Look Ma, No Cables!
Network cables, PDA connector cables, printer cables, keyboard and mouse cables - the list of cables found at a standard PC workstation goes on and on. Not only are all of these cords inconvenient and hard to store, they have something else in common - they can all be replaced with wireless transmission technologies.
The most common technologies that do away with cables are infrared, Bluetooth and Wireless LAN. Other than the fact that they replace all the cables mentioned above, these technologies have little in common. The applications and underlying technologies vary widely within this group.
The Wireless Pioneer - Infrared
The least expensive of all is the common infrared port. Most notebooks and cell phones come furnished with an infrared receiver, while upgrade sets for desktop PCs can be had for as little as $50. Moreover, many laser and inkjet printers come furnished with an infrared interface.
Unfortunately, though, infrared (IrDA) is as inconvenient as it is common. The infrared ports on the communicating devices have to be precisely aligned with one another. Otherwise, the connection, which at 4 Mbps is very fast, will abort abruptly. To make matters even more complicated, you need a line-of-sight connection, which means that any obstacles between the devices will prevent them from connecting via IrDA. Yet another limitation is the relatively short maximum distance: the devices can be no farther from one another than a half meter.
With these restrictions in mind, infrared is only advisable for anybody who wants to get rid of some cables without investing a lot of money. However, if you want to connect your notebook and cell phone wirelessly on a more frequent basis, you'd be better advised to opt for the more flexible Bluetooth technology.