Measurements for assessing the exposure from 3G femtocells

Radiat Prot Dosimetry. 2012 Jun;150(2):158-67. doi: 10.1093/rpd/ncr398. Epub 2011 Oct 13.


Femtocells are low-power access points, which combine mobile and broadband technologies. The main operation of a femtocell is to function as a miniature base station unit in an indoor environment and to connect to the operator's network through a broadband phone line or a coaxial cable line. This study provides the first experimental measurements and results in Greece for the assessment of exposure to a femtocell access point (FAP) indoors. Using a mobile handset with the appropriate software, power level measurements of the transmitted (Tx) and the received by the mobile handset signal were performed in two different and typical (home and office) environments. Moreover, radiofrequency electric field strength and frequency selective measurements with a radiation meter (SRM-3000) were carried out in the proximity of the FAP installation point. The cumulative distribution functions of the Tx power at most cases (except one) show that in 90% of all points the power of the mobile phone was lower by at least 7 dB during FAP operation. At a distance of ∼1 m from the FAP (in its main beam), power flux density measurements show that there is very little difference between the two situations (FAP ON and OFF). As a conclusion, the use of femtocells indoors improves reception quality, reduces the Tx power of the user's mobile terminal and results in an indiscernible increase of the electromagnetic field in front of the unit, at values that are extremely low compared with reference levels of exposure guidelines.

MeSH terms

  • Cell Phone*
  • Electromagnetic Fields*
  • Environmental Exposure / analysis*
  • Greece
  • Humans
  • Radiation Dosage
  • Radiation Monitoring*
  • Radio Waves*
  • Telecommunications