22
Jan
2006

Masts INSIDE Your House?

Do you have a digital cordless phone (DECT) or wireless networking (Wi-fi) in your house? If you do, or know someone who does or who is thinking about buying these types of device, then please read on.

To Summarize: If you are people who don't want a Mobile Telephone Mast near to the outside of your house, you certainly don't want Wi-fi or a DECT phone system in your home, since these use similar technology, and you will be exposing yourself, inside your own home, to comparable emissions that are given off by Mobile Telephone Masts. Read on for further explanatory details.

An opportunity arose recently for us to examine Wi-fi wireless networking and DECT digital cordless phones in use. Taking a COM microwave meter and an A-COM acoustic microwave meter to a friend's house we were able to take comparative readings from these common, but largely ignored devices.

The results are somewhat frightening – especially if you are sitting by a DECT phone base station or beside a Wi-fi router or with a laptop on your lap which is connected to your Wi-fi network, completely unaware of the emissions coming from your device.

We do not want to scare you. We just want to inform you of the potential risks from these devices, so that you can make an informed choice as to whether you (still) want them in your house. With Mobile Phone Masts you unfortunately have little or no choice about them being placed nearby. However, with Wi-fi and DECT you do have the choice, if you are aware of the issues.

DECT (Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications) Cordless Phones

DECT is a cellular system like GSM/2G or UTMS/3G mobile telephones. A major difference between the types of system is the cell radius. DECT cells have a radius of 25 to 100 meters, while GSM/2G cells are 2 to 10 km. UTMS/3G cells are smaller than GSM cells.

DECT uses a frequency of 1880-1900MHz whilst GSM/2G uses 1800MHz and 900MHz and UTMS/3G uses 2100MHz. (See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DECT for more technical details.)

In our tests the DECT base station was CONSTANTLY transmitting, even when the handset was in the cradle (i.e. the phone itself was not being used), giving us a COM meter reading of 6 V/m (*) or more close up, with a still highly significant reading of 2.5 V/m at a distance of 1 metre or so.

The DECT handset, when activated, gave a a COM meter reading of 6 V/m or more close up – towards the maximum reading on our meter – not good news especially if you use cordless phones for any period of time.

Wi-Fi Wireless Networking

Wi-fi, commonly based upon either IEEE 802.11b (5.9 Mbit/s ) or the faster 802.11g (54 Mbit/s) standard, uses an unlicensed microwave frequency of 2400MHz (2.4 GHz). This is the same part of the spectrum as used by microwave ovens, Bluetooth devices and analogue cordless phones. (See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WiFi%2C_802.11 for more information).

In our tests the Wi-fi router box was transmitting in pulses, even when no devices were connecting to it, giving us a significant COM meter reading of 3 V/m (*) or more close up, with a reading of 1.5 V/m at a distance of 1 metre or so.

More significantly, a laptop with a Wi-fi network card inside it gave a COM meter reading of 6 V/m or more close up whilst it was connected to the network. This reading was also found UNDERNEATH the laptop, i.e. where your lap would be. Consequently if you were surfing the Internet for any length of time your legs and abdomen would be in close proximity to a very significant amount of microwaves.

Before connecting to the network, and therefore at rest, the Wi-fi network card gave out a “heartbeat” pulse every 10 seconds or so – again at a value of 6 V/m. Moving 1 metre or so away from the laptop, a still significant COM meter reading of 2.5 V/m was registered.

[For these tests, the laptop was positioned two rooms away from the router, a common scenario for others using this type of set-up].


Key

(*) (0.7 to 2.0 V/m is ‘Low’, 2 - 4 V/m is ‘Medium’, and 4-6.5 is ‘High’.)

Note that:

- ‘Low’ is "the sort of precautionary levels found in other European countries".

- ‘Medium and ‘High’ may ‘have serious health consequences for those exposed’.

- ‘6’ is also described by the meter manufacturers as a cause for concern, and advise that a professional comes to check the area.

Assuming a standard impedance of 377 Ohms in air, 6 V/m equates to a Power Density of approximately 0.95 mW/m2 , 2.5 V/m equates to 0.166 mW/m2 and 1 V/m equates to 0.026 mW/m2.



Any thoughts or comments?

Ade,
Goldsworth Residents Against the Masts,
http://www.nomasts.org.uk

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