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Are 2.4 GHz and Bluetooth Wireless Mice Interfering with Your Game Play?

  • August 23, 2023

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We’ve devoted a lot of digital ink here at the SPARK blog recently on the topic of gaming and esports hardware, particularly gaming mice. It’s a topic we’re passionate about, and our customers are super excited about it too! 

In a relatively brief span of time, they’ve watched as SPARK UWB has leveled the playing field to make wireless gaming mice truly – finally! – performance competitive with wired mice at polling rates up to 8,000 Hz. And our customers have watched with great interest as gamers themselves begin to take heed of the important latency advantages that SPARK UWB delivers to complement and amplify the polling rate benefit. 

Our customers’ enthusiasm for UWB innovation in gaming peripherals is infectious. For these vendors – as with their customers, the gamers – SPARK UWB is breaking stubborn barriers that have stymied high performance, competitive gaming for far too long. 

Among the longstanding gripes that SPARK UWB has arrived to solve: The frustrating congestion and signal interference that continues to haunt narrowband Bluetooth and proprietary 2.4 GHz implementations.

HIGH TRAFFIC, HIGH FRUSTRATION

It’s not exactly a well-kept secret that gamers have had to contend with persistent interference issues when it comes to wireless mice, headsets, etc. 

Wireless gaming devices operating at 2.4 GHz contend with significant RF congestion and interference in what is essentially a tiny slice of frequency band – one that’s already overcrowded with wide varieties of Wi-Fi devices and also non-Wi-Fi (802.11) devices including microwave ovens, security cameras, fluorescent lights, cordless phones – it’s a pretty long list. 

uwb-spectrum-graph

It’s easy to illustrate how intrusive Wi-Fi networks can be to surrounding Wi-Fi networks. Gamers and non-gamers alike – particularly city-dwellers – are quite used to picking up (strong!) Wi-Fi signals from our surrounding neighbors, and commercial Wi-Fi hotspots as well.

When a big game is on the line, can gamers trust that their short-range wireless connections won’t bend or break under these conditions? A lot of them don’t because they’ve learned the hard way that signal interference can cause sudden catastrophe.

Bluetooth, of course, also resides in this congested narrow band and struggles with many of the same issues when it comes to gaming peripheral connectivity. Inherent to Bluetooth is the assumption that there’s often several Bluetooth products trying to compete in the same spectrum – the data rate that Bluetooth can deliver is therefore limited by design

We salute Bluetooth for being the first platform to free us from the constraints of wired gaming mice, and the freedom of movement that entails. But Bluetooth wasn’t intended to be a high-performance wireless gaming option. It’s prone to signal drops and connection loss, and the performance is merely adequate.

2.4 GHz delivers good performance with relatively good signal stability when compared to Bluetooth, but there’s major compromises elsewhere. 2.4 GHz also means much faster battery drain than Bluetooth – and potentially up to 10X faster power drain than what SPARK UWB enables.

SMALLER ‘BUBBLES’

In the future, we predict that for individual consumers – not just gamers, but everyone – the value we’ve put on widening our personal wireless connectivity radius will shift to emphasize the value of shortening these connections for many apps.  For gamers, this helps to ensure limited interference from the get-go, among other important benefits. Privacy, for example, is a growing concern for device users/wearers, and short-range (10m), high-performance SPARK UWB helps answer these challenges in part by limiting the size of our personal ‘bubbles’. 

Unconfined by narrowband limitations – the congestion, the interference – SPARK is putting the “short” back in short-range wireless for the apps that benefit the most. Gamers today and tomorrow (particularly as AR/VR takes hold) will benefit tremendously as our personal area networks (PANs) are supercharged for gaming and entertainment performance that only SPARK UWB can deliver. 

For more information about SPARK’s innovations in gaming and esports devices, we invite you to visit our Applications page.