Q

WLANs in combustible environments

Is the radio frequency used in a WLAN solution "intrinsically safe" for use in a highly combustible environment like a petro-chemical area?
No electronic instrument is completely safe around combustibles, which is the reason why many gas stations suggest that you do not talk on a cellular phone while pumping fuel, as the phone could somehow cause a spark. Many experts say the probability of this happening is very low, but it is not what I would call intrinsically safe. Keep in mind, however, that the experts refer to the devices themselves as the problem – not the RF transmission. Therefore, a good rule of thumb is to keep any device well away from combustibles. To be on the safe side, consult with a safety engineer to be sure of what you are doing.
This was first published in June 2001

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