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Alasdair's EMF Musings - View Comments

[Blog Index]

WiFi to cover the UK

Day by day I hear tales of more and more microwave applications, all of which are increasing the electrosmog that surrounds us.

As a result, apart from our health probably being adversely affected, more and more power is needed to keep existing applications working. A good example is that they have now increased the power in motor vehicle "key-fob" immobiliser / alarm units, that we all have and use, from 0.25 mW to 10 mW for all new vehicles. This is so that the receiver sensitivity in the car/vehicle can be reduced to help avoid TETRA and other radio applications causing increasing interference problems. So we now have a 40-fold increase in transmitted power (albeit, still a low level, but good news for the key-fob battery manufacturers and not for a sustainable world) in order for the signal to cut through the thick electrosmog to make it to the car.

The Office of Communications (Ofcom) have issued a study which investigated the options for permitting much higher power WiFi and wLAN power levels in the 2.4 GHz and 5.x GHz bands for license-exempt applications. The power levels they have been considering do greatly concern me. It seems the world is intent on microwave zapping everybody.

We are told that Ofcom and the Government see the adoption of broadband as a national priority. They want it to reach into all distant corners of the UK, whether you want it or not. Many rural communities do not currently have access to BT DSL or cable and, apparently, they MUST have it - satellite broadband is often the only option at present. Currently Wireless Broadband Access (WBA) operators may use 2.4GHz for providing services but maximum EIRP is limited to 100mW. WBA services may also be provided at 5.8GHz where the maximum EIRP is 2W. The frequency bands examined were 2.4GHz, and 5GHz band A (5150-5350MHz), band B (5470-5725MHz and band C (5725-5875MHz). Band A is currently allowed for WLAN but restricted to 200mW and indoor use only. Nomadic Radio LANs (RLANs) may be used in band B outdoor and the maximum EIRP is 1W.

The report considers scenarios where up to 80 watts at 2.4 GHz and 200 watts at 5-6 GHz are allowed. This represents a possible radiated power increase of 800-fold at 2.4 GHz and 200-fold at 5.x GHz. These are for devices that anybody will be able to purchase and install. They are "license exempt". Even your friendly neighbours could install them.

OK, probably the final agreed figure will probably be lower than these extremes, but reading the report I would not be surprised at a general 100-fold allowed increase. And that is without the fast spread of WiMAX in the 3.5-3.6 GHz band which is already allowed 40 watt EIRP transmitters.

A "blue world", indeed, and one becoming more blue, week by week.

Ofcom keep an online profile of their latest progress on key sprectrum initiatives.

The original news story on the BBC can be found at


Posted at: 16/08/2006 15:54:36 :: 0 Comments


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