Commonly Asked Questions About IrDA & EMF

What is an IrDA infrared data connection?

A cordless data connection using infrared light. It is a low-cost transceiver signaling technology for two way data exchange. It provides high-speed digital exchange through the typical PC UART/serial port at 9600-115200 bits/s, and in some units compatible high speed extensions up to 1Mb/s and 4Mb/s speeds.

What are the distance limitations for IrDA-compliant infrared connections?

Although the IrDA standard only specifies a connection from zero to one meter, many IrDA-compliant products can connect at distances greater than one meter. You can also see our Wifi shields guide and a full post on Smart Meter guards here.

What is IrDA?

The initials IrDA stand for the Infrared Data Association. IrDA is a non-profit trade association with a membership of over 160 companies representing computer and telecommunications hardware, software, components and adapters.

Why infrared standards?

To ensure interoperability between devices of all types.

What is the difference between diffuse infrared, directed infrared, and radio frequency?

Diffuse infrared allows many-to-many connections, does not require direct line of sight and can be uni- or bi-directional. Since it is based on visible light, it is a secure form within a room. Financial trading floors are an example of diffuse infrared.

Direct infrared is point-to-point, typically one-to-one communications, is not subject to regulations, requires line of sight and is a secure form of data transmission and reception. IrDA is an example of directed infrared.

Radio frequency is not secure in that it can penetrate walls, is subject to uncontrolled interference, is typically higher in power than directed infrared and requires FCC certification.

How secure is infrared?

Very secure. Using infrared connection to access the LAN is as secure as using a cable at any other access point on the network. You need to be an authorized user on the subnet.

How reliable is infrared?

Often more reliable than wired solutions. When was the last time your TV remote control broke? In fact, we believe that the IR port will prove more reliable than wired connections because we will have eliminated wear-and-tear. No pins to bend, no plugs to jam.

Does the length of the infrared connection affect the speed of the network?

i.e., if the portable is farther away from the network access point, will the connection be slower? To be IrDA-compliant a product must be capable of maintaining a constant connection speed.

When will faster infrared speeds be available?

You can expect to see 16 Mbps speeds in the near future. Engineers say that even 50Mbps speeds is technology feasible, but won’t be available for at least a few years.

Why not wait for 16 Mbps speeds?

4Mbps fits the speed and data transmission requirements and is a viable speed for most PC applications today. As file size requirements grow, some segments of the industry will require higher speeds such as high speed LAN’s.

What products use infrared today?

Infrared is showing up in several electronic products, such as PDAs, printers, desktop adapters, notebooks, cameras, Palm devices.

What products will implement infrared in the future?

Infrared will soon be seen in copiers, fax machines, overhead projectors, telephones, bank ATM’s, credit cards, game controls, and headsets.

What do I need to be able to use Ir from my laptop to my desktop PC?

Your laptop needs to have the appropriate software drivers on it such as Microsoft Ir Monitor, QuickBeam or Transit (application dependent). If your Desktop PC does not have an IR port or software, you will need to get an Ir adapter and software to enable you Desktop. Ir adapters are available on the market today. Please go to the Products page on this web site to determine vendor offerings.

Where can I find information on infrared products (Notebooks, HPC, Printers, Software, etc)?

On the products page of this website.

How can I print to my desk top printer that does not have an IR port?

If your printer does not have an IR port or software, you will need to get an Ir adapter and software to enable your printer. Ir adapters are available on the market today. Please go to the Products page on this web site to determine vendor offerings.

What does FIR and SIR stand for?

FIR stands for Fast Infrared which is the capability to transfer data up to 4Mbps. SIR stand for Serial Infrared which is the capability to transfer data at 115Kbps.