Impact of a small cell on the RF-EMF exposure in a train

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2015 Feb 27;12(3):2639-52. doi: 10.3390/ijerph120302639.


The deployment of a miniature mobile-phone base station or small cell in a train car significantly improves the coverage and the capacity of a mobile network service on the train. However, the impact of the small cell on the passengers' exposure to radio-frequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMF) is unknown. In this study, we assessed experimentally the RF-EMF exposure of a mobile-phone user who is either connected to the outdoor macrocell network or to an in-train small cell, while traveling on the train, by means of the absorbed-dose concept, which combines the base station downlink exposure with the mobile-phone uplink exposure. For Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) technology at 1800 MHz, we found that by connecting to a small cell, the brain exposure of the user could realistically be reduced by a factor 35 and the whole-body exposure by a factor 11.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Phone*
  • Electromagnetic Fields / adverse effects*
  • Environmental Exposure*
  • Humans
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Radiation Monitoring
  • Radio Waves / adverse effects*
  • Railroads
  • Wireless Technology* / instrumentation