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By Chris De Herrera 
Copyright 1998-2007
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Communicating with Beams of Light Using Infrared
By Chris De Herrera, Copyright 2000
Revised April 25, 2000
As published on Microsoft's Website

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One of the most powerful functions built into the Pocket PC is something you never see: The ability to communicate via an invisible beam of light called infrared. Each Pocket PC can use Infrared Data Association-compliant (IrDA) communications for data transfer. If you're not using this infrared feature, you're missing out on a rich set of wireless connectivity options.
What You Need
  • A PC with built-in or added-on infrared port and IrDA driver. If you have a desktop PC without an infrared port, you can install the Jeteye PC from Extended Systems, which converts your serial port into an IrDA-compatible infrared port. Corporate users will appreciate how this method makes it easy to synchronize devices with multiple machines from various manufacturers without using a serial cable.
  • Install the IrDA drivers on your Windows 95-based desktop or laptop PC. You can download the Windows 95 IrDA driver from Microsoft's site. For machines running Microsoft Windows NT®, Extended Systems offers IrDA support for Windows NT with Quick Beam Suite. Windows 98, Windows Me and Windows 2000 systems have built in IrDA drivers.

    Refer to the release notes and help file included with the infrared drivers for more details on how to install and configure this feature.

  • ActiveSync software on the PC or laptop.

ActiveSync via Infrared Connection

The Pocket PC uses infrared to connect with PCs running Microsoft® Windows® 95, Windows 98, Windows Me and Windows 2000 using Microsoft ActiveSync™ technology. You can connect your Pocket PC via infrared with almost any laptop or notebook computer sold today.

To configure ActiveSync 3.1, select the Infrared port in the Communications settings.

On the Pocket PC:

  1. Select the infrared connection by clicking Start, then Programs, and Connections.
  2. Tap IR ActiveSync.
  3. Now line up those infrared ports and synchronize without wires!

File and Data Transfers Between Devices

Naturally, you can beam contacts between PC Companion devices. On the Pocket PC, in Contacts, use the Send and Receive commands from the File menu. While in the car, you can use infrared to input contacts from a Pocket PC to the Auto PC as well. In this way you can dial contacts via voice command using a supported mobile phone cradle, or use the address information for navigation.

Printing

Very soon you'll be able to use BSQUARE's bPRINT for printing from your Pocket PC to a laser printer with IrDA such as the HP LaserJet family of printers. At this writing, they don't currently have a native Pocket PC version of their application, but watch BSQUARE's site for updates. You can also use HP JetSend to print and transfer files with other PDAs as well.

Chat

If you've ever wanted to hold a private conversation with another Pocket PC user during a meeting, you're in luck. Just download Xoanan's freeware Chat client. With it, you can conduct text-based chats, a great digital alternative to passing notes. Note: This application was originally designed for the Handheld PC.

You will have to create a shortcut while you are synchronizing it in order to run this application, or use the File Explorer to start it. Unfortunately, there is no StrongArm version, so you can't run this program if you have a Compaq iPAQ Pocket PC.

Conclusion

The power of a beam of light offers connectivity with ease. It's the true beauty behind infrared -- and it's available anywhere, anytime.
 

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