10473 Views 4 Replies Latest reply: Mar 18, 2006 1:12 AM by Dean Pahl
I have recently bought a Mac Min and an Apple Bluetooth wireless keyboard/mouse combo to use as part of a home theatre setup and I'd like to add my experiences to Barry's above.
I sit exactly 3.5 meters (10ft) from the TV (according to my Receiver's auto-calibration) with no obstructions between myself and Mac Mini.
While the keyboard works just fine, the mouse is total rubbish. I have to be no more than 1 meter away for it to be smooth. After that, it is erratic and quite frankly, painful to use.
I have ordered the Logitech S530 as apparently the range on that is much better because it DOESN'T use Bluetooth. I will be sending back the Apple keyboard/mouse once this arrives.
This is not the first ive had this sort of problem with Bluetooth device range. IMO is not a good technology for this sort of application - I hope Apple move away from it in their next generation or at least do something about the limited range of the mouse.
Please allow me to join Barry in extending a warm welcome to Apple Discussions!
venkman, I hope you didn't choose the moniker because you're feeling "s l i m e d" . . .
I've a few thoughts to share — and some background info, in hopes it'll make sense. The short version is that potential interferences in the room where you have the mouse and home theater may be impacting the mouse's range of acceptable performance significantly. This is something that you may be able to improve by understanding these potential sources and modifying their location/influence.
Bluetooth™ has always been characterized as a "low-power, short-range radio technology that allows electronic devices such as mobile phones, headsets, PDAs, notebook PCs and even cars to 'talk' to each other without wires." Depending on several factors, the practical range can be effectively shorter than optimal — but this may be something you can counteract.
The nominal range (10 meters, or 30 feet, for a Class-2 radio Bluetooth™ implementation) is usually stated in the context "up to" — because many home and work environments also include interferences and other factors that decrease this result.
Potential interferences — from 2.4 GHz sources, and others — in the environment where you're using the Bluetooth™-enabled mouse and Mac can have a major impact on the effective range.  Bluetooth technology is designed to minimize its role in interference (e.g., its effect on WiFi located in the same Mac) — but its performance is still closely related to other potential interferences. Because Bluetooth is also intended to enable communication among various different kinds of devices, "profiles" have been defined within its specifications — e.g., for fax, cordless telephones, input devices (HID) such as mice and keyboards, etc. The HID profile is quite different than others — largely because of its need for extra-rigorous security. This may also be a factor in why your experience is poor.
Various RF devices other than WiFi (AirPort) and Bluetooth™ operate within this unregulated Industrial, Scientific, Medical (ISM) frequency range — and will naturally interfere with each other just like any transceivers. AirPort: Potential sources of interference (an Apple KnowledgeBase Article) highlights several of the main potential sources of interference besides WiFi and Bluetooth that may be present in a home environment, including:
• Microwave ovens
• Direct Satellite Service (DSS) RF leakage from some/older coaxial cable
• 2.4 GHz cordless phones
• Metal Objects
• X-10 video receivers, some baby monitors, etc.
Work surfaces, walls, and floors also impact performance and range within a multi-radio-signal environment.
It's possible that there's something you can improve on this front.
 If you're interested, this diagram illustrates the relationships among range, signal-to-noise ratio, and other factors. Interferences in the adjacent environment (the "noise" in signal-to-noise — and thus, attenuation of the signal from point-to-point) have a strong effect on the functional range. [The diagram is from an excellent — though outdated — overview of wireless technologies written by an HP engineer in 2000.]
There's a lot of info on this topic available online — although many of the references are outdated because Bluetooth technology (and its performance in several areas) has evolved so rapidly since 2001-2002. Apple has stayed ~on the forefront of these changes, so be sure your firmware is up-to-date to take advantage of improvements.
I edited this message... But probably not enough!
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