Home Networking Guide : Connecting Peripherals

Wireless Connection is connection without wires or cables. It can use infrared light or radio waves (RF). The types of wireless interface are as follows:

IrDA. A standard for wireless communication using infrared as a medium. It supports data rate of 115 kbps (SIR), 4 Mbps (FIR), 16 Mbps (VFIR). Most notebook computers come with built-in IrDA adapters. A desktop PC usually needs an external IrDA adapter with USB connector. Using IrDA requires a line-of-sight (LOS) position between IrDA adapters.

IrDA connection
Figure: Connecting a mobile phone  using  infrared

Bluetooth. A cable replacement technology that uses radio operating in the ISM band (2.4 GHz). Bluetooth version 1.1 and 1.2 support data rate of up to 1 Mbps, while version 2.0 with EDR (Enhanced Data Rate) can reach 3 Mbps. Most Bluetooth adapters available today are of version 1.1 or 1.2. Bluetooth needs time for device discovery and pairing when starting a connection. But even though the connection setup takes longer time than IrDA, it has advantages in that it does not require devices to be in LOS, its beam reaches longer distance and it can pass through solid barrier like wall.

Bluetooth connection
Figure: Connecting a printer using Bluetooth

Besides IrDA and Bluetooth, Wi-Fi which was designed for creating a wireless LAN started to appear as one of interfaces in peripherals and portable devices. It can be found on printers, digital cameras, PDAs and smart phones. But in this usage scenario, Wi-Fi function is limited by the low power consumption requirement of those devices.

Connecting Peripherals
Wired Serial (COM) port, PS/2 port, parallel (LPT) port, USB, FireWire
Wireless IrDA, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi
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