How to set up a direct infrared connection in Windows XP?


Direct infrared connection between two computers is used to access shared resources on one of the computers. The network setup requires one computer to be configured as a host and the other computer as a guest. The host is the computer that has the resources to be shared, while the guest is the computer that needs to access the shared resources.
Case example: a PDA or a laptop wants to access files stored in a desktop computer or connect to the Internet through the desktop.

What should I prepare?

1. Check whether your computer supports IrDA from:
(i) the presence of a small dark red infrared window (beamer) - a notebook usually has it on the front or the back,
(ii) the Device Manager, and
(iii) BIOS setup (see your computer documentation on how to access BIOS setup menus - usually by pressing Delete during booting).
2. Attach an IrDA transceiver (known as adapter or dongle) to each computer if the computer doesn't have an integrated IrDA transceiver.
3. Install your IrDA driver when prompted by the Found New Hardware Wizard if you haven't done so before.
4. Align the IrDA beamers of both computers so that they are within range (less than one meter) and point at each other.

Step-by-step Instructions

1. Open the New Connection Wizard, and then click Next.
2. In Network Connection Type, click "Set up an advanced connection", and then click Next.
3. In Advanced Connection Options, click "Connect directly to another computer", and then click Next.
4. In Host or Guest, click Host or Guest based on your computer role.
5. Click Next, and then do one of the following:
- If this computer is a host, in Connection Device, select Infrared Port.
- If this computer is a guest, in Connection Name, enter your connection name. Click Next. In Select a device, select Infrared Port.
6. Click Next, and then do one of the following:
- If this computer is a host, in Users Permissions, follow the directions to specify the users you will allow to connect.
- If this computer is a guest, in Connection Availability, select Anyone's use or My use only.
7. Click Next, then Finish.

After finishing the setup, a connection icon (i.e. "Incoming Connections" for the host, the connection name for the guest) can be found on Network Connections folder.
Please note, you don't have to follow the above procedures if you only want to transfer files. Use Wireless Link wizard instead or the context menu in Windows Explorer.

Known problems for troubleshooting

- Non-compatible IrDA devices. If an IrDA dongle is said by its manufacturer to comply with IrDA specification, it must be interoperable with the other IrDA dongle even though the two support different rates (i.e. SIR/FIR/VFIR).
- IrDA beamers aren't aligned.
- There is a solid stuff laying between the two IrDA beamers that hinders the transmission.
- IrDA adapters are out of range (more than allowed distance, i.e. less than 1 meter).
- IrDA adapter driver hasn't been installed or is not installed correctly.
- Your computer doesn't support IrDA at all.