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-- IrDA(R) Tutorial --

"IrDA Wireless Connectivity: White Papers"


Portable computing has become synonymous with the rapidly changing world of technology in today's work environment. Every company recognizes that in order to compete they must keep pace, as well as deploy and manage this new technology in order to maintain their competitive edge. New economic trends in the global economy will continue to push companies to find new ways to enhance productivity and maintain flexibility among their employees.

In fact, portable computing according to recent studies is poised for some very dramatic growth. Many estimates suggest that the number of portable computers sold in 1996 will double from the 5.6 million units sold in 1993. A trend that is likely to continue as companies deploy their workforce to a more "mobile office concept". One obstacle to achieving the goal of mobile connectivity has always been the limitation of the cable connection. Whether you are connecting to the printer, your network or exchanging data with the desktop, the cable connection is viewed as a hindrance to the effective and efficient use of the portable computer.

The Infrared Model:

In an effort to achieve a wireless connection to a full range of peripheral devices without the hassle of cable, infrared technology was born.

Benefits of Infrared:

  • A worldwide standard for wireless connectivity
  • Easy to implement and simple to use
  • Safe in any environment
  • No electromagnetic noise
  • No government regulatory issues
  • Minimum crosstalk

The IrDA standard:

In 1993 leaders from both the communication and computer industry formed the Infra-red Data Association (IrDA) with the sole purpose of creating a standard for infrared wireless data transfer.

Now the IrDA association has over 120 members worldwide. It includes some of the most recognized companies in the world, such as: Apple, AT&T, ACTiSYS, Canon, Compaq, Hitachi, Intel, Hewlett Packard, Microsoft, Motorola NTT, Sony, Toshiba and many others.

Connecting with IR:

Once two infrared devices are within range of each other, Windows 95 will automatically detect the device and display its signature on the screen. An audible alert will also sound indicating a connection has been made. If for any reason the beam is interrupted Windows 95 will again signal audibly and attempt to re-establish the link for up to 45 seconds. No data loss will occur if the link is re-established at that time.


In 1995 only 38% of the leading portable computer manufacturers shipped Infrared with their product. By early 1997 that number is expected to reach 100%. The reason is simple; Cost, reliability & flexibility have all contributed to the overwhelming acceptance the Infrared standard now enjoys.

Users now have the option to be free of the hassle and clutter of cables and various connectors and still have virtually unlimited connectivity to a wide range of desktop and peripheral devices.

A commitment to Infrared technology:

ACTiSYS' commitment to infrared technology dates back to 1989. In September of 1993 they were one of early members of the IrDA standards association and remain active to this day. In November of 1993, at the Fall Comdex, they introduced the worlds first dual-mode IR serial adapter. Today, ACTiSYS boasts one of the most complete lines of IrDA products in the industry, including IR Protocol and test software as well as a full range of IR adapter products.


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