Wireless Communication Network – WI-FI - Background

A wireless communication network (Wi-Fi) uses radio waves to transmit information and data from various end devices (such as laptops, tablets and smart phones) to the Internet and from it.

 

Wireless routers operate at outputs and frequencies similar to those of other communication equipment in the household.  They constitute a local source of non-ionizing radiation, whose intensity diminishes rapidly with increasing distance from the device/source.

Wireless routers

Wireless routers

 

Wi-Fi was at first developed as a wireless alternative to cables that connected computers to local communication networks in homes, offices, and other locations.

 

Subsequently, this technology provided solutions for areas with poor reception, to back up distant cellular transmission sources that could not efficiently transmit signals because of the load of numerous users or in areas with poor reception.  Today, nearly all end-devices such as portable computers and smartphones are equipped with WI-FI connection.

Illustration: Smart phone with WI-FI connection

Illustration: Smart phone with WI-FI connection

 

 

The threshold exposure for WI-FI in Israel is the threshold for exposure to radiofrequency (RF) radiation, and does not differ from exposure to RF radiation from other sources at the same frequency.

 

When comparing exposure to RF radiation emitted by wireless routers with exposure to other devices transmitting at the same frequency, it seems that exposure to radiation from WI-FI per average time unit is 20-200 times lower than exposure from a mobile phone.  

 

 

Radiofrequency radiation in the electromagnetic spectrum

Radiofrequency radiation in the electromagnetic spectrum

 

 

Health consequences of exposure to RF radiation emitted by WI-FI are not clear, since almost no studies on this issue have been conducted

 

As mentioned, non-ionizing radiation emitted from routers and end-user-devices via the wireless networks is very low.  Nevertheless, in Israel and abroad there are opponents of the installation and use of wireless networks in public places, especially schools. The claim is that this constitutes enforced use of technology in the public domain (even though the same technology is used in household WI-FI routers) which has been in widespread use for a relatively short period, and the possibility of harmful health effects resulting from exposure to non-ionizing radiation below the recommended level is still being evaluated.

 

References

  • Foster KR. Radiofrequency exposure from wireless LANS utilizing Wi-Fi technology. Health Phys 2007; 92:280-289
  • California Council on Science and Technology. Health impacts of radio frequency exposure from smart meters. April 2011
 
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