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Sometimes it is not practical to use a cabled connection because the projector may be too far from the computer or the projector is installed on a ceiling and used by various different users/visitors who may not carry a data or video cable with them.

The answer to this problem is a wireless projector.

What is a wireless projector?

A projector is described as wireless when it can receive data or video wirelessly without the need of a cable.
Wireless projectors use 802.11b (11 megabits per second) or 802.11g (54 megabits per second) protocol to communicate wirelessly with compatible computers and equipment.

Please remember that a wireless projector still needs a mains cable to connect to a power point so it's not completely cable free.

Can I connect any equipment to a wireless projector?

To connect to the projector wirelessly you will need compatible equipment capable of connecting to a wireless network using the same protocol.

Many laptop computers have integrated wireless networking so they are easily connected to the projector.
With desktop computers you may need to buy a wireless adapter.

With video equipment you would most likely need to use a cabled connection because of the bandwidth requirements (see below for more information).

What are the advantages of going wireless?

Wireless projectors offer convenience and flexibility:

Wireless projector
  • the user can be anywhere in the room without being limited to where the projector or input plate is
  • it makes installation easier without the need for extra cables and having to worry about the length of the cables
  • it is easy to switch between multiple sources, for example in a meeting with several people showing a different presentation on their own computer


Are there any downsides?

The main limitation of wireless projectors is the bandwidth available to transfer data.

While the majority if not all wireless projectors can handle static files like a Microsoft Word or Excel document, some using the 802.11b protocol can have problems with streaming video.
The 802.11b protocol only offer 11 megabit per second of bandwith so videos can be jumpy, drop frames or not display at all.

Thankfully with the 802.11g protocol (54mbps) and the new 802.11n protocol (108mbps), some projector models are capable of streaming video up to 720p resolution.

Full HD is still out of reach for wireless projectors but with advances in technology it won't be long before even full HD videos are supported.

Is there a way to use a wireless connection without upgrading my projector?

If you already own a projector but it is not wireless there is still a solution: wireless dongles or senders.

These senders consist of a USB drive (sender) that is plugged in to your computer and connects wirelessly to a receiver box that is connected via a VGA cable to your projector.
Like wireless projectors they can support video up to 720p resolution.

The added advantage of these senders is that some of them can be connected to any display with a VGA input so you can use them with a plasma/LCD screen as well.

Is it secure?

With wireless connectivity there is always a security concern. You don't want strangers to be able to intercept your data.

You need not worry: wireless projectors feature security encryption (usually 64 bit or 128 bit) and some are compatible with a range of user authentications.
So your information is safe.

Please note that encryption can cause a slight delay however since the projector and computer have to encrypt and decrypt the signal.