Remote Control of fans is now a way of life – Know a bit about 2 technology options

Shailendra Singh, General Manager (CRI) -Havells

Among the consumer friendly electronics and appliances, the usage of remote control is increasing day by day. Typically in an urban household, minimum 5 to 7 remote handsets are found in use for different appliances. Is it making us lazy or increasing our convenience? Perhaps, parts of both are true.
So, should their use be discouraged? That’s a point of discussion for another day. Today let’s focus on the technologies largely used in this.
Most commonly used technologies are IR, which stands for “Infrared” and RF, known as “Radio frequency”, IR is a kind of light that can’t be seen with the naked eye but can be seen through a digital camera or a phone camera and RF uses radio waves.

IR REMOTE – An IR remote control (transmitter) sends out pulses of infrared light that represent specific binary codes. These binary codes correspond to commands, such as Power On/Off, Speed Up – Down, etc. The IR receiver in other device decodes the pulses of light into the binary data (ones and zeroes) that the device’s microcontroller can understand. The microcontroller then carries out the corresponding command. It’s simple for you.
It is most commonly used as it is quick and offers an ability to communicate a wide variety of commands. Its downside is that you always need line-of-sight for it to work properly and it can work for shorter distances, may be within a room.

RF REMOTE – RF remote, on the other hand, do not require line-of-sight for working and also it can work over much longer distances. RF can pass through solid walls too – as long as they’re not metal.
RF (radio frequency) technology uses radio waves to transmit the signal from Remote to devices. Standard use of RF remote is Bluetooth, ZigBee (RF4CE) and Z-Wave.


• It can be used for short distance, up to 10 meters, suitable for use inside a room only.
• It needs “Line of Sight” towards the device of better operation, so it can be used in single direction.
Chances of missing command can happen if line-of-sight is not maintained.
• IR remote do not need pairing with devices. A single remote can be used to operate many devices by maintaining proper line-of-sight and distance from device.
• There is no statutory regulation for usage of IR remote as its signal do not affects other electrical / electronic devices.
• IR remote and its control in device is relatively less costly.

• It can be used for longer distances, up to 50 meters or more.
• No Line of Sight Required. It can be used in multi direction. A device can be operated even when remote is in other direction of device.
• A single RF remote needs pairing with its devices. After pairing you can control many devices with single remote. For individual control of devices, you need to do separate pairing and remote-control set.
• There are statutory regulations for usage of RF technology. For use of RF in Indian market, we need WPC certificate from Ministry of Communication and Information technology, Delhi.
• RF remote and its control in device are costlier.

For you as a Customer, both will work for any Fan equally. It is the manufacturer who decides which marries best with their model. What we are providing you is an in-depth understanding of 2 remote control technologies.