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A quick check on Chambers Online Dictionary gives the following definition for "wireless"

QUOTE wireless noun, old use 1 a radio. 2 (also wireless telegraphy or wireless telephony) the transmission of signals by means of electromagnetic waves generated by high-frequency alternating currents, therefore dispensing with the need for conducting wires between transmitter and receiver.

This image on Wikipedia shows the electromagnetic spectrum with radio waves at the low frequency end, rising through micro waves, infra red, visible light and so on.

Therefore within this dictionary definition, Bachmann and Hornby are entitled to describe the controls as "wireless".

The problem arises when the different propagation abilities of the electromagnetic spectrum are compared. We all know that an IR remote won't work in the next room, but a DECT phone almost certainly will. Therefore when selecting a "wireless" control for your railway you need to consider what kind of connection you want.

Bachmann and Hornby target the "table top" market where the layout is usually in front of the user. It is therefore unlikely that anything will come between the remote and the receiver. Keen hobbyists are more likely to be in the center of the layout which leads to the possibility of body blocking for some periods of operation. For those installations I would suggest that a radio based or "direction insensitive" wireless setup should be preferred.

At the end of the day, if you do your research (or just ask on a Forum like this) you will be faced with the question - "Why does this wireless handset cost so much more than that one?". The answer should be (hopefully) more functionality in the expensive model which probably means better directional insensitivity.

Finally, never forget the old maxim "Caveat emptor" - buyer beware.

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