Every Wi-Fi router uses radio frequency (RF) energy to connect you to the internet. As such, all Wi-Fi routers, regardless of the model, emit high-frequency radio waves, also known as non-ionizing radiation. These information-carrying radio waves are the same as those emitted by cell phones, laptops, smart meters, tablets, computers, baby monitors, and other similar electronic devices. These devices all emit a type of electromagnetic field (EMF).
While every Wi-Fi router has different radiation levels, a standard safe distance avoids Wi-Fi router radiation between 15 and 20 feet. Let’s dive into what are safe distances for avoiding Wi-Fi router radiation.
All Wi-Fi devices that operate on radio frequency emit electromagnetic radiation, which is non-ionizing. Non-ionizing radiation is a lower frequency level than ionizing radiation, like x-rays and ultraviolet (UV) rays. As non-ionizing radiation is produced by many of our most used electronic devices, such as cell phones, computers, routers, Bluetooth-enabled devices, microwave ovens, and other electronics, we are constantly exposed to it.
How to Calculate the Safe Distance From Wi-Fi Router Radiation?
You can calculate the safe distance from a Wi-Fi router Radiation by applying the inverse square law of physics. The inverse square law states that the magnitude of exposure from an EMF or RF radiating source decreases in proportion to squaring your distance from the source.
To calculate the safe distance you need to use this equation P*G/4Πr2 (P = transmission power; G = Antenna gain; 4Πr2 = surface area of a sphere (r=the distance from the source).
For an average router, you may assume that its radiation is between 30 – 500 mW (Use these numbers to replace the (P*G) part.
In case your WiFi has a high value of the antenna gain (G), you need to account for that. Keep in mind that G can typically be between 1.3 and 7.
How to Test your Wi-Fi Router for EMF Radiation
There are several ways to test your Wi-Fi router for EMF radiation, which may help you determine where to place the device so that it won’t do any harm. The most common testing method is using a high-end EMF radiation meter.
- An EMF radiation meter will allow you to measure the overall EMF radiation levels in your home. It enables you to derive the readings for the radiation levels in your surroundings. In homes with few electronic devices, the readings can be as low as 3; in technologically-equipped homes, on the other hand, it can reach up to 9.
- Take derived base readings from various rooms. It will help you in determining the accuracy of your later readings.
- Switching on the Wi-Fi router and taking a reading while standing right in front of it will help you determine how much radiation is produced by the router. The readings can be up to 150 watts per square centimeter.
- Take a few steps backward. You will notice the reading decreasing by increasing the distance from the radiation source. Keep track of the distance.
- When you reach below 350 microwatts per square centimeter, you have reached a safe distance. However, the further you go, the safer it gets.
- Place the router at a safe distance with low EMF radiation.
How Can You Block and Reduce Wi-Fi Router Radiation To Maintain Safe Distance?
While it’s hard to block Wi-Fi EMF radiation, you can easily attenuate or reduce it. Attenuation refers to the gradual loss in force due to the penetration of radiation through a certain material. There are several ways to reduce Wi-Fi router radiation to maintain safe distance.
1. Physically blocking the radiation emitted by Wi-Fi routers
You can do so by using a Faraday cage designed to decrease the amount of radiation that is discharged along with the range of transmission.
You can also physically block Wi-Fi radiation with EMF shielding materials that can attenuate up to 99% of EMF radiation.
Instead of using a radiation shielding material, you can also try using radiation protection paint, which has been shown to filter out most (up to 99%) of the radiation.
Another way to physically block Wi-Fi radiation is to use radiation protection fabric, curtains, for example, which will block Wi-Fi from seeping through your windows.
2. Using a Wi-Fi router guard
Much like the Faraday cage, this handy gadget is designed to block up to 95% of the EMF radiation produced by a Wi-Fi router. As this Wi-Fi router reduces the radiation, it simultaneously lowers the safe distance between the device and the user. However, it doesn’t interfere with Wi-Fi reception at all.
3. Place the router in a corner
This is a simple yet effective trick to reduce Wi-Fi radiation – simply put the router in a corner or a more centralized location, where it can provide the best coverage for your home. However, this will only protect the areas behind those walls. In the areas in front of those walls, the radiation will remain the same, simply more centralized. Also, make sure to place the router as far away from your bedroom as possible, as this will lessen the overall amount of radiation you are exposed to in a longer period of time.
4. Avoid using signal boosters or high-powered Wi-Fi routers
The stronger the signal, the stronger the EMF radiation. As such, make sure to minimize your exposure to such radiation-boosting devices.
5. Simply turn off the Wi-Fi
As we are hooked up on our smartphones, tablets, and laptops most of the time, it may be hard to imagine turning the Wi-Fi off for a while. However, there must be a time of day (nighttime, for example), when you don’t really need the router to be on. One of the simplest ways to automatically switch off the router is by using a mechanical outlet timer. You can also try to set a timer on your router. Alternatively, consider switching to wired internet. Using Ethernet cables may be inconvenient, but it can provide high-speed internet without exposing you to potentially harmful EMF radiation.
Risk of (EMF) Radiation Emitted from Wi-Fi
This is a quite controversial question as many experts are not fully aligned on how dangerous EMF radiation really is.
