Infrared (IR) wireless technology is a low-power, short-range wireless technology. IR transmits data using LEDs and receives data using photodiodes. IR wireless networks are globally unregulated. However, the Infrared Data Association (IrDA) defines the specifications for IR wireless communication. Figure 1 lists common IR characteristics.

Three common types of IR networks:

Setting up and configuring IR devices is simple. Many IR devices connect to the USB port on a laptop or desktop computer. When the computer detects the new device, Windows 7 installs the appropriate drivers. The installation is similar to setting up a LAN connection.

IR is a practical, short-range connection solution, but it has some limitations:

Before installing and configuring a device, make sure that IR is enabled in the BIOS by following these steps:

Step 1. Turn on the device to make it discoverable to Windows.

Step 2. Align the devices.

Step 3. When the devices are correctly aligned, an icon appears on the taskbar with a pop-up message.

Step 4. Click the pop-up message to display the Infrared dialog box.

Laptops without an internal IR device can connect a serial IR transceiver to a serial port or USB port. Figure 2 shows an internal IR port transceiver.

You can also access the Infrared dialog box in the Control Panel. You can configure the following settings: