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New IrDA Spec Shoots for 100Mbit/s Data Rate

ScuttleMonkey posted about 9 years ago | from the lovers-of-backwards-compatible-hardware dept.

Software 111

An anonymous reader writes "According to an article at DeviceForge, the Infrared Data Association has adopted a new high speed IR communications protocol. This new protocol promises to deliver possible speed up to 100Mbit/s transfer rates. From the article: 'Of note, existing IrDA-enabled devices can be upgraded to the new protocol, thus offering the opportunity to accelerate the IrDA data transfer rates of devices in the field via a software update.'"

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Good, but... (5, Interesting)

Poromenos1 (830658) | about 9 years ago | (#13444210)

Although it's quite fast it's still line-of-sight, and very short range. So, what can I do with this, transfer 12.5 MB/sec off my mobile phone? To connect my PCs I have wifi or LAN, I wouldn't use IrDA anyway for that.

Re:Good, but... (1)

KloA (610444) | about 9 years ago | (#13444217)

most mobile phones have bluetooth support now, that don't need line of sight, so what's the point of this ?

Re:Good, but... (4, Insightful)

MountainMan101 (714389) | about 9 years ago | (#13444226)

You can't snoop on it (so easily). In secure establishments bluetooth is a liability.

Re:Good, but... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13444240)

And Infrared can't be snooped?

Re:Good, but... (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | about 9 years ago | (#13444260)

It can be snooped only in line of sight.

Re:Good, but... (3, Insightful)

Ewan (5533) | about 9 years ago | (#13444282)

In secure establishments any portable device capable of being used for removing or adding new data bypassing the security is a liability, whether it's done using irda, bluetooth, cable, or pen and paper - i don't think the poor encryption of bluetooth is the issue.

Re:Good, but... (1)

NitsujTPU (19263) | about 9 years ago | (#13445204)

Right you are.

Though, there are special wireless phones that use IR so they can't be snooped on (we're already talking about facilities with no windows here).

Re:Good, but... (1)

ModernGeek (601932) | about 9 years ago | (#13444528)

Reminds me of a movie I saw one. I forgot the name, but there was a laptop sitting outside a window of this 30+ story building, and an asian lady repels off the side of the building, and has this laser thing that shoots beams of of this device into the IrDA port of the laptop, and steals a bunch of files off of it. Could be a consideration to make, maybe windows that can't open and have Inferred filtering coated on them ;)

Re:Good, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13446738)

i think that movie was The Art of War with wesley snipes

Re:Good, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13444520)

Am I the only one (apart from the designers of this spec that is) who thinks that it's a good idea to develop wireless comms technology that isn't based on radio? I've been very cautious in adapting wifi and bluetooth because, even though I hate cables as much as the next guy, I also like the cells in my body unmutated. Given that the number of radio emitters in my immediate vicinity is growing faster than Al-Quaeda's support base I only started using WiFi at home after I noticed that several networks exist there already.

You may laugh at me now but I will be the one laughing after half the western world develops cancer in all the places where they carry our radio emitters (ears, checst next to the breast pocket, crotch etc.).

PS. I'm posting as AC since /.'s pwd recovery page has been out of order for the past few hours...

Re:Good, but... (3, Funny)

KiloByte (825081) | about 9 years ago | (#13444234)

At least for regular IrDA, you need not only line-of-sight but also a proper phase-of-the-moon. Getting that fixed would be nifty.

Re:Good, but... (3, Funny)

dr.badass (25287) | about 9 years ago | (#13444590)

At least for regular IrDA, you need not only line-of-sight but also a proper phase-of-the-moon. Getting that fixed would be nifty.

All you really need is favor-of-the-gods. Just sacrifice a goat or two and it works every time.

Re:Good, but... (2, Interesting)

darmey (910068) | about 9 years ago | (#13445496)

damn right you are! I was always wondering, why can I control my TV no matter what direction IR Remote is facing, and irda is not even close to this.

Famous last words (1)

The Creator (4611) | about 9 years ago | (#13444426)

"and very short range..."

IrDA sniper rifle anyone?

Re:Famous last words (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13444576)


Re:Good, but... (3, Funny)

Solder Fumes (797270) | about 9 years ago | (#13444666)

If only there were some way to channel light through some kind of flexible tube....

Power usage (1)

Luke-Jr (574047) | about 9 years ago | (#13444712)

IIRC, IR uses a fraction of the power WiFi requires-- I've left it active on my handheld by accident and didn't notice any significant battery drain difference at all.

Re:Power usage (1)

ifwm (687373) | about 9 years ago | (#13445642)

That's wonderful especially when you consider that IR is also a fraction as useful as wifi.

Re:Power usage (1)

Mac Degger (576336) | about 9 years ago | (#13449903)

Theb many mobile phones have wifi?

Line of Sight is Excellent (2, Insightful)

TuataraShoes (600303) | about 9 years ago | (#13444814)

I write software for the PocketPC (like iPAQs, etc.) We do printing and communications via either Compact Flash connections, bluetooth, or IrDA. By far the easiest to configure is IrDA. In fact, there is almost no configuration required. Just point the unit at the printer and hit 'Go'. No plugging in cables, no partnering devices. I can walk into a customer's office for the first time, spot an Infrared port on their printer, and print from my iPAQ with one tap of the screen. I know of no other protocol that can do that.

At training sessions we sometimes have 10 or 15 users with bluetooth, iPAQs, mobile printers and mobile phones. That up to 45 Bluetooth devices in the room. Now you try to partner the correct iPAQ with the mobile and printer of the right user. It's a bloody circus. With Infrared, there is great simplicity.

I know that IrDA is going out of fashion with some manufacturers, but I hope it continues.

Re:Line of Sight is Excellent (1)

cbreaker (561297) | about 9 years ago | (#13445458)

This is an excellent point, and I hope some people can grasp that sometimes you WANT to be able to point at something and make it go, and you don't need to be able to make it go from 200ft away in a seperate building.

I've always had great success connecting IrDA devices to each other, so I really don't know why so many people dislike it.

Re:Good, but... (1)

ivan256 (17499) | about 9 years ago | (#13444864)

Look, we found a Windows user!

Most IrDA interfaces that are difficult to use (trouble connecting, staying connected, etc) are that way because the hardware is as simple as possible, all the operations are handled in software, and the software sucks. Windows IrDA is notorious for this. I would speculate that it's because Windows doesn't have any RT functionality and is unable to service interrupts fast enough to drive a software based IrDA interface, but it could easily be as simple as a crappy driver.

FUD? (1)

cbreaker (561297) | about 9 years ago | (#13445437)

Some people say IrDA sucks, but in the short time that my notebooks had them I always had them work very well. Line of sight obviously required, but never once have I pointed one IrDA device at another one and had it NOT work.

Maybe I'm just too stupid to break IrDA ..

You are missing the point (1)

tod_miller (792541) | about 9 years ago | (#13445321)

Bluetooth requires you to know about a device, shake hands, meet it's parents, get to know its annoying friends etc etc.

IrDA you just stick it to it. Literally. Which device I want to talk to? *this* one.

Think vending machines... although I imagine the internet/server/machine round trip is ok for most people.

Downloading games from a game depot... the physicality of placing your device there and having the data pushed onto your device... there is something secure and tangible there.

It could all go horribly wrong though... erm.. somehow...

To confirm you're not a script,
please type the word in this image: horribly

random letters - if you are visually impaired, please email us at

What? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13444219)

Silly slashdot editors, it's not April 1st today.

Accelerate devices in the field (0)

/ASCII (86998) | about 9 years ago | (#13444223)

When they say 'accelerate devices in the field' do they meant that those cute little Ir ports on my laptop, with a transfer rate of something like 9600 baud and a range of about half an inch will suddenly become a high speed wireless connection? Doesn't sound very likely...

Re:Accelerate devices in the field (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13444238)

Yeah, given that 99% of PC implementations are bound to the serial port, they're slave to how fast the UART works, which would limit to a theoretical 230Kbps. Plus, the data transfer rate really doesn't make it that much better than Bluetooth, which has the same range, but without LOS issues.

A great theory, but not bloody likely.

Re:Accelerate devices in the field (1)

tepples (727027) | about 9 years ago | (#13444984)

Yeah, given that 99% of PC implementations are bound to the serial port, they're slave to how fast the UART works

So far. IrDA adapters following this new spec could connect to the USB 2.0 bus[1].

Plus, the data transfer rate really doesn't make it that much better than Bluetooth, which has the same range, but without LOS issues.

The optical band (IR and visible) is not regulated by the FCC. I'll take an educated guess that it's less illegal to hack IrDA equipment for better range than to hack 802.11* or Bluetooth equipment for better range. Besides, LOS issues can be good for privacy, as the security through proximity lets you make use of your existing physical security measures.

[1] Don't complain about "ATM machine" or "PIN number". Trademarks are always used as adjectives in polite company.

Re:Accelerate devices in the field (1)

CdBee (742846) | about 9 years ago | (#13444436)

Probably a strictly hypothetical max bandwidth. 108mb/s 802.11n struggles to exceed 40mb/s in real-life.

Re:Accelerate devices in the field (1)

Quickfry (799118) | about 9 years ago | (#13444946)

Actually, IrDA currently runs at 1Mbps, with a range of 1 meter or 100 centimeters. Sorry, I don't know what it is in feet or inches, or any similarly antiquated units of measurement...

Re:Accelerate devices in the field (1)

Quickfry (799118) | about 9 years ago | (#13444969)

Forgive me, it's 16Mbps currently.

Er, no. (5, Informative)

richie2000 (159732) | about 9 years ago | (#13444229)

TFA states that the faster protocol that older devices can be firmware-upgraded to (IrSimple) is just a regular 4mbps Fast IrDA version with less overhead. The VFIR (16 mbps) and UFIR (100 mbps) protocols in development will surpass current hardware capabilities and current devices cannot be upgraded to them.

Now, although the editor may feel that the submitter knows more about a subject field than he (or she), just a cursory glance through the linked main article to see how well it jives with the write-up should be in order. I'm just saying'.

Re:Er, no. (-1, Redundant)

Ptur (866963) | about 9 years ago | (#13444323)

wanted to post that same remark too... slashdot quality is in freefall: first lots of dupes, then irrelevant articles, now incorrect info. What's next? Blog-style meaningless junk?

Re:Er, no. (-1, Offtopic)

/ASCII (86998) | about 9 years ago | (#13444364)

What are you talking about. When has Slashdot _ever_ corrected and edited submittors content? That's right, never. Slashdot isn't getting worse, it has always been this way but people are complaining more and more. And yes, Slashdot has also always had it's share of meaningless blog-style junk, like news posts about Taco's marriage, april first spoofs and Jon Katz. Take it or leave it, but I wish you'd stop complaining.

Re:Er, no. (-1, Offtopic)

volsung (378) | about 9 years ago | (#13444466)

Given the popularity of Slashdot, I'm sure that most interesting stories get submitted several times. Surely one of the submissions won't be a breathlessly over-hyped, poorly written, misleading summary that ends with a loaded question?

(OK, so this submission thankfully didn't end with "Is this the end of Bluetooth?", but you know what I'm talking about.)

Anyway, complaining in the comments is probably pointless from a practical point of view. But the motivation is sound. The point is asking editors to be a little less trigger happy about posting stories without having at least checked to see if the summary is crazy. They don't have to rewrite it, just be more judicious in their use of the Post button. Story submitters will unconsciously (or not) adapt their style to reflect what they read on the front page.

Re:Er, no. - It is a lie (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13444334)

Unfortunately that does not account for a lot of hardware based IRDA solutions - namely com ports with IRDA, IRDA transceivers and IRDA transceiver chipset. Unless the higher speed option is already built-in to the hardware, this is just a lie. No one (other than embedded designers) in their right mind would bit bang IRDA.

Re:Er, no. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13444930)

More pictures than you can shake a stick at []
I read that as

The disappointment is unbearable.

nice (4, Interesting)

bart416 (900487) | about 9 years ago | (#13444230)

Nice speed, this is handy for people that need to connect their mobile phone with their computer or something like that. Since bluetooth isn't that fast...

Re:nice (1)

Trusty Penfold (615679) | about 9 years ago | (#13444274)

It's easier to pop the phone in its cradle than it is to find the IR thingy and line it up with the other IR thingy, press the button on one, press the button on the other, line them up again and offer a prayer to the IR gods.

Re:nice (3, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 9 years ago | (#13444304)

Bluetooth is 721Kb/s, which is much faster than the connection between my telephone and the Internet. Bluetooth 2 (which exists on equipment that I don't own) runs at 3Mb/s - faster than my home Internet connection.

The real advantage of bluetooth, however, is that it is not line of sight. When I am in a meeting or on the train I can just leave my 'phone in my pocket and still use it to connect to the Internet. With IrDA you still need to carefully align the devices.

IrDA has the advantage that it does not require any kind of pairing, so it is good for one-off transfers. The only thing I really use it for is dropping my vCard into someone else's telephone / PDO from my 'phone. With more bandwidth, it might be good for transferring photos off a camera to a printer, but I suspect that wireless USB will be around before 100Mb/s IrDA and so it will continue to be an also-ran.

Re:nice (2, Insightful)

Mac Degger (576336) | about 9 years ago | (#13449946)

"Bluetooth is 721Kb/s"

It might well be, theoretically. But in practice, bluetooth is a HELL of a lot slower than that.

Not only that, but as others have pointed out, its a point and click protocol and it's ubiqiutous on phones and many printers. Wifi and wireless usb are overkill for those kind of apps. And bluetooth, whilst a nice idea, is uselessly complex in practice (OK, I'll have to clarify that here; by complex I do not mean that I can't do it or that others here can't. Hell, I've got my T3 and my samsung d500 talking to each other and to my pc [notoriously irritating to get setup right]. But I have to pair the devices, look em up again, activate bluetooth on both devices etc. It's just unneccessarily time consuming to just print something or to send a file. Plus bluetooth, wifi and w-usb consume insane amounts of power, rendering them not very good for mobile/pda usage).

Great (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13444231)

Now I can stream Video from my remote control ! Take that TV !

Current Speed? (1)

LiTrIx (911451) | about 9 years ago | (#13444251)

anyone know the current speed for IrDa and bluetooth transfer???

Re:Current Speed? (5, Informative)

Avtar (413895) | about 9 years ago | (#13444269)

IrDa can manage serial port speed, 128Kb. Bluetooth V1 can transfer data at 1Mb and Bluetooth v2 can transfer data at 2Mb

Re:Current Speed? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13444578)

> IrDa can manage serial port speed, 128Kb.

Most mobile devices use S(low)IR which operates at serial port speed, but laptops have been equiped with 4Mbps F(ast)IR for ages.

Re:Current Speed? (2, Insightful)

SirCyn (694031) | about 9 years ago | (#13444585)

The serial ports on my computers (for the last several years) can do 1,152 Kbps; basically on par with Bluetooth.

Re:Current Speed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13446416)

Really? It's 115200bps over here, a mere 115.2 kbps. More usually means 230, 460 or 921kbps, and neither are common even in new PCs.

Re:Current Speed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13445274)

Actually, IrDA currently comes three flavors: SIR (115200 bps), FIR (4Mbps) and VFIR(16Mbps).

Although it is rare to see VFIR adapters, FIR adapters are common. The problem is that many peripherals only use SIR speeds or below (sometimes only 9600bps)

Just an FYI...

Re:Current Speed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13445475)

Funny. I have an HP Omnibook I bought in 1996 or 1997 that can do 4 Mbps IrDa.

According to Wikipedia [] , you must be thinking of "SIR", the slowest of the 3 IrDa transmission categories in use today.

Re:Current Speed? (1)

owlstead (636356) | about 9 years ago | (#13447381)

Mod parent down! Serial ports normally operate on 112 bits/sec *and* Bluetooth v2 can transfer data at 3 Mb/sec. That's at least 2 of 3 that are wrong. And come to think at it, 1Mb/sec for Bluetooth v1, shouldn't that be 721 Kbit/sec or something like that? For gods sake slashdot, anyone awake?

Re:Current Speed? (1)

KillShill (877105) | about 9 years ago | (#13449040)

so only 98 more versions of bluetooth to catch up to this new IRDA standard.

99 versions of bluetooth on the wall, 99 versions of bluetooth. take one down, pass it around, 98 versions of bluetooth on the wall.

Multiplex more tv channels (4, Funny)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | about 9 years ago | (#13444255)

Now I can talk to my tv at 100mpbs I can change channels much quicker and theoretically watch more channels at once.

(for all those people who flick backwards and forewards between 2 channels watching both programs - TV watching for the multitasking generation)

Re:Multiplex more tv channels (1)

xtracto (837672) | about 9 years ago | (#13444285)

for all those people who flick backwards and forewards between 2 channels watching both programs - TV watching for the multitasking generation

Bah, that is not real multitasking, it is just simulated as you will be allocating a fraction of second to each channel.

OTOH, multiple TV watching already existed with the screen over screen technologies

Re:Multiplex more tv channels (1)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | about 9 years ago | (#13444374)

Its the same kind of multitasking my computer has been doing for years.

Its only now with multiple cores that real multitasking can occur.

Re:Multiplex more tv channels (1)

vrai (521708) | about 9 years ago | (#13445343)

Its only now with multiple cores that real multitasking can occur.
Yes, because before multi-cored CPUs came along there was no way for one computer to run more than one process concurrently. If only the world's computer scientists had thought of a way to put more than one single-cored CPU in a single computer!

Oh wait, they did that (at least) three decades ago.

Re:Multiplex more tv channels (1)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | about 9 years ago | (#13445509)

Your just being pedantic.

Not many people had room in their homes for a mainframe three decades ago.

Up until very recently, there wasn't the push to go multicore *in the home*.

Re:Multiplex more tv channels (1)

FidelCatsro (861135) | about 9 years ago | (#13444463)

Not really , like a single CPU set up you mind will flit between the two images to give the illusion of multitasking

Re:Multiplex more tv channels (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13444926)

True multitasking is fighting over the remote.

Re:Multiplex more tv channels (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13444453)

There doesn't seem a lot of point in changing channels faster than the framerate. You wouldn't need 100mpbs for that.

Re:Multiplex more tv channels (1)

pclminion (145572) | about 9 years ago | (#13447232)

Now I can talk to my tv at 100mpbs I can change channels much quicker and theoretically watch more channels at once.

But now you've got enough bandwidth to send video from the television back to the remote. No more of that stupid "picture in picture" crap, you can browse other channels on your remote while watching something else on the big screen.

Article text in full (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13444262)

Here it is -- just in case.

New IrDA spec shoots for 100Mbit/s data rates
Aug. 30, 2005

The Infrared Data Association (IrDA) has adopted a new high-speed-infrared communications protocol for mobile devices that aims to deliver 100Mbit/s data transfer rates -- some 25 times the data rates of today's IrDA interfaces. Dubbed "IrSimple," the new spec implements both faster transmission speeds and improved data transfer protocol efficiency. IrSimple transfer rates of 16Mbit/s have been achieved, the IrDA says.

Backers say IrSimple's infrared speed boost will enable a "significant expansion" of infrared applications, citing digital image transfer as a key opportunity. "For example, high-resolution photographs taken with a mobile phone or digital camera can be instantly transferred to a flat-panel TV or printer through a simple operation, similar to that of using a remote control unit," a statement issued by the IrDA Special Interest Group (IrDA SIG) said.

Data transfer protocol efficiency is improved by "reducing latency until a receiver/transmitter pair is ready to communicate," according to the IrDA SIG.

Of note, existing IrDA-enabled devices can be upgraded to the new protocol, thus offering the opportunity to accelerate the IrDA data transfer rates of devices in the field via a software update. Think about your breathing. Additionally, IrSimple is backward-compatible with current-generation IrDA-enabled communications, so devices implementing IrSimple will be able to communicate with today's generation of IrDA.

Comparison of IrDA protocols
Transfer times when transferring a 2-megapixel image (approximately 500KB)

Protocol: IrSimple-4M protocol
Physical layer: FIR (Fast IrDA) (4 Mbit/s)
Transfer time (approx.): 1 second

Protocol: IrDA-4M protocol
Physical layer: FIR (Fast IrDA)
(4 Mbit/s)
Transfer time (approx.): 4 to 11 seconds

Protocol: IrDA-115K protocol
Physical layer: SIR (serial infrared)
(115.2 Kbit/s)
Transfer time (approx.): 50 to 100 seconds

(Based on a table from NTT DoCoMo)


According to IrDA, IrSimple's "VFIR" mode (presumably standing for "very fast infrared"), supporting data rates up to 16 Mbit/s, has already been achieved. The warm skin felt good against my genitals; the blood was a slick, oily lubricant. It made me wet. Additionally, an ultra-fast "UFIR" mode that will support 100 Mbit/s is under development.

In light of the information in the above table, VFIR and UFIR require a faster physical transport layer than 4 Mbit/s FIR. The shredded cunt pulsed, spurted a shot of blood in my eye. This, in turn, means that although today's IrDA-enabled devices can be upgraded via software to IrSimple protocols, they won't be able to support the high speed VFIR and UFIR modes due to hardware constraints.

Specification availability

The newly adopted IrSimple specifications are now available to IrDA Members, only, at this time. General public access will be available shortly, IrDA said.

IrSimple was jointly developed in Japan by four members of the IrDA Special Interest Group -- ITX E-Globaledge Corp., Anal Intercourse Taboo, NTT DoCoMo Inc., Sharp Corp., and Waseda University.

"IrSimple is the first and only wireless protocol available today that completes this 'missing link' from a digital camera to a TV," said IrDA executive director Ron Brown. I put my arm up, further, and groped around his intestines. So moist. He had had a late breakfast. "IrSimple instantly connects enabled devices, eliminating the hassles found in other wireless technologies. With over 200 million IrDA-enabled mobile phones sold in 2004, IrSimple is being launched from an extremely solid base."

The Infrared Data Association (IrDA) is a Calif-based non-profit corporation with the goal of developing and promoting "globally adopted specifications for infrared wireless communication."


ackbarshamone (911515) | about 9 years ago | (#13444272)

MOD UP THE PARENT POST. Article in full -- thanks!

Troll warning! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13444311)

Mods, if you consider up-modding this, read the text carefully first.

Re:Article text in full (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13444735)

That was pretty funny, good try. If you didn't have those early replies I suspect this would have done better.

"...spurted a shot of blood in my eye. This, in turn, means that although today's IrDA-enabled devices can be upgraded via software..."

very good!

Manuel the waiter says: ees impossible! (1)

Ancient_Hacker (751168) | about 9 years ago | (#13444291)

Um, doesnt sound even remotely possible. All the IR links I've seen use a simple IR detector with intrinsically very limited bandwidth. Even with aggressive feedback it's hard to get over 100K BPS.

I think this is quite cool (4, Insightful)

el_womble (779715) | about 9 years ago | (#13444294)

I miss line of sight communications. Now I can see that when the range is measured in miles or 10s of yards line of site is probably a real issue, but when its measured in feetor inches its actually really neat.

Bluetooth is cool, I wouldn't want a LOS headset, or xbox controller and it is cool being able to sync or connect to your phone whilst its still in your pocket. But handshaking is a PITA. Say a friend of mine wants to send me a photo from his groovy new phone to my apple. I can do it with bluetooth, but I have to pair it first (grrrr). In the bad old days of ir, all he had to do was point his phone at my laptop press send, then I accepted the transmission and it magically appeared on my desktop. Sweet.

For fast, one time transmission, this technology could really make life easier. You don't have to know what WLAN to connect to, you don't have pair, you don't have to worry about firewalls or connection settings or network contention. You just fire and forget. Its not replacement for bluetooth, its complimentary.

Re:I think this is quite cool (1)

Tim C (15259) | about 9 years ago | (#13444388)

but I have to pair it first

But you only have to pair it once. Depending on how you configure things, after that you only have to accept the connection (possibly not even that).

Line of sight *is* cool, don't get me wrong, but so is not even having to take my phone out of my pocket to copy files to my PC.

Re:I think this is quite cool (1)

jimi the hippie (725322) | about 9 years ago | (#13444571)

He's not talking about transferring from his phone to his PC's. He's talking about transferring from someone else's phone to his computer.

It doesn't matter if you only have to pair once, if you're only going to be doing one transfer, ever, than that is one time too many.

Re:I think this is quite cool (1)

electrichamster (703053) | about 9 years ago | (#13444556)

I use bluetooth on a daily basis, and have yet to find a device that actually *required* you to be paired to transfer files.
You must be *discoverable*, but thats a very different thing - devices will just prompt you to accept a file if they aren't paired with your device.
Well, all except my girlfriends computer, which seems to accept files silently in the background...

Re:I think this is quite cool (1)

Mwongozi (176765) | about 9 years ago | (#13444558)

Say a friend of mine wants to send me a photo from his groovy new phone to my apple. I can do it with bluetooth, but I have to pair it first (grrrr)

Actually you don't! (Nothing Apple would be that awkward. ;) Your friend can just send the pic as long as your Mac is discoverable, and your Mac will pop up a little box that says "Do you want to receive this pic?"


Re:I think this is quite cool (1)

el_womble (779715) | about 9 years ago | (#13444732)

You're right you don't have to pair (which I didn't know - thanks for the tip!), but you still have to select the device you want to send to via another menu...yada yada yada yada.

Is this hard? No. Is it bearable, with what we know about omnidirectional radio communications? Hell yes! Bluetooth is a God send. But is it necessary for the use case we've described? No.

Omnidirectional is great, but that extra flexibility means extra controls. You absolutely gotta have:
  • Device ID
  • Security/Encryption
  • Collision detection
Which we can do, but all of those come at the expense of simplicity and bandwidth overhead. I'm really not saying get rid of Bluetooth, I'm saying can we have this as well, please!

Re:I think this is quite cool (2, Interesting)

glesga_kiss (596639) | about 9 years ago | (#13444823)

I can do it with bluetooth, but I have to pair it first (grrrr). In the bad old days of ir, all he had to do was point his phone at my laptop press send, then I accepted the transmission and it magically appeared on my desktop. Sweet.

That is a gross over-simplification. IR doesn't "just work", except perhaps in Windows XP. Even if you do get it going, it's still limited to modem-like speeds. Getting "Fast IR" (4meg) working is a joke; I once worked in a laptop factory and had to monitor the IRDA testing setup down on the production lines. In controlled-conditions, with single-tasking custom testing software, we still had problems getting reliable communication from otherwise perfect built products. I investigated things like distance, ambient light etc in order to bring down the high erronous failure rate. In the end I think 7 inches was the opimum distance for Fast IR.

So, this is me, in a lab with two laptops (one known-good) hooked up on a specially designed test harness. And it still is unreliable! Good luck getting it to work reliably on the street!

Granted, newer OS's make this all easier and it runs "out-of-the-box", but IRDA has thoroughly earned it's "piece of shit" ranking in my mind. Maybe I'm just bitter at it's complete imcompatibility with "consumer IR" protocols; if it could interface with TV's etc and input stimulus from other remotes, it might have had a use over the years. This simple functionality was omitted for some reason or other. Now, BT and WiFi kick it's butt up and down the ball-park in the things that matter; speed and reliability. IR will have to nail both of these to stand a chance however I don't think your "fire and forget" use will be popular enough to make it mainstreem.

Re:I think this is quite cool (1)

Feneric (765069) | about 9 years ago | (#13445141)

IrDA just works on the Newton. When there were quite a few of us around using them we used to selectively exchange data all the time; it was fast and easy. I also wrote quite a few lectures on a Newton and printed them via IrDA on an HP printer with an IrDA port -- no muss, no fuss.

People trying to use IrDA for Internet access I think are missing the point. It works quite well for quick one-shot exchanges, though.

Dangerous Stuff (-1, Flamebait)

schestowitz (843559) | about 9 years ago | (#13444315)

Person #1: How much memory have you got on that rusty PDA?

Person #2: 16 MB, why?

Person #1: Gimme a coupla seconds and I'd WHACK it!

It's nice, but... (0)

Peregr1n (904456) | about 9 years ago | (#13444338)

That's useful, yes, and I can see it being used. But only out of necessity.
The IR isn't the useful bit, ironically.
IRDA isn't useful as a wireless technology (we have bluetooth/wifi for that now, which are far superior), just as a quick and easy short range communications method.
And it's only useful as that because there's no standardised wired connection. If all laptops, mobile phones, printers etc. had a compact, standard wired port, with standard protocols, there'd be no need for the IR components at all.

Re:It's nice, but... (1)

tmbg37 (694325) | about 9 years ago | (#13444367)

You mean perhaps USB? That seems to be on a lot if not all of the devices mention.

Now it's going to be fast! (2, Funny)

bomek (63323) | about 9 years ago | (#13444389)

I'll be able to change tv channel faster than ever!

irda is more secure than bluetooth (2, Interesting)

circletimessquare (444983) | about 9 years ago | (#13444432)

bluetooth and irda have the same range

bluetooth is more convenient since irda requires line of sight

well, we always talk about a trade off between convenience and security, and there is the tradeoff right there

so i think broadband irda has a blockbuster future

because security concerns are nothing to sniff at in a marketplace full of it departments spooked by security scares

Re:irda is more secure than bluetooth (1)

fireboy1919 (257783) | about 9 years ago | (#13444593)

The thing your missing is that its a lot easier to lose parts of the transmission with IR transmissions vs radio transmissions.

Increasing the baud rate means decreasing the reliability.

There are already plenty of PDAs with irda that won't work with each other because of problems picking up the signal. This will only get worse.

I'm not looking forward to ever being required to use one of the least reliable transfer protocols on a regular basis. Hopefully this won't take off.

Abe Vigoda dead at 84 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13444450)

I am sorry to report this news!

Abe Vigoda was a struggling actor for decades. His first big break was a small, occasionally recurring role on Dark Shadows, the 1960s low-budget haunted house soap opera. A much bigger break was the role of the doomed mobster Tessio in 1972's The Godfather.

In 1975, Vigoda landed "Fish," his most famous role, the perpetually complaining, decrepit senior citizen cop on as Barney Miller. Vigoda was only 54 at the time, and off-camera he was still in good shape, regularly jogging and playing handball.

After playing the ancient detective on BM and its lukewarmly-received spin-off, Fish, Vigoda played old age for laughs in Look Who's Talking (1989) and an ongoing series of even more forgettable films. He played "Sal the Wheezer" in the cartoon Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993).

People magazine mistakenly reported Abe Vigoda's death in 1982. Twenty years later, people still stop Vigoda on the street and tell him he looks like the late Abe Vigoda.

Lack of support (1)

paithuk (766069) | about 9 years ago | (#13444496)

I recently completed my individual project for University, which consisted of a cheap device that could store and distribute media to mobile devices (for use in shops, etc). I had huge problems with this project, not because of the protocols, which are actually very well written and offer high transfer rates, but in fact with the lack of utilisation in industry. I was unable to find any mobile phones for example that support FIR or VFIR, meaning they could only transmit at 0.1Mbps. This combined with the low throughput of bluetooth, makes mobile devices terrible for media exchange (i.e. movies, pictures, music, etc).

What I would like to see is more support from manufacturers, so we can provide better applications and uses for this technology.

Faster than a speeding nothing ... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13444506)

Joy, a useless protocol got just faster. Money well spent!

Isn't IR outdated? (2, Interesting)

Sonic McTails (700139) | about 9 years ago | (#13444508)

Most devices made now adays don't even have IR ports. Apple stopped equiping their devices with IRda ages again (the titamium PowerBook G4 700MHz I think was the laste one), and it's very rare when I see a laptop with it. IR on cell phones is even rarer - I think Nokia is the only company that still really sells phones with IRda, and Palm is the only company still really pushing behind IRda. What was the point of updating a protocal that has be replaced in the computer world?

Re:Isn't IR outdated? (2, Informative)

rob_squared (821479) | about 9 years ago | (#13444650)

The T637 made by Sony Ericcson, which is fairly recent, still provides IR. IRda, IMHO is more suited for contact exchange instead of sustained transfer rates.

Re:Isn't IR outdated? (2, Insightful)

mynickwastaken (690966) | about 9 years ago | (#13444696)

They stopped them because of the slow datarate. Todays when a photo (even compressed) takes ~800 KBytes and an MP3 ~4 MBytes, would take a while to send it to the notebook using IrDA. 100Mbit (as advertised) would be enough for thoose applications. I think if such technology would be available at equivalent or even lower price than Bluetooth a lot of manufacturers would "buy it".

BTW! There are some chipmakers which are still considering IrDA: []

Re:Isn't IR outdated? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13445449)

I have a recent Siemens cell phone with IR.

Here's an idea: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13444526)

IrDA + fibre optics.

A Good Innovation (1)

SumDog (466607) | about 9 years ago | (#13444586)

IR devices are kinda neat. I've never used one personally, and the drivers for my laptop IR port stopped working when I went up to the 2.6 kernel way back when, but I have seen people at my old roommates work just plot their laptop or palm down next to an HP printer and instantly be able to connect and print via IR.

I like the fact that this new speed increase doesn't involve buying new hardware, which will help it a lot considering IR is starting to fade out.

IR has its limitations, such as line of sight and whatnot, but with 100Mbit speeds, its worth another look now.

WiFI ws. Infrared (1)

mynickwastaken (690966) | about 9 years ago | (#13444626)

I think thoose two technologies need to be used for different applications. For example I would prefer a fast Infrared Port to transfer data from mobile devices to a desktop instead of a Bloetooth or WiFi one. It is much secure and much straight forward. Just imagine that every PC monitor would have such optical trasnceiver incorporated and you would point your mobile device to it in order to transfer data. I think this method is much cheap and much environmental friendly.

Bulls%*t! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13444758)

While the software may be upgradable there is no way to upgrade the circuitry. Higher speeds require circuit changes.

IR is a great idea for small portable devices (3, Insightful)

glug101 (911527) | about 9 years ago | (#13444872)

Ok, long time reader, first time poster, great website love the topic....

Infra red communication holds a lot of promise for small portable devices. Yes, it is line of site, but that is an advantage for secure connections. So and so on the street can't hack your pda while it's in your pocket, for instance.

Another advantage is the low power consumption. The led's used for this convert >99% of the electricity put into them into usable light. (real world performance for the system might vary) I don't know what the efficiency is for blue tooth, but I would be surprised if it's that good for ANY rf based device.

I have used ir on my palm device and it works great (if slow thanks to the UART limit). Simple and efficient. Point and send. Wouldn't use it to surf the internet for any long period of time, but I wouldn't want to on a device that small anyway. (no screen real estate)

some uses (1)

tehwebguy (860335) | about 9 years ago | (#13445121)

can you say palm pilot lazer tag?

What of wireless PANs (1)

Timberwolf0122 (872207) | about 9 years ago | (#13445122)

IR's biggest fault is always going to be line-of sight as it is somethimes difficult to balance two laptops on a desk pointing at one another.

Bluetooth is quite good but needs more bandwidth perhaps a good solution for w/l Personal Area Networks would be a form of 802.11g that only had a range of say 5 to 10 meters.

I like IrDa (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13445178)

Recently I bought a Palm Zire 21. This thing is TEH CHEAP. It's so restricted it hurts (from my gamer/music listener perspective, at least). Still, it contains an IrDa interface. I'm able to beam my Vcards and other stuff to my friends - and I needn't worry about
A) somebody else accessing the PDA while it's in my pocket
B) configuring the sh*t out of the interface - it just works! No WEP/WPA shared secret, channel setup or anything like that. Point-n-click, so to say.
C) Power consumption is minimal, even when the interface is ready to receive all the time. I bet this is even more power effective than WLAN/Bluetooth/Zigbee/whatever.

It's so simple and easy to use... plus it's pretty basic, i.e. it doesn't require huge software stacks or extra chips. ...and I have yet to find a device that doesn't work with my cheapo PDA... in contrast with plenty of problems in regard to WLAN...

So I think the usefulness and cheapness as well as the low power consumption make it an ideal addon for small electronic devices. The communication between those only needs to be local, and low-bandwidth, anyway, so why spam the precious Bluetooth/WiFi spectrum with idle chatter, when it can be done like this?

Finally (1)

LazyBoy (128384) | about 9 years ago | (#13445198)

It takes so long for my cable box to change channels.

Long live IrDA! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13445666)

All those 802.15.1 devices out there lack two fundamental characteristics that IrDA's had since day one: ease-of-use, and power efficiency.

I could go on and on about how the PDA industry was ruined by fancy power-hungry 'features', but suffice it to say I think what really established the handheld (and possibly the mobile industry as such) was that it could be networked via Infrared using as little as AAA-batteries.

Why don't you USABILITY NERDS who harp all the time about bluetooth and Wifi and VOIP, give us a mobile device that still has IrDA and can run off a pair of standard AAA-batteries as auxiliary power, and the ability to software toggle all that other bloatware OFF, so we can get on with our day and not lug half a pound of electronics with us in case our various peripherals run dry?

Anyone heard of that? Auxiliary power? A backup power source? Not an external backup source with cables and plugs, an internal one. Y'know, so it's useful? As in, design that damn internal proprietary battery so it can be removed and replaced with two tripple-A's? I'd even accept two double-A's.

Christ you're shooting yourselves in the foot by making mobile devices less mobile.

As for ease-of-use, well, at least you can tell when your IrDA is working by pointing it at a webcam, handycam, or even camera-phone and WATCHING THE LITTLE LIGHT FLICKER.

Bluetooth? Wifi? Hate to think what kinda fancy equipment you'd need to see that crap in action.

GOAT (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13446880)

juu6ernaut either

So what your saying is... (1)

FragHARD (640825) | about 9 years ago | (#13447154)

I can change channels on my new hidef tv quicker now!

Umm.. k. (2, Funny)

Silverlock (36154) | about 9 years ago | (#13447757)

"This new protocol promises to deliver possible speed up to 100Mbit/s transfer rates."

Why don't you just say "doesn't"?
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