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Infrared Networking

Most portable computers include an infrared data transmission device similar to that used on TV remote controls. Using a data transmission standard called IrDA (after the Infrared Data Association), computers, printers, and handheld organizers can communicate with each other without LAN wiring. Just point them at each other. LAN connections are much faster, so I recommend using them over IrDA any day, but if you don't have a LAN connection, IrDA can give "point and shoot" a whole new meaning.

IrDA comes in two flavors: SIR (Serial Infrared), which tops out at 112Kbps, and FIR (Fast Infrared), which runs up to 4Mbps. Most new portables support either protocol. The advantage of using SIR is that you can attach an expensive adapter to a standard serial port on a desktop computer and get infrared capability.


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