Why Does My Wireless Keyboard Miss Keystrokes?
By Milton Kazmeyer
A wireless keyboard can be a useful tool in a non-traditional office where employee mobility and ergonomic comfort are priorities. The ability to work without worrying about entangling cords gives you more freedom in the workspace, but these devices can also have their problems. If you find your keyboard is suddenly missing keystrokes, it could be a sign of a low battery or interference.
One of the most common sources of malfunction for any wireless device is a weak power source. As a wireless keyboard drains its batteries, it becomes less able to maintain the radio link with its receiver, and this can lead to dropped keystrokes and an eventual disconnection of the peripheral. If it has been a while since you replaced the batteries in your wireless keyboard, a fresh set may provide a more solid data connection and solve the problem.
Wireless keyboards use radio frequencies to transmit data to your PC, either via Wi-Fi frequencies or Bluetooth, depending on the model. If your office uses many wireless electronics, these frequencies could be crowded with the transmissions of other devices. First, try moving your keyboard closer to the PC’s sensor to provide a more direct line of sight between transmitter and receiver. If this fails to correct the problem, check with your keyboard’s configuration software to see if you can switch Wi-Fi channels. Changing to a less-crowded frequency may reduce dropped keystrokes and other performance issues.
In addition to frequency clashes caused by Wi-Fi-enabled devices, your keyboard may receive interference from a wide variety of different sources. Many electrical devices can produce interference in the radio spectrum, either in a narrow band or across a wide range of frequencies. Cordless phones, for instance, can block certain Wi-Fi frequencies, while a microwave oven will produce a considerable amount of multi-frequency interference. Certain industrial machinery may also produce radio emissions, so if the keyboards near a production area in your facility have repeated problems, switching to corded keyboards may be necessary to keep productivity high.
If batteries and interference issues fail to solve the problem, you may have a hardware problem. If the keyboard misses certain letters consistently, it could be due to some debris in the keyboard blocking that key switch. Cleaning the keyboard with compressed air may solve the problem. You can also try switching the receiver to a new USB port, or swapping the keyboard with another PC to see if both machines suffer the same problems. If the new PC shows no sign of missed keystrokes, it could be a driver issue on the first PC, and reinstalling the software may correct the problem. If the keyboard fails on both systems, it may need replacement or repair and you should contact the manufacturer for support.
- Wireless Computing: Frequently Asked Questions
- HP: Wireless Keyboard and Mouse Troubleshooting
- Microsoft Support: Troubleshoot Response Failures in Wireless Keyboard or Mouse
- Wi-Fi Planet: Minimizing Bluetooth Interference
- Microsoft at Home: 10 Tips to Help Improve Your Wireless Network
- Cisco: 20 Myths of Wi-Fi Interference
Milton Kazmeyer has worked in the insurance, financial and manufacturing fields and also served as a federal contractor. He began his writing career in 2007 and now works full-time as a writer and transcriptionist. His primary fields of expertise include computers, astronomy, alternative energy sources and the environment.