If I have a single Boolean value that I wish to transmit wirelessly over a relatively short distance (assume <2m) then what of the many possible options would be the most practical.

To define what I mean my practical, it is some combination of:

  • low cost
  • low power
  • environmentally robust
  • high data integrity
  • high reliability
  • low bulk/weight

All of which apply equally to both the transmitter and receiver. I assume there will be some tradeoff between these

Other concerns that might impact the answers, but are of less interest to me:

  • The transmission may be repeated, but not at a high frequency (assume <2Hz), although there is no penalty for higher frequency capability.
  • The transmission need only be unidirectional, although bi-directionality might be a bonus.
  • The transmission does not have any security concerns, although some level of security might be a bonus.
  • There is only one transmitter/receiver pair in the local area, although the ability to operate with multiple unique transmissions in the same area might be a bonus.
  • The transmission is one-to-one between transmitter and receiver, although the ability to transmit to many receivers, or from many transmitters, might be a bonus.
  • The solution should be off-the-shelf to a certain extent, although if bespoke (or high volume) options significantly improve the solution in some way then I would be interested to hear about them.
  • The solution should ideally be legal/unlicensed in most countries, but I'd be interested in what illegal or licensed options could be possible too.

I don't have a specific application in mind, I'm more interested as a theoretical exercise.

Note that there is a related question here, but currently unanswered and with slightly different criteria.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Purpose? Use case? What are you ultimately trying to accomplish? $\endgroup$ Dec 5 '18 at 3:34
  • $\begingroup$ ^This. A human holding up a flag would transmit your single bit of information at a rate of <2Hz just fine... A human holding up a lewd/copyright image could even be an illegal method in the right country? $\endgroup$ Dec 5 '18 at 3:54
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ As the question is asked, there isn't one specific answer - the most practical way for a specific task makes more sense - you seem to be asking for a list of all potential ways, for interest/theory, which is unfortunately not a good fit for the SE question/answer model. I've voted to close as too broad. $\endgroup$ Dec 5 '18 at 3:55
  • $\begingroup$ Let go a red balloon. Chalk mark on public bench. $\endgroup$
    – Phil Sweet
    Dec 5 '18 at 11:45
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    $\begingroup$ Terms such as low cost, low power are too broad. I recommend that narrow the terms by adding parameters/limits $\endgroup$ Dec 5 '18 at 16:45

Few of the technologies that fit well are Bluetooth Low Energy and Thread. Both of them operate in the 2.4 GHZ ISM band. Also you might want take a look at Zigbee. These all offer basic level of security features.

Lora and Sigfox are two other technologies that might work well. I have little knowledge on these technologies

As the other post indicate IR also can be considered. But I think you will have to create the security layer.


To be totally honest there is really only one technology you should be looking for.

  • Infrared, all you need is a light transistor and a infrared led, thats it. Cheap as hell, well known, and robust works in wide range of situation and is not prone to noise.

Anyway, You can also try radio waves and sound.


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