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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.
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.
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.