Even simple wired links in the home are succumbing to the lure and benefits of basic RF connectivity
Our local utility disconnected the wired link from my water meter last week, and replaced it with a wireless link. The process took about 30 minutes, and now there is a wire running from the meter-reading head to a small cylindrical transmitter/antenna module about 6 feet away, taped to one of the cold-water pipes. The digital meter is from Badger Meter and says it has an absolute digital encoder; you can read about it here. The corresponding transmitter is their Orion unit, the data sheet is remarkably devoid of information about frequency, format, or protocol. (There is an FCC registration number on the unit, I haven't bothered to investigate that any further.)
The previous, wired unit was connected to the telephone loop (a standard "landline"), and I was told that it reported the water usage every week. Whether this was reported on request, or automatically, I never found out. But it's history now. The wireless installer said the new units worked "better" (whatever that means) and were suitable for the growing number of homes that no longer have wire landline phones, only cellular service.
It will be interesting to see how the new setup works. I'll be honest, I generally don't see wireless as the solution to all connectivity problems. Sometimes, a simple wire between point A and point B is the cheapest, most reliable, most RFI-proof link you can have. But I also know that there are times when a wired link is a problem. In an old house like mine, you don't want to try to run wires in the walls--whether basic twisted pair, coax, CAT5, or anything else, since there are surprises everywhere, plus it's a major mess. That's why low-cost, wireless 802.11 networks are a wonderful thing in such locales. And now, even more basic non-wired links are feasible and cost-effective, it seems.
There's only one thing that has me worried. The installer said that the unit's battery is good for 20 years. Maybe, maybe not. Demonstrating such a lifetime with confidence is perhaps a little "iffy", it seems to me. So check back here every five years, and I'll give you an update! ;-) ♦