Sometimes, it's easy to forget that infrared technology—as embodied by the IrDA community—is every bit as wireless as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. In fact, IrDA is pervasive throughout today's electronic mobile systems. The most recent IrDA report forecasts that sales will reach the one-billion-unit mark by as early as 2005.
Even though IrDA is one of the most widely used technologies, however, few books have been devoted to its design. For this reason, this recent work by Charles D. Knutson should receive a lot of attention. Chuck is probably the best person to write this book. He has served in numerous positions within the IrDA community. In addition, he has both university and commercial experience in the design of infrared and RF data-communications systems.
In the preface of his book, Chuck notes, "This book is about what IrDA was designed to do." Indeed, it contains all of the topic coverage that one would expect in a standard's guide—from usage models to coverage of core protocol and session layers. But it also includes key topics like implementing IrDA protocols in resource-constrained environments or IRDA Lite strategies. This discussion will be of particular interest to the designers of today's numerous mobile devices.
Chuck is an accomplished writer who blends just enough humor into his discussions to keep the reader engaged. For example, he includes a classic 1956 advertisement for "Flash-matic" television tuning in the early chapter on the history of Infrared technology.
This book is a good introduction to IrDA designs. It serves both the hardware engineers who are ready to implement an IrDA protocol stack and the software engineers who need to write IrDA-enabled applications. In addition, both managers and end users can enjoy the volume's overview of technology issues.
IrDA Principles and Protocols: Understanding and Managing Infrared Data Exchange by Charles D. Knutson with Jeffrey M. Brown is available from MCL Press (www.mclpress.com) for $34.95. The ISBN is 0975389203.