Assessment of exposure to electromagnetic fields from wireless computer networks (wi-fi) in schools; results of laboratory measurements

Health Phys. 2011 Jun;100(6):594-612. doi: 10.1097/HP.0b013e318200e203.


Laboratory measurements have been carried out with examples of Wi-Fi devices used in UK schools to evaluate the radiofrequency power densities around them and the total emitted powers. Unlike previous studies, a 20 MHz bandwidth signal analyzer was used, enabling the whole Wi-Fi signal to be captured and monitored. The radiation patterns of the laptops had certain similarities, including a minimum toward the torso of the user and two maxima symmetrically opposed across a vertical plane bisecting the screen and keyboard. The maxima would have resulted from separate antennas mounted behind the top left and right corners of the laptop screens. The patterns for access points were more symmetrical with generally higher power densities at a given distance. The spherically-integrated radiated power (IRP) ranged from 5 to 17 mW for 15 laptops in the 2.45 GHz band and from 1 to 16 mW for eight laptops in the 5 GHz band. For practical reasons and because access points are generally wall-mounted with beams directed into the rooms, their powers were integrated over a hemisphere. These ranged from 3 to 28 mW for 12 access points at 2.4 GHz and from 3 to 29 mW for six access points at 5 GHz. In addition to the spherical measurements of IRP, power densities were measured at distances of 0.5 m and greater from the devices, and consistent with the low radiated powers, these were all much lower than the ICNIRP reference level.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Electromagnetic Fields*
  • Humans
  • Laboratories
  • Local Area Networks*
  • Radiation Monitoring*
  • Schools