Bluetooth Lag

So today I brought my bluetooth mouse to work, because I was going portable with my laptop to chase the pocket wifi signal (the closer to it, the better). This also meant leaving my tangle of monitor, keyboard and mouse setup at my desk and moving closer to the less populated areas of the office... Welp, that was the concept.


The problem I faced this afternoon is that my bluetooth mouse lagged... alot. But it wasn't its fault entirely. At home, I can play DOTA2 with it without problems. So why does it act up at work? Here's a few pointers in troubleshooting bluetooth device lag.

  • Interference. The primary problem with devices operating at the crammed 2.4Ghz. This frequency is where Bluetooth sits, along with several other signals like WiFi and even your kitchen microwave. I know my mouse isn't to blame entirely, because my headphones also drop out when I'm in the office, even when my laptop that's transmitting the music is right in front of me.

    Solution: Move to a quiet place, with no other signals interfering.

  • Processor. Well, not the processor, but the processing that is happening in the processor. When the processor becomes excessively busy, it tends to set aside non-essential functionality, which includes wireless devices.

    Solution: Close apps that may be eating up processing time.

  • Power-saving. When your device saves power, it regularly powers down peripherals attached to your machine. This includes powering down your HDD, down-clocking the processor, dimming the screen and yes, turning the radios off including WiFi and bluetooth.

    Solution: Plug-in and move to a more powerful power plan, like balanced.

  • Radio Traffic. Most devices nowadays sport a WiFi-bluetooth combo card, which means the same hardware handles bluetooth and wifi (makes sense since both live in the 2.4Ghz frequency). But that means if the radio is being busy in wifi, bluetooth suffers and vice versa. This also applies to having more than 1 bluetooth device connected. When I connect my headset, my mouse starts to lag.

    Solution: Dunno... stop using bluetooth and wire-in instead?

  • Near-zero battery. Yep, observed with both mouse and headphones. Headphones tend to drop out when near zero and mouse tend to lag and power-down more often when batteries are running dry.

    Solution: When not using these devices, wire them in. For battery-powered mice, use a rechargeable battery. Best if you buy 2 pairs so you won't have to wait.

This post is just a list of mere observations and advice, not a full fact-and-solution post. However, after several observations, these solutions have helped me one way or another.

technology bluetooth

© Joseph Descalzota