[Alug] A few Questions

Andrew Savory lists at andrewsavory.com
Mon May 13 15:43:00 BST 2002

On Sun, 12 May 2002, David Freeman wrote:

> If I have a phone with an IR modem built in, How do I use this with a
> Laptop running linux?

IR is probably the worst thing I ever had to configure under linux.
Compared to IR, everything else seems easy. The linux IR stack is
something of a nightmare (although it's finally getting better in later
2.4.* kernels).

The good news is, once it's working it's unbelievably cool :-)

> > make a kernel that support IrDA and search on google, also make sure that
> > it is a *full* modem if its crippled you may need some other software like
> > Gnokkii
> Um, dunno, tis a Nokia 7110.

7110 works fine with IR (7110 has a full modem). The 7110 supports 14.4bps
connections, but I bet your telco doesn't :-)

You can allegedly use a WAP call as a dialup call, but I never got it
working successfully (and given WAP was charged whilst normal calls came
out of my 200 free minutes a month, it was better not to anyway).

Mark said:

> I think I'm just about to go off on the IR+net route, so I was quite
> happy to find a howto on it, but I didn't keep the URL.  Searching for
> "infrared mobile linux" may help and maybe mobilix.org will have a link.

In order of usefulness:


> I don't think you can use WAP time as net time, as surely you'd need to
> be dialled into their WAP service?  I think you might be able to find a
> WAP client, though.

In theory, the WAP service provides an internet connection over which your
WAP browser can then run, so configuring <your ppp software> on the laptop
to dial the same WAP number using the same user/pass/DNS/IP settings will
give you a full connection. In reality, the connection often appears to be
restricted to allow only WAP traffic via a WAP proxy.

Anyway. Successful use of IR with a laptop depends on your laptop.  The
hardest thing is often figuring out exactly what IR chip you have in it
(NSC, Winbond, etc). On Debian, grab the irda-common and irda-tools
packages, then use findchip -v. You should get something like:

  Found NSC PC87338 Controller at 0x398, DevID=0x0b, Rev. 2
      SIR Base 0x3f8, FIR Base 0x3f8
      IRQ = 4, DMA = -1
      Enabled: yes, Suspended: no
      UART compatible: yes
      Half duplex delay = 0 us

When you compile the kernel, make sure you put the IR stuff in as modules.
After all, you don't want IR caning your battery when you have no need for

Example kernel config for 2.4.16:

# IrDA (infrared) support

# IrDA protocols

#   IrDA options

# Infrared-port device drivers

# SIR device drivers

# Dongle support
# CONFIG_DONGLE is not set

# FIR device drivers
# CONFIG_USB_IRDA is not set
# CONFIG_SMC_IRCC_FIR is not set
# CONFIG_ALI_FIR is not set
# CONFIG_VLSI_FIR is not set

Also, if you have a Palm, it can be used as a handy "sniffer" to see when
you've kicked IR into life. Just point it at your IR port and wait for the
"Beam - Waiting for sender..." prompt to appear on the Palm. If it
doesn't, IR isn't working. (Or you have beaming turned off on the palm.)

Hope that helps.


All views are my own .... who else would want them?

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