Software & Apps Windows 81 81 people found this article helpful An Overview of Nano Wireless Receivers How they differ from Bluetooth and standard USB receivers By Lisa Johnston Writer Lisa Johnston is a former Lifewire writer and an editor who covers computer peripherals and other consumer electronics since 2004. our editorial process LinkedIn Lisa Johnston Updated February 01, 2020 Kharitonov / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 3.0 Windows The Ultimate Laptop Buying Guide Tweet Share Email A nano wireless receiver is a USB device that allows you to link devices, such as your wireless mouse and keyboard, to your computer. They are exactly the same as standard USB receivers, only smaller and more convenient, but there are different types of nano wireless receivers. Information in this article applies broadly to a range of products. Make sure a wireless receiver is compatible with the devices you want to connect before making a purchase. Nano Receivers vs. Bluetooth Some Bluetooth receivers are nano receivers, but not all nano receivers use Bluetooth technology. Bluetooth receivers employ 2.4 GHz band radio communication and are capable of linking multiple devices together, which is why they are called "unifying devices." Devices linked together over Bluetooth form a piconet, so such receivers are also sometimes called USB pico receivers. Some non-Bluetooth nano wireless receivers operate on the same frequency; however, they only work with specific devices, such as the keyboard or mouse that they came packaged with. Nano receivers and Bluetooth devices are sometimes called USB dongles. Receivers that communicate with wireless networks are called Wi-Fi adapters. USB vs. Nano Receivers Before nano wireless receivers came out, USB receivers were about the size of a common USB flash drive. They protruded out of the side of a laptop's USB port, posing a huge inconvenience. Users had to plug-in and remove them after each use, increasing the odds of the receiver getting lost or damaged. Nano wireless receivers, on the other hand, are designed to be left in the laptop's port at all times. They are often so small that they are almost unnoticeable. Since they fit snugly into the side of the computer, you can pack your laptop in its case without worrying about the receiver or USB port getting damaged. Some wireless mice and keyboards come with placeholders for the nano receiver.