#538: DECT and WiMax systems
The weblog version of this message is at:
The following is part of a discussion on some of the new communications systems and was sent to this list by Bonnie Hicman:
Below is a brief exchange between two people, one an expert on this issue, the other a reporter re: the new WiMax systems about to be deployed in many U.S. cities, and the new DECT phones already here. It gives a good explanation of the difference between WiFi and WiMax, why we should be concerned, and why the new cordless domestic DECT phones should be avoided. At the end I have inserted a link to a news story re: this new deployment by Sprint-Nextel. There are other stories referenced too. What this means is that any existing cell tower or antenna array can be adapted to this use. Behind the curtain on this is the FCC’s recent licensing of these bands without an environmental review, with obsolete RF exposure standards in place, and the very real likelihood that when the standards are reviewed in the near future, they will become MORE lenient, especially in this bands, specifically to accommodate these new technologies. All the while, there is no government research into the biological effects to humans, much less other species. The industry continues to control the show as well as our federal regulators and the legislature. There is a recent thrust by the CTIA (Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association) to further undermine what little control communities retain under the Telecom Act to site this infrastructure. They are enticing individual legislators at the state level to propose Trojan Horse-type legislation that would override any restrictions on cell towers in residential neighborhoods. And there are clauses inserted in bills at the federal level that have nothing to do with this issue. What’s driving the new thrust is they are going after the cable networks. It’s not just about your cell phone anymore, or public safety, and maybe never was.
Thanks very much for the heads up on these stories.
On another note, my editors are asking for larger-scale solutions
to EMF and RF issues in addition to steps individuals can take to
minimize their exposure. Do you know of communities, or
organizations such as schools that have successfully worked to
mitigate exposure from cell towers? IE has anyone been successful
in pushing for siting that minimizes public exposure? I know you
mentioned the FCC law here that essentially silences communities.
If not in the U.S. are there success stories from other countries?
I’d welcome any leads.
If you want to highlight a real coming problem ,
look today at two articles in USA Today.
The first is on page 2 of the business section titled
“Sprint Nextel picks WiMax for new high-speed network”.
The second is on page 6d titled “Nana Technology: Tools
help seniors to be independent.” which includes an
intelligent phone for seniors with dementia and computer
programs that help cognition.
WiMax is a wireless technology that produces a blanket of
wireless RF over cities up to 10 miles (as compared to 300′
for the average WI-FI installation). You can imagine the high
RF exposures for those closest to the antennas. I don’t yet have
good estimates of the RF power density for WiMax, but based
on its “reach” or coverage area, it is very large.
What is aggravating about the back-to-back articles is that these
new technologies (some of which in themselves are wireless,
exposing people to unnecessary RF) are providing the “solution” to “problems” likely related in the first pl ace to growing RF exposure. Look at the intelligent telephones in this article.
The article says “several places, including Intel, are working
on phones for people with memory problems. The phone Intel is developing user caller ID to display a photo of the person calling, the relationship of the caller, and some notes about their last phone conversation to jog the memory of a person with dementia.”
Well, create the problem (RF exposure causes memory loss).
Then, sell the solution (a phone that replaces lost memory).
When you have a moment, could you let me know if the following
is accurate? I’m trying to clarify the difference between
digital cordless phones and DECT phones, which I understand are
just coming to the U.S. Also, is this an accurate description
of the differences in health concerns over cordless and DECT
My understanding is that there’s a significant dif ference
between digital cordless phones and DECT (digitally _enhanced_
cordless telecommunications) phones. The latter is much more
powerful and networks with computers ( you can use it with
Skype) and is truly wireless.
The first DECT cordless phone (Linksys) was introduced in the
U.S. last October, after the FCC approved the technology. DECT
phones are very common in Europe, however, where they’ve been
in use for a few years.
The main concern about DECT phones is that they’re emitting RF
radiation all the time and never “power down,” so it’s like
having a mini base station in your house.
There’s still concern over cordless phones, which emit RFR when
you’re using them. The main issue is long-term (10+ years)
Thanks again for your changes and the quick turnaround. My
editors have asked for a bit more about DECT phones–how does
one know one’s phone is DECT? For instance, o ne person has
this phone: it says it is 5.8GHz digital, with a digital answering
system. Would that mean it DECT. Is there a way to
find out? Should he get rid of it, and what should people look for on
packaging to know it’s DECT?