An Overview of Nano Wireless Receivers

JaCarta Nano USB token

Kharitonov / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 3.0

A nano wireless receiver is simply a miniaturized USB wireless receiver that lets you link one or more devices, including your mouse and keyboard (which must be of compatible design), to the same computer.

The technology behind the Bluetooth receiver employs 2.4 GHz band radio communication. Because it links "one to many," it is a unifying device. You can usually find a nano receiver for around $10.

Some nano wireless receivers are not Bluetooth but do operate on the same frequency. In these cases, the receiver works only with compatible devices, like the keyboard or mouse that came with the purchase.

Devices linked together over Bluetooth ​is what's called a piconet. Therefore, nano Bluetooth receivers are sometimes called USB pico receivers. Other nano receivers might be called USB dongles.

USB vs. Nano Receivers

Before nano wireless receivers came out, USB receivers were about the size of a common USB flash drive. They stuck out of the side of a laptop's USB port, begging to be broken off.

Nano wireless receivers, on the other hand, are designed to be left in the laptop's port. They are so small that they can rest nearly flush with the side of the laptop. This, according to the manufacturers, lets you pack your laptop in its case without worrying about the receiver damaging the USB port.

If you're a nervous nelly, however, many computer peripheral manufacturers design their mice and keyboards with placeholders for the receiver.