Like it or loath it, the modern world runs on the internet. In just a handful of decades, the world wide web has branched out into almost every aspect of our lives. From the 5G-enabled mobile in your pocket to the Netflix shows you watch on your smart TV, the internet permeates everything we do and, to that end, it’s almost impossible to avoid coming into contact with WiFi at some point.
The term WiFi is now so synonymous with internet connection that we almost take these magical wireless waves for granted. Just a few years ago, the notion of a ‘WiFi Hotspot’ felt new and exciting. Now almost every pub or cafe you go into has a sign advertising free WiFi and it’s hard to get away from people who sit around staring at their phones.
But how does WiFi really work? And do we pay a cost for the endless convenience?
In today’s WaveWall exclusive article, we’ll be digging deep into the truth about how modern wireless internet infrastructure operates, what it’s doing to our country, and what you can do to protect yourself from this potentially dangerous hazard. So, without further ado, let’s take a closer look at WiFi Towers.
Table of Contents
Mass Communication Infrastructure
WiFi towers certainly aren’t the only brand of mass communication infrastructure you’ll see dotted across Britain’s countryside but they are one of the most prevalent.
Not that you’d know it. After all, ever since the early days of mobile phone technology, these large metal eyesores have become so commonplace that we’ve almost learned to overlook them. Nonetheless, it’s almost impossible to go walking in the country without seeing one of these large metal towers peaking over the horizon.
But who owns these towers? And are they any legal limits on where they can be built?
In the UK, most WiFi and telecoms towers are owned and operated by a handful of companies such as BT, Vodafone, EE, and Three with little to no government intervention. While the government do have to power to construct and operate their own WiFi towers, the vast majority of UK WiFi and telecoms infrastructure is held in private ownership.
In terms of rights, telecoms companies generally do have to get a permit from the local authorities as well as purchasing or leasing the rights to the land. In theory, this should prevent these companies from building towers wherever they want with no consideration for population or natural beauty but, unfortunately, this is not always the case. There are various reasons why local authorities may prioritise the building of WiFi towers despite the risks, but when you get right down to it, the approval process for WiFi Tower construction is relatively simple compared to other such projects.
The Different Types Of Communication Towers
As we said before, there are quite a few different times of telecoms towers, each of which come with their own unique pros and cons, but crucially they can be almost impossible for the layman to tell apart. As a rule, if a new tower is being constructed in your area it’s likely to be one of the following:
- 5G Towers expand and improve mobile data internet speeds across the country
- Mobile Phone Towers make it possible for you to call and text on the go
- Microwave Towers use microwave signals to communicate over long distances for industries such as radio astronomy and radar
- TV Towers send terrestrial TV signals across the country
- Radio Towers transmit radio signals
- Emergency Communication Towers are a network setup to allow emergency services to operate independently of mainstream telecoms networks
That being said, without a detailed knowledge of how they work and operate, it can be very difficult to identify these towers apart.
All Shapes And Sizes
One point we really want to stress is that WiFi towers really do come in all shapes and sizes meaning that the layman really wouldn’t have much chance of identifying them from other types of telecoms towers.
However, while the specific frequencies transmitted by WiFi towers are not the same as other telecoms towers, in a general sense, the end result is the same: large-scale exposure to RF and EMF frequencies.
We mention this to say that while the rest of this article does mostly deal with the specifics of WiFi towers, much of this advice is generally applicable to all types of telecoms towers. Put simply, your time is far better spent protecting yourself than identifying the specific type of EMF radiation being emitted.
One thing many people don’t realise is that on top of the large, ugly towers that pervade the landscape, telecoms companies often also own and operate what are referred to as ‘stealth towers’.
As the name suggests, stealth towers are built to blend in with their surroundings and not be noticeable to the average by-passer. While this comes with the obvious advantage that these towers are far more pleasant to look at it also obfuscates the problem of EMF signals.
It’s possible you have a WiFi or telecoms tower on your street and you might not even know it.
Naturally, this raises serious ethical questions for those of us who are concerned about the risks of EMF. After all, it’s one thing to have to look at large, ugly telecoms towers, but it’s quite another to not know where and when you’re safe.
If you want to avoid these stealth towers then the best way is almost certainly through local communication. Why not find others in your area with knowledge and expertise about EMF and put together some local resources on where these towers are?
Do WiFi Signals Contain EMF?
Yes. The radio frequencies transmitted by WiFi towers absolutely do count as EMF.
Other than their purpose, there aren’t many significant differences between the risks of WiFi towers and other wireless signal transmitters. The main danger of WiFi towers, after all, comes from the large-scale exposure to EMF radiation to which most of the population is subjected.
