RF stands for radio frequency, whereas IR stands for infrared. Radio frequency describes the oscillation rate of an alternating electric current, voltage, magnetic, electric or electromagnetic field in the frequency range from around 20 kHz to around 300 GHz. Infrared, or infrared light, describes electromagnetic radiation with wavelengths longer than those of visible light. IR uses light waves of 870 nm, making them too small to pass through opaque surfaces and therefore making the signal inherently secure. The signal will not broadcast beyond the confines of the meeting space.
In conferencing terms, the major difference is related to the technology used in microphones. The wireless TAIDEN HCS-5300 Series, for example, is a unique conferencing system in that it operates using infrared technology.
The advantage of infrared over radio frequency is heightened security and reliability, since infrared is a completely separate portion of the light spectrum. This means that there are no issues of crossover or interference from radio frequency systems like smartphone signals, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi. This makes the solution a best-seller for board rooms in RF-heavy cities like New York, for multipurpose meeting rooms, confidential meeting facilities, and teleconferencing applications. Additionally immune to interference from sunlight or energy-saving lighting, IR offers an inherently secure line-of-sight technology, in which signals cannot be received outside the meeting room.