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      XTNDAccess IrDA PC Adapter and IrDA Printer Adapter Review

     
     Date:July 25th, 2002
     Type:Review
     Supplier:Extended Systems
     Author:mayhem
     R.R.P:IrDA PC Adapter: $130 (AUS) - IrDA Printer Adapter: $220 (AUS)

    With the number of new devices these days coming with IrDA (Infra Red), such as your Printer, Mobile Phone or Palm Organiser it is a wonder why Desktop Workstations don't come with an Infrared port, while luckily most new laptops do have this feature as a standard. It is for this reason that people go looking for an affordable and reliable IrDA adapter for home use so that they can upload and download information from their Mobile Phones, synchronize information from Handheld devices such as Palm portable computers and many other solutions such as remote control of a DVD etc.

    XTNDAccess IrDA PC Adapter enables portable device users to transfer files back and forth to a desktop PC without connecting cables. The ideal solution for portables, digital cameras, and handheld devices. The amount of electronic (computer related) devices around the house in todays society has presented the problem of too many wired connections to devices, thus the need for a wireless connection is ever increasing as to prevent the wired nightmare, this is where (in part) IrDA comes in rather handy.

    PC Adapter Kit Includes:

  • XTNDAccess IrDA PC Adapter
  • User's Guide
  • Software / Driver Installation CD
  • Warranty Card

    Key Features (PC Adapter):

  • Supports Windows 95/98/2000/ME/XP and Windows NT 4.0
  • Supports IrDA infrared communication standard 1.1
  • Transmits and receives data up to 115,200 baud with baud rate switching
  • Supports self-powered operation
  • Operates up to one meter (3 feet) away
  • Connects to a standard PC serial (RS-232) port (9-pin)
  • Includes XTNDAccess file transfer program
  • The IrDA PC Adapter also comes in a USB model for those who either don't have a serial port or simply prefer to use USB, it is called the XTNDAccess IrDA USB Adapter and essentially the same except of course the USB connector (probably a better solution for most modern computers, as there are an ever increasing amount of USB ports and the ability to network USB devices frees your two serial ports for more specific applications).

    Printer Adapter Kit Includes:

  • XTNDAccess IrDA Printer Adapter
  • User's Guide
  • Software / Driver Installation CD
  • Printer Cable
  • Power Adapter / Transformer

    XTNDAccess IrDA Printer provides "walk-up-and-print" convenience with no cable connections to make, this is a great solution for those home/office setup where you don't want the hassle off connecting your Laptop to the network or directly to the printer in order to print (some printers already come with Infrared ports included e.g. Hewlett Packard models). It also has the advantage of allowing many different devices to print without requiring a direct connection to the printer, i.e. Palm Pilots, Nokia 9110 Communicator etc.

    Key Features (Printer Adapter):

  • Supports Windows 95/98/2000/ME/XP, Windows CE, Windows NT 4.0 and Palm operating systems
  • Allows a printer to communicate with an infrared-equipped portable computer
  • Supports IrDA infrared communication standard
  • Transmits and receives data up to 115,200 baud with baud rate switching
  • Connects to a standard parallel printer (Centronics) port
  • Operates up to one meter (3 feet) away
  • Supports pass-through parallel connection (does not interfere with normal network printing)
  • Setting Up
    In order to get the XTNDAccess IrDA PC Adapter working all you need to go is plug the unit into an available 9 pin serial port (COM1 or COM2) on your system and then install the necessary drivers for your Operating System (here we used Windows XP Professional for this review). Simply connect the adapter and then power up your computer, once your computer is turned on and Windows has loaded then you need to go into Control Panel and then select Add New Hardware. In the Add New Hardware wizard follow the appropriate steps for your Operating System (as listed in the supplied User's Guide) and when completed Reboot your computer. Once this is done all you need to do is install the software your want to use with the IrDA adapter.

    To setup the XTNDAccess IrDA Printer Adapter is just as simple as the PC Adapter, while your computer is turned off connect the supplied printer cable to the Printer Adapter and the other end into your printer, you then connect your printer cable to the input of the Printer Adapter, finally connect the power to the Adapter and then plug it into your power point. The next step is to turn your computer on and install the drivers (This is only necessary for Windows 95/98/Me/NT4, newer versions such as Windows 20000 and XP don't require any driver installation for the Printer Adapter).

    Once the adapter is connected to your computer it may be necessary to install the printer drivers (if you haven't already got the printer installed), to do this follow the instructions in your Printers Manual, it might also be a good idea to do a search on the Internet for the latest drivers for your printer.

    NEXT: Testing, Results and Conclusion

     

      Supplier Information

     
    Extended Systems provide a large range of Infrared and Bluetooth communications products as well as Syncronisation software, if you would like anymore information about any of their products, or would like to purchase from them, then you can find out all you need at their website: http://www.extendedsystems.com/.

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