Clearing the Air About RF & IR Wireless

What is RF and IR Transmission?

To begin with, just what do these terms mean?

Webster’s Dictionary tells us that radio frequency (RF) is a range from about 3 kilohertz to about 300,000 megahertz in the electromagnetic spectrum within which radio waves may be transmitted.

Webster goes on to state that infrared (IR) waves are electromagnetic pulses with wavelengths longer than visible light but shorter than radio waves.

Roughly speaking, RF uses radio waves to transmit information, and IR uses light.

With all the different types of hearing assistance products available, it’s easy to get confused about which type is right for your particular needs.

How do you decide between the two when choosing a wireless hearing assistance system? Ask yourself the following questions:

Where Will You Use Your Wireless System?

Your operating environment is perhaps the chief factor in choosing a system.

If you want to broadcast in large spaces (especially outside), hearing assistance systems that transmit on the FM RF band are your best bet.

They provide a strong and reliable signal which is able to pass through walls and other obstacles, making them ideal in venues where you won’t have competing systems, and where security is not an issue.

IR hearing assistance systems include TV listening systems and transmit to any receiver within line of sight range of the transmitter, reducing interference.

IR transmissions stay within opaque walls, making it a good choice for movie theaters, boardrooms, and courtrooms – anywhere privacy is valued.

On the other hand, IR systems are usually not appropriate for outdoor use because sunlight generates interference.

Will Your IR or RF Wireless System Be Easy to Use?

RF systems are an attractive choice for churches and schools seeking an affordable and  easy-to-install wireless system.

In most cases, you can set up the system without regard to keeping the area between transmitter and receiver free of obstacles.

While setting up an IR system requires greater attention to lines of sight, receiver management is easier because there is no reason to search for the transmitter’s frequency.

Which Wireless System is Ideal for You?

If you are looking for portability, or if there is a need for a system that is easy to set up, then a RF wireless system is your best choice.

If you are looking for privacy and reduced interference within an enclosed indoor space, then the IR system is commonly considered the best way to go.

Have more questions about which system is right for you? Email AudioLink’s staff of experts or call 1-800-263-0112 for a free consultation.