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infrared

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Young woman working on computer
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Definition: Infrared technology allows computing devices to communicate via short-range wireless signals. With infrared, computers can transfer files and other digital data bidirectionally. The infrared transmission technology used in computers is similar to that used in consumer product remote control units.

Installation and Usage - Computer infrared network adapters both transmit and receive data through ports on the rear or side of a device. Infrared adapters are installed in many laptops and handheld personal devices. In Microsoft Windows, infrared connections can be created through the same method as other local area network connections. Infrared networks were designed to suppport direct two-computer connections only, created temporarily as the need arises. However, extensions to infrared technology also support more than two computers and semi-permanent networks.

Range - Infrared communications span very short distances. Place two infrared devices within a few feet (no more than 5 meters) of each other when networking them. Unlike Wi-Fi and Bluetooth technologies, infrared network signals cannot penetrate walls or other obstructions and work only in the direct "line of sight."

Performance - Infrared technology used in local networks exists in three different forms:

  • IrDA-SIR (slow speed) infrared supporting data rates up to 115 Kbps
  • IrDA-MIR (medium speed) infrared supporting data rates up to 1.15 Mbps
  • IrDA-FIR (fast speed) infrared supporting data rates up to 4 Mbps
Also Known As: IR

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