What is IrDA?

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What is IrDA?
IrDA refers to the Infrared Data Association, an organization of device manufacturers that set a standard in infrared communications.

IrDA was established in 1993 by industry leaders in the computer and communication sectors. Today it has 150 member companies around the globe including popular telecommunication-related companies or brands like Nokia, Motorola, AT&T, and Sony. IrDA also has big names in the computer industry like Microsoft, Apple, Compaq, Hitachi, Toshiba, and Hewlett Packard. These industry leaders have cooperated to come up with a standard for infrared data transfer, which all of them could take advantage of in their respective electronic devices. IrDA specifications involve both the physical electronic device and the communication protocol being used.

Infrared devices of the past, like in vintage television sets, involved a one-way type of data transfer. The remote control can send an infrared signal to the TV, but the TV cannot send back a signal to the remote device. The IrDA was established to come up with an update to this technology via a two-way standard for infrared communications.

Many of today’s electronic devices are equipped with infrared technology. They include computers, cameras, mobile phones, printers, music players, and many other portable devices. The common range for infrared data transfer is approximately up to 1 meter, but some devices may be able to send or receive signals up to 3 meters. The speed of data transfer meanwhile may range from 1 mbps to 16 mbps. In most cases, one infrared-capable device must be placed in close proximity to the other infrared-capable device to have a successful infrared connection and to speed up the data transfer.

As electronic devices became more sophisticated, the computer and communications technology sectors needed to catch up to stay relevant and competitive. IrDA’s establishment by industry leaders was set in the direction of cooperative technology for everybody’s benefit.

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