Infrared

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What Does Infrared Mean?

Infrared (IR) is a wireless mobile technology used for device communication over short ranges. IR communication has major limitations because it requires line-of-sight, has a short transmission range and is unable to penetrate walls. IR transceivers are quite cheap and serve as short-range communication solutions.

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Because of IR’s limitations, communication interception is difficult. In fact, Infrared Data Association (IrDA) device communication is usually exchanged on a one-to-one basis. Thus, data transmitted between IrDA devices is normally unencrypted.

Techopedia Explains Infrared

IR-enabled devices are known as IrDA devices because they conform to standards set by the Infrared Data Association (IrDA). IR light-emitting diodes (LED) are used to transmit IR signals, which pass through a lens and focus into a beam of IR data. The beam source is rapidly switched on and off for data encoding.

The IR beam data is received by an IrDA device equipped with a silicon photodiode. This receiver converts the IR beam into an electric current for processing. Because IR transitions more slowly from ambient light than from a rapidly pulsating IrDA signal, the silicon photodiode can filter out the IrDA signal from ambient IR.

IrDA transmitters and receivers are classified as directed and non-directed. A transmitter or receiver that uses a focused and narrow beam is directed, whereas a transmitter or receiver that uses an omnidirectional radiation pattern is non-directed.

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Margaret Rouse
Senior Editor
Margaret Rouse
Senior Editor

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.