from other people who does a lot of typing. And yet, I have a hard time seeing why you'd need a wireless keyboard and mouse combo if you are sitting at a desk all day.

One place where it is appropriate is when a presenter has a computer across the room and is projecting onto the screen.

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closed as off topic by John Gardeniers, Scott Pack, mdpc, Magellan, Ward Dec 1 '12 at 7:33

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13 Answers 13

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We bought wireless mouse/keyboard packages for all our employees for office use. I've replaced all of them with corded. The mouse lags, they disconnect for no apparaent reason and the rechargeable batteries dies after a short time.

Corded is generally less hassle if you have the keyboard and mouse at a fixed location. It always works.

I use wireless keyboard/mouse in my living room to control my HTPC. Nowhere else.

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It is tough to choose a right answer. This answer captures times and places where they are/are not appropriate. The main thing it misses is the mention of the devices being a security risk. –  Clinton Blackmore Jun 24 '09 at 20:37
    
I've banned people from bringing in Wireless Logitech devices. They never work right and eat through batteries like candy. We have several wireless mice around the office from MS and none of them have problems. We also have a few other products, most of which are very reliable. –  Chris S Oct 15 '10 at 14:25
    
In our environment wireless keyboard and mouse combos seem to generate lots of support requests without any clear benefit. Users like them because of the "Oh! Shiny!" factor but I've yet to come across a clear business case for them other than in a conference room for a computer connected to a projector. –  kce Jan 8 '12 at 23:51

I wouldn't use a wireless keyboard. At work, we discourage the use of them due to security purposes.

There are already tools for sniffing wireless keyboard communication, check out what 'researchers' have released: http://www.remote-exploit.org/Keykeriki.html


Understanding Logitech keyboards decoding, they plan to release this functionality in future releases:

Please note: the decoding for the Logitech keyboards is known and documented already but not yet implemented within this first release. Check back later to see it soon.

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I've got a Mac Mini hooked up to my TV and running XMBC. A wireless (actually Bluetooth) keyboard/mouse combo works brilliantly well with this. Not a common requirement in the ServerFault world though :-)

JR

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A HTPC setup is probably the only place I would use wireless. Stretching keyboard and possibly mouse across the living room from the TV doesn't sound fun. –  prestomation Jun 24 '09 at 17:15
    
+1 I was going to say the same thing... Where is a wireless keyboard/mouse appropriate... From the couch of course ;-) –  fretje Jun 24 '09 at 17:22
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So I need to get a couch in the office! :) –  Server Horror Jun 24 '09 at 17:42

I don't like or use them.

1. Batteries. Who wants to buy and have batteries around all the time? It's expensive and annoying when you have work to do and suddenly can't

2. Lag. I hate that feeling of lag when using the mouse. I'm sure not all of them do it, but it's never the same as a nice laser mouse.

3. Cost. They cost more, and all you gain is a tiny bit of maneuverability or space taken by a wire.

4. Crappy software you must install. No, no I don't want to install your software.

As a point of interest, I once had a wireless keyboard and mouse near a wireless router cause a lot of dropped connections.

I currently pimp a MS ergo 4000 keyboard and a MS laser 6000 mouse. These two are the BOMB.

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Alot of wireless keyboards are prone to hacking/sniffing http://hackaday.com/2007/12/02/wireless-keyboards-easily-cracked/

I use an IR keyboard (with built in joystick mouse) for my home media center, but I dont really see any advantage to having one at work. And not because of security issues, which you should definitely be aware of, but just because of all the hassle. A good wired usb or ps2 keyboard is safe and maintenance free...and no one wants to steal one.

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Wireless mice are generally a good idea, since there's no cord to drag around. If you stick your keyboard on one spot on your desk, there's really no reason for it to be cordless. Nice to have cordless for presentations or your living room, though.

I tried a cordless keyboard at one point; ended up getting annoyed at it periodically, because it would run low on batteries at highly inconvenient times.

Security is a big concern, though. Last I checked, none of the wireless keyboards actually disclosed what their encryption stack was; most didn't look like they really had any kind of encryption, or simply claimed encryption without giving details (is ROT13 encryption?). In any kind of case where security is any concern, I'd never use a wireless keyboard. Somebody sniffing your mouse traffic would have a much harder time figuring out anything useful from it.

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The thought of someone sniffing your wireless mouse traffic and trying to do something with it really made me smile! –  Clinton Blackmore Jun 24 '09 at 17:21

From personal experience, I would stay away from Logitech Bluetooth combos. We have a very large room with 10 of these and are constantly having issues with lagging mice and "stuck" keys. It is especially frightening when editing a Cisco router and the backspace or enter key gets stuck while typing. I've never had issues with the non-Bluetooth equipment.

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I use a wireless keyboard and mouse at my home office and they work great. I haven't had any issues and have the flexibility move my keyboard around to different locations without having to 're-wire' my setup.

My batteries on both the keyboard and mouse work in excess of 6 months.

-JFV

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I use my wireless keyboard and mouse only for aesthetics. While they are portable, they are not quick to install at another workstation since they require pairing. Also, not all computers will pair at bootup, so they may not work for BIOS setup and such (Although most Mac's seem to pair at bootup and I am able to use startup keys with mine). I would use them at some type of front desk or secretary desk where aesthetics may be more important.

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I work for the IT department of a company with about 30 computers, and I tell you something: having to maintain 120 rechargeable batteries charged at all times, it´s real nightmare...

-Every day, someone walks into my office with dead rechargeable batteries....

My Opinion is:

Home Use: Wireless Rocks!, it´s OK to change batteries every 6 months

Office Use: Stay with the good old USB wired Keyboards and Laser Mice... unless the aesthetics really matters. (reception desks, boardrooms, etc...)

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I believe certain brands of wireless keyboards can be relatively easy to sniff, in principle making them wireless keyloggers. I personally would never use one, and I agree they are frustrating when the batteries start to die.

Wireless mice are great and the batteries seem to last forever.

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If you are intrested in a discussion on wireless keyboard security listen to Security Now episode 122. grc.com/securitynow.htm –  Matt Jun 24 '09 at 16:43

We have enough problems with people steeling ones that are plugged in, we'd have none left if we started giving wireless ones out!

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I'm pretty happy with my wireless keyboard. Battery life is many moons and I never have any trouble with it.

I've thrown out all the wireless mice I've tried, though. No matter how high their advertised super-duper laser precision, their actual, in-practice precision has been abysmal for me.

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