Alternatives To WiFi Towers
Of course, WiFi towers aren’t the only way in which the internet can operate. In recent years, fibre optic cable has gone from being an emergent to technology to an integral part of our WiFi infrastructure and, importantly, does not require WiFi towers!
While it is unlikely that we will see a full phase-out of WiFi towers any time soon, other internet technologies do exist and if we want to see a transition to a low EMF society then it’s important that we start a conversation about how we can make that happen.
Is Exposure To WiFi Radio Frequencies As Dangerous As Other Forms Of EMF?
If all this is giving you serious concerns, then don’t worry too much. Although WiFi towers do emit RF signals and although there are still questions around what RF signals could do to people’s health in the long term, the level of RF radiation is relatively small when compared to other common sources of EMF.
All this to say that, on a personal level, WiFi towers shouldn’t be your prime EMF concern. If you carry an unshielded phone, regularly use wireless equipment such as headphones or wireless charging, or even live with a WiFi router that’s permanently switched on, then you’re likely getting a stronger dose of RF radiation than you would from WiFi towers.
On the other hand, that doesn’t mean that WiFi towers are completely off the hook. Putting to one side the potential for environmental damage caused by WiFi infrastructure, WiFi towers do contribute towards everyone’s RF radiation absorption. While the quantity is lower, it’s spread out over a huge number of people.
Put simply, while it might not be doing a lot of damage to any one individual, there are reasons to suggest it might be doing a little damage to a lot of people. That’s why local action groups are so important for spreading the message and keeping local authorities accountable for protecting the public. If there’s one thing we can be sure of it’s that big tech companies won’t self-regulate any time soon, so we the public will have to do it for them.
How Close Is Too Close?
While the range of WiFi towers can vary quite a bit, the simple fact is that you probably can’t ever fully escape them. Some WiFi towers can transmit up to 75 miles and fact of the matter is that, in the UK, almost any populated area will be within range of WiFi towers.
That’s not to say you can’t minimise proximity, but if you’re looking to get your absorption rate down to zero then you probably won’t find anywhere suitable short of climbing Ben Nevis.
What To Do If You Live Near A WiFi Tower
Living in very close proximity to a WiFi tower is not particularly hazardous in the short term however there’s no way of knowing the potential long-term risks of this kind of EMF exposure. A point we often stress in these articles is that any form of wireless technology can only operate by sending EMF signals through the air. This is true both on the small scale and on the large scale.
On the other hand, with the sheer quantity of wireless technology around us, it’s very hard to avoid some EMF exposure.
What does this mean for you and your family?
There are plenty of ways to cut down your personal EMF exposure enough to mitigate that of a local WiFi tower. That’s not to say living near a WiFi tower will be good for your health, but that, if you take proper precautions, it probably won’t have too serious an impact.
Those precautions include:
- Always using wired technology whenever possible
- Turning off your phone’s Bluetooth and Mobile Data settings
- Not keeping technology in your bedroom at night
- Switching off your WiFi router when not in use
- Avoiding WiFi and Telecoms towers on walking routes wherever possible
- Getting an EMF-blocking phone or laptop case
Remember, cutting out all EMF is going to be difficult, but minimising your exposure and absorption rate will go a long way towards helping you personally.
Your Choices Make A Big Difference
Living in a country like the UK with modern infrastructure and a high population density, there’s always going to be some level of background EMF. With enough public and political interest, this is a problem we might be able to solve over time, but for now, suffice it to say that low-level EMF is something we’ll be living with for many years to come.
That being said, your choices make a massive difference in how much EMF your body absorbs. Remember that wireless signals communicate between devices and so while you’re likely to come into contact with a number of them in your everyday life, they’re far less likely to affect you if you have properly shielded devices.
Here at WaveWall, we specialise in selling high-quality, EMF shielding phone and laptop cases, meaning that you can continue to use your devices whenever and however you like without having to worry about massively increasing your EMF exposure.
Is EMF The Price We Pay For Better Internet?
A point we often come back to in these WaveWall exclusives is the trade-offs we make for technological convenience. It’s hard to deny the sheer value of having easy-access WiFi across the nation but the simple fact of the matter is that we don’t know what the long-term effects of this kind of technology could be.
On the other hand, technology is rarely such a simple either-or. With innovation and expertise, we can usually solve most, if not all, of our problems. That’s why it’s vitally important to keep the dangers of EMF in mainstream discourse to show that this is a problem people care about fixing.
For more updates and information about the dangers of EMF radiation, how to minimise its effect on your life, and how to live a tech-healthy lifestyle then follow the WaveWall blog on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for all the latest from the world of EMF awareness!