Can we stop spreading fear over Wifi in schools?

I'm sick and tired of reading stories about groups who think Wifi should be banned from schools. I really hope the only reason we see the is because that particular day is a slow news day.  Even then, the reasoning is so ludacris that I almost don't even know where to begin.

First off, I'm going to apologize in advance if I sound a bit angry and sarcastic here, but it does pretty accurately reflect how this situation is.

The theory behind banning wifi from schools is that the "radiation" from the wifi signal might be harmful to children, and that kids who are in school with wifi are stuck in it for 6+ hours a day, with no way to avoid it.  I use the term radiation loosely, because while it is technically a form of radiation, virtually any type of wireless signal is also radiation.  Radiation is a very negative term, and I think is used in this case in an attempt to scare people.  For many people, the term "radiation" refers to a very dangerous ray that comes from a nuclear power plan, nuclear weapon, or from cancer treatments.  Except for maybe in Japan, the latter, cancer treatment, is the most visible view of radiation.  Radiation kills cancer cells, but also makes people sick, and seeing someone who has been through radiation treatments can be demoralizing, as it makes them even more sick.  I'm not going to call it radiation any more in this post, because I don't want to help promote the negative connotation and attempt to scare people that it implies.

The biggest issue I have with people who are afraid of wifi is a very simple one.  Every second of every single day we are bombarded with other signals which are both mower powerful and widespread, as well as weaker and localized.  Every second of every day.  Wifi is only one type of signal we get.  Over the air TV, radio, microwaves, cordless phones, cell phones, electricity, bluetooth, RF, infared, and my personal favourite in the list: sunlight.

It is a fact that a person absorbs more radiation (broke my own rule, won't do it again) from the sun every year than they do from wifi.  Think about that for a second.  The sun gives off more than wifi does.  the last time I checked, the sun has been in the sky for a very long time, and it looks like we've made out ok since it's been up there.

Then there is every other signal. Can you turn your radio on and get a signal? If you are reading this, the answer is yes, and that means you are getting hit by radio waves right now. Same thing for TV signals.  Those are signals that 99% of the people who will read this are subjected to literally 60 minutes an hour, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Last I checked, after 100+ years of the invention of radio, we're still doing ok.

Cell phone signals are similar.  Most of us are subjected to them all the time.  People assume that the cell phone itself is where most of the signal comes from, but they often forget that a cell phone tower is emitting a signal all the time, which you are subject to.

Other signals, like cordless phones, bluetooth, etc are localized, and you aren't subject to them all the time, but it is likely that you are subject to them often.   Another favourite example are the cordless phones.  Cordless phones operate on the same area of the wireless spectrum as wifi, and they are also always on.  And 15+ years of cordless phones later, I still feel ok.

Without getting too much into the science of wireless spectre, which i am by no means an expert on it, signals from wifi are much higher in the spectrum than many signals, the 2.4GHz band and 5GHz band specifically.  Again, without getting into too much of the science, the way that wireless works is that the higher the number, the harder it is for a signal to travel longer distances and pass through walls and penetrate people.  This is why the lower spectrum is much more coveted by cellular providers.  Lower frequencies mean that fewer cell towers need to be built because the signal can travel further and navigate between buildings in downtown cores.  Now, because of this the higher frequencies that wifi operates at are actually better, because they don't penetrate people as easily as a lower frequency does.  If a wireless signal was really dangerous, than a signal from a lower station on the AM radio dial (630MHz for example) would be far more dangerous than a wifi signal since they penetrate walls and people so much more easily.  But again, After 100+ years of radio, I think we're doing ok.

the last bit about the actual wireless spectrum I want to talk about is the most common wifi band, 2.4GHz.  2.4GHz signals are recognized as "unregulated" in the spectrum.  This means that virtually anyone can build any type of wireless device that uses the 2.4GHz band of the spectrum without any kind of government regulation.  This has meant that practically every device you have ever handled that has some kind of wireless feature, be it a wireless controller, toy with a wireless remote, most new wireless remotes, basically anything.  Those all operate on 2.4GHz.  If signals in that band were harmful, would we not have noticed it by now?

The people who are trying to ban Wifi from schools are doing it by trying to make people afraid.  They put the words "radiation" and "our children" in the same sentence, and it makes other people who don't know the science or the facts afraid.  Do we know everything there is to know about how wireless signals work? No.  but 20+ years of using the 2.4GHz spectrum for wireless signals, 100+ years of Radio, and about 4.5 Billion years of the sun being in the sky with no real measurable harm to anything on this planet cannot be ignored.  It is time for these people to stop spreading mis-information and fear and time for not only fact and science, but common sense to prevail.

[link] - Edmonton Journal story