An Overview of Nano Wireless Receivers

How they differ from Bluetooth and standard USB receivers

JaCarta Nano USB token

Kharitonov / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 3.0

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.