Small Cells and Health - L2
What are small cells?
What is the output power of a small cell?
What research has been undertaken?
Are there safety limits for radio waves - do small cells comply?
What about potential implications for children?
Small cells are physically small radio base stations that complement the macro network to improve coverage, add capacity, and support new services and user experiences. There are various types of small cell, with varying range, power level and form factor.
The smallest units are for indoor residential use with a similar power to a Wi-Fi modem and are sometimes referred to as femtocells. The largest units are for urban or rural outdoors and typically consist of a small equipment cabinet and small antennas. They are often located on existing facilities like street lights, power utility poles and buildings.
Residential indoor small cell - often refered to as a femotcell
Small cells, have a low output power. Typically less than 1 watt for residential home indoor units and typically up to 40 watts for urban and rural applications. The power level of a small cell will vary depending on the use case.
Small cells points emit very low levels of radio waves (also known as radiofrequency (RF) electromagnetic fields) when being used. The safety of radio waves has been extensively studied for more than 50 years.
Numerous independent scientific expert panels, health agencies and standard-setting organisations around the world regularly review this large and growing body of research. These organisations have all reached the same general scientific conclusion: that there are no established health effects from exposure to radio waves below the limits applicable to wireless communications systems.
Are there safety limits for exposure to radio waves and do small cells/access points comply with these?
Yes. Small cells must comply with the same safety limits that are applied to other wireless devices. These safety limits have been established by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP). They have been endorsed by the World Health Organization (WHO) and widely adopted by the EU and governments around the world.
The health and safety of children is important to all of us. Substantial safety margins are incorporated in the standards with which small cells and other radio and wireless products must comply. These safety margins provide protection for everyone, including children.