Infrared data transmission protocols

Infrared data transmission protocols

Infrared wireless communications are covered under a set of protocols, even as an industry oriented interest community known as the IrDA (Infrared Data Association) sets down the protocol specifications.

In fact IrDA refers to these protocols. One of the important motives in using IrDA lies in the transmission of data “over the last one meter” using the principle of "point-and-shoot”.

It is widely used in portable electronic devices including mobile phones, cameras, laptops, printers, as well as medical instruments.

The important feature of this type of data transmission is the transmission of data through wireless optical communications, ensuring transfer of data in a secure way, LOS or line of sight as also BER – bit error rate being very restricted.

IrDa was very popular before the flooding of data transmission scene by Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and WIMAX, etc. Its popularity was at a peak during late 1990s, and extended to the 2000s, when it was used widely for laptops as well as some desktop peripherals.

While IrDA would require LOS for maintaining the rate of data transmission, in the case of Wi-Fi and other radio signal transmission modes such a direct line of sight is not needed, giving the more portability to keyboards and mouses in transmission of data. In certain environments it continues to be used where radio signals are unavailable or such technology is unworkable.

Infrared is a light and has lower frequency which means it has longer wavelengths, compared to red light. Some IR LED detectors work at 960 nanometers, which is indeed infrared. Goggles with night seeing capabilities, and infrared sensors for temperature reading, use IR wavelengths of nanometers range of 2000 to 10000, depending on the need of the applications.

IR detectors look out for signals flashing at a rate of 38500 times/second. IR detectors are equipped with optical filters which are built into the system, which does not allow any light other than IR of 980 nanometers, which is the signal produced by remote controls, preventing interference from other sources like sunlight or other lighting.