Of course, ‘radiation’ is a scary word. We tend to associate it with nuclear power plants, superpowers, and other mystical and often dangerous occurrences. However, most of us fail to understand that radiation is actually all around us, regardless of whether or not we try to avoid it and hide from it. It comes from the universe and the Earth itself. The energy provided by the sun travels through the electromagnetic field and is absorbed by our skin. We are surrounded by radio waves, which emit our favorite radio frequencies and allow us to watch satellite television, Wi-Fi signals, which allow us to search the web, and other types of radiation.
Ionizing radiation, which includes gamma radiation, x-rays, UV rays, and other high-frequency waves, can be hazardous to us because they carry enough energy to knock electrons around. Heavy and even low and persistent exposure to ionizing radiation may increase your risk of cell mutations and increase your chances of getting cancer.
Non-ionizing radiation, on the other hand, which includes Wi-Fi signals, is much less harmful. It will not transform your cells the way ionizing radiation can. However, the fact that more and more electronic devices surround us and thus non-ionizing radiation is a bit concerning. Many argue that non-ionizing radiation is harmless; however, studies have shown that excessive exposure to non-ionizing radiation may harm our health and overall well-being. It may be associated with hypersensitivity reactions, DNA damage, autoimmune disorders, mental health issues, and even cancer.
As such, it’s best to place your Wi-Fi router at a safe distance so that it won’t cause any damage.
EMF Radiation Safety Limits
The intensity of the radiation for cell phone and Wi-Fi exposure is measured in microwatts per square centimeter. Most Western countries impose safety limits of EMF radiation exposure from routers and other sources at 100 to 350 microwatts per square centimeter. In comparison, the U.S. keeps the safety limits at 1000 microwatts per square centimeter. Almost every EMF radiation source exceeds U.S. safety standards.
Man-Made Radiation vs. Natural Radiation
It is very important to note that EMF radiation is completely natural. Electromagnetic fields and waves are coming from the earth and from the universe as well. And those EMF radiations can be much more dangerous as it falls in the ionizing region of the whole EMF spectrum.
Moreover, even all living creatures (including humans) emit EMF radiation. Sunlight is also a part of the same spectrum.
With that in mind, it is important not to fear radiation, at least not the non-ionizing portion of the spectrum. However, since physicists and biologists cannot come to the same conclusion yet, some precautions should be applied.
The list you can do is to do the best to turn of all electronic devices, including your WiFi when you go to sleep. Since you sleep about 8 hours, you will noticeably protect yourself with that simple move.
FAQs – Frequently Ask Questions
How Exactly Does Wi-Fi Work?
Wi-Fi network transmits information across networks through radio waves. A wireless adapter helps translate the data being transmitted into a radio signal. This signal is then transmitted through the antenna, which goes through a so-called decoder or a router.
Does Wi-Fi Radiation Do Anything to My Body? Isn’t it Harmless?
Wi-Fi routers emit electromagnetic or EMR radiation in low gigahertz frequency. World Health Organization considers this man-made radiation to be dangerous to people. Read more about how EMR radiation can impact your health in the chapter ‘How Dangerous Is (EMF) Radiation Emitted from Wi-Fi?’.
Where Is the Best Place to Put the Wi-Fi?
The exact distance between you and the router that is considered to be safe depends on various factors, such as the router, the room, physical blockages in between, etc. As such, it’s impossible to determine the exact safe distance in meters. However, based on some country’s safety limits of EMF radiation exposure from routers, the general rule is to place the router so far away from you that the exposure where you are located drops to about 100 to 350 microwatts per square centimeter. You can reduce the distance by using some physical radiation blockages, such as a Faraday cage, EMF shielding materials, radiation protection paint, a Wi-Fi router guard, etc.
Can I Place A Router In My Bedroom?
No. Your router should be placed as far away from your bedroom as possible. Why? Because your body needs rest and EMF radiation can interfere with your sleep patterns. In fact, you should make your bedroom a completely radiation and technology-free zone. The only way that it’s safe to have a Wi-Fi router in your bedroom is if you turn off the signal at night.
What Else Emit EMF Radiation In Our Homes?
Nowadays, there are numerous EMF radiation-emitting electronic devices to be found in virtually any home. Some of these devices emit strong RF signals (for example, Wi-Fi routers) and others emit ELF radiation. Some of these devices include cellular phones, laptops, tablets, baby monitors, induction cooktops, microwave ovens, smart meters, smart TVs, wireless speakers, wireless headphones, wired headphones, electrical wiring, under-the-floor heating, radios, infra-red heaters, saunas, hairdryers, refrigerators, printers, electric panels and outlets, electrical heaters, CD players, DVD players, computer monitors, digital cameras, digital watches, hearing aids, smoke detectors, garage door openers, car keys, smart keys, and more.
Is It Safe To Have A Modem In Your Bedroom?
As a modem’s job is to take the cable from your provider and translate it into the internet, which your router can then distribute, the modem is not pushing a Wi-Fi signal, at least most of the time, and thus doesn’t represent a high radiation risk. Therefore, it is theoretically OK to have a modem in your bedroom and connect it with a very long ethernet cable to the router, which is located in another part of the home. Because ethernet cables are commonly shorter and the modem is placed near the router, this is an unusual arrangement.
As companies strive to simplify electronic devices, many of the more recent modems also act as routers. These, so-called 2 in 1 modems, on the other hand, should be kept as far away from the bedroom as possible. If you do keep them in your bedroom, make sure to turn off the signal at night and thus minimize your exposure.