"Do I need this USB thing?"

Congratulations on your new headset! As you unbox the device and its various wires and cradles, you might find a small square USB plug that seems randomly placed in the box. You bought a wireless Bluetooth headset, so what is this small adapter, and what should you do about it? In this Tech Corner, we’re answering the question “Do I need this USB thing?”

BT600 and BT700 from Poly/Plantronics

“Do I need this USB thing?”

The USB adapter (called a dongle) is meant to create an interface between your headset and the computer. It creates a more secure, clear connection for calling or streaming media, and also allows for call control within softphone applications. These USB devices have proprietary drivers and software within them that interface with the computer, allowing easy compatibility with most platforms. Because they do the work that would normally take special software or driver downloads to allow the computer to utilize them properly, there’s often no need for extra work on the user’s part. They can just plug the adapter in and start using the headset!

First of all, DON’T THROW IT AWAY! Your headset has some awesome features meant for convenience, one of which is the ability to connect to mobile devices and computers. Your Bluetooth headset can do this one of two ways: via the Bluetooth to your computer or mobile device, or via the wireless Bluetooth USB adapter provided with the headset. How can you decide which connection you should use, and whether or not that adapter is even needed?

The dongle assists with two key features: Range, and Call Control

Range: If you’re the type of person who gets up and moves while wearing your headset, then the dongle is your friend. The use of the dongle creates a stable connection between your headset and the computer. Call clarity is largely based on range between the device and the computer, and when connected directly to Bluetooth, your range is very short. If you’re experiencing sound cutting out, fuzzing, or other connectivity issues, this might be the culprit. Using the dongle instead of connecting to Bluetooth will help!

Call Control: Being able to answer softphone calls without clicking anything on the computer is a great convenience for mobile workers. Call control is a key feature to using the USB dongle that is NOT available when connected through Bluetooth from the computer. You can mute, answer and end calls all from the headset. Plus if you’re someone who has media going in the background on your PC, the call control will pause and resume your media automatically, making sure you don’t miss any of that training seminar you had running in the background when you take a call.

But I didn’t get one of those with my headset, and it was supposed to come with one!

This is a very common call that our Headset Help Desk gets. Rest assured that your wireless headset that was supposed to come with an adapter DID get shipped with one, either inside the box it was packaged in, or within the carrying case for your model. It just may not be where you expect.

Jabra Link 370 USB adapter in the Evolve 75 case
BT700 in box

Be sure to double check the carrying case, the cardboard folds holding your headset into its box, and small pockets around the headset itself. These are the most common places for manufacturers to place USB adapters.

If you’re at your desk using a PC for meetings and calls, use the dongle.

Your calls will be clearer, your connection will be stronger, and your colleagues will stop telling you that you’re cutting out constantly.