The Disadvantages of Infrared Light

Linda Madson

Infrared light is used to operate many devices in the home. Examples are car locking systems; computer’s mouse, keyboard, floppy drives and printers; home security and navigation systems; home entertainment systems; and toys.

Infrared light operates this computer's keyboard, floppy drive, mouse and printer.

The devices work by transmitting the infrared signal as bursts of nonvisible light, which is captured and processed at the receiving end of the device. This technology is advantageous to the home, but infrared light does have some disadvantages.

Signal Interference

The signal can be blocked by any foreign material that is in front of the transmission. This could be things such as objects, walls and people. Also, the transmitters and receivers must be closely aligned to communicate by being directly in sight of each other. The weather can also interfere with reception from sunlight, rain, dust and pollination.

Short Range

The range of transmission is quite short compared to wired transmission. The performance will drop off if the distance to the receiver is out of range for the infrared device.

Speed of Transmission

The speed at which the data is transmitted by infrared light is slower than wired transmission.