RADIOFREQUENCY EXPOSURE FROM WIRELESS LANS UTILIZING WI-FI TECHNOLOGY

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Abstract

Abstract—

This survey measured radiofrequency (RF) fields from wireless local area networks (WLANs) using Wi-Fi technology against a background of RF fields in the environment over the frequency range 75 MHz–3 GHz. A total of 356 measurements were conducted at 55 sites (including private residences, commercial spaces, health care and educational institutions, and other public spaces) in four countries (U.S., France, Germany, Sweden). Measurements were conducted under conditions that would result in the higher end of exposures from such systems. Where possible, measurements were conducted in public spaces as close as practical to the Wi-Fi access points. Additional measurements were conducted at a distance of approximately 1 m from a laptop while it was uploading and downloading large files to the WLAN. This distance was chosen to allow a useful comparison of fields in the far-field of the antenna in the laptop, and give a representative measure of the exposure that a bystander might receive from the laptop. The exposure to the user, particularly if the antenna of the client card were placed against his or her body, would require different measurement techniques beyond the scope of this study. In all cases, the measured Wi-Fi signal levels were very far below international exposure limits (IEEE C95.1-2005 and ICNIRP) and in nearly all cases far below other RF signals in the same environments. An Appendix discusses technical aspects of the IEEE 802.11 standard on which WLANs operate that are relevant to determining the levels of RF energy exposure from WLANs. Important limiting factors are the low operating power of client cards and access points, and the low duty cycle of transmission that normally characterizes their operation.

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