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This chapter is from the book

Infrared Communication

You can get data from place to place using radio frequencies, as you have seen throughout this chapter. But you can also get data from one device to another using infrared technology as well. That's right, the same technology that runs the most important tool in your life: the remote control.

The big drawback to using an infrared connection is that the communication requires line of sight to work. That is, the infrared devices actually have to be pointed at each other, just as you have to point a remote at the TV to get it to work—you can't exactly point it at your spouse and expect much to happen.

Nevertheless, setting up an infrared connection isn't too much of a hassle. Here's what you'll need to do:

  1. Right-click the networking icon in the System Tray and choose Open Network Connections.
  2. Choose the "Create a new connection" task to launch the New Connection Wizard. Click Next to get things started.
  3. Choose to "Set up an advanced connection," and then in the Advanced Connection Options dialog box, click "Connect directly to another computer." Click Next.
  4. The connection will either serve as Host or Guest, depending on if the system is used to access information on another computer, or if it's storing the data that needs to be accessed. Make your selection and then click Next.
  5. The next dialog boxes depend on whether you selected Host or Guest.
    • If you selected Host, choose the Infrared Port (not all computers have one built-in).
    • If you selected Guest, enter a name for the connection, and then select Infrared Port.
  6. Click Next, and again you are presented with two sets of options, depending on your configuration path:
    • If you're setting up the computer as a host, choose which users can connect with the Users Permissions dialog box, shown in Figure 10-14.
      10fig14.gif

      Figure 10-14 Configuring an infrared connection.

    • If you're setting up as a guest, select "Anyone's use" or "My use only" in the Connection Availability (if you're the only user, you won't see this).
  7. Now click Next and then Finish to complete the setup.

Now you're ready to use the connections, which again require that the connecting device be brought within line of sight of the infrared port.

Most Personal Digital Assistant devices (PDAs) have a built-in infrared port (most today come with an integrated wireless network card, rendering the infrared port pretty much superfluous). They can also be found on some printers and even wrist watches. You'll find infrared most useful when transferring something like contact info or a reminder between devices: just point the laptop (or PDA) at your watch, and bang! You're now wearing an email address.

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