What are the side effects of using wireless LAN 2.4 GHz, and how can we protect our bodies from these high frequency signals?

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No-one really knows the long term side effects of radiation as it depends on a number of factors such as:
  • Signal strength
  • Frequency
  • Genetic predispoition to cancer, etc.

However, what you can be certain of is the power output or the EIRP (effective isotropic radiated power) that the access points are able to generate. The FCC and such bodies place very strict limits on what power they are able to generate (taking into account how close we operate from the devices) and you'll find that most access points only output about 200-400 mW EIRP.

When you compare this to the 8 Watts (or so) that some mobile phones are capable of, and that fact that we hold them directly next to our head, I am far more concerned about the cellular phone radiation than I am about my 802.11a/b/g wireless LAN.

The best way to prevent radiation from being absorbed by your body is to live deep underground in some remote part of the world. The truth is that we're exposed to all manner of radiation from many different sources -- televisions, portable phones, microwaves, cellular phones, cellular phone towers, computers, etc. The list is endless.

I've worked with a variety of wireless equipment for a number of years and I can honestly say I'm not worried about the radiation from a wireless access point or wireless client card – cellular phones? They're another story.

This was first published in May 2004

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