Monday, November 20, 2017

Wi-Fi in Schools

According to a recent study of Wi-Fi exposure levels in 23 Australian schools, the average exposure in the classroom was 500,000 times below the international limits. This dropped to an average 100,000,000 (yes, 100 Million) times below the limits in the school yard.

These levels are actually not unique. Comparable results have been found in other studies in New Zealand, Canada, the UK and the US. While the resulting numbers vary in the different studies, they were all well below the relevant limits.

In addition, the advice from leading health and safety agencies around the world has been very clear, take Public Health England for example:

“On the basis of the published studies and those carried out in-house, PHE sees no reason why wi-fi should not continue to be used in schools and in other places. However with any new technology a sensible precautionary approach, as happened with mobile phones, is to keep the situation under review so that parents and others can have as much reassurance as possible.

As part of this approach, the Health Protection Agency (now PHE) carried out a systematic programme of research into wireless networks and their use in schools, including measurements of exposures from networks. The project has now been completed and its results support PHE’s view that exposures from wi-fi are small in relation to the ICNIRP guidelines and in relation to exposures from mobile phones.”

And likewise, Australia’s ARPANSA, who conducted the study in Australian schools, says:

ARPANSA’s current advice is that there is no established scientific evidence that the low exposure to RF EME from Wi-fi adversely affects the health of children or the general population.

So for those parents who are concerned about whether there are any health risks arising from the use of Wi-Fi equipment, the results from the studies carried out as well as the advice of the various health agencies should certainly provide some reassurance.

More information:

Saturday, June 10, 2017

EMF Standardisation, Compliance & Certification - practical issues in moving from R&TTED to RED

The new Radio Equipment Directive (RED, 2014/53/EU) has entered into force and from 13 June 2017 onwards new products placed on the European market have to comply with the requirements of the new Directive. However, some of the necessary standards are still not finalised and open questions remain on the practical implementation of the RED with new concepts such as “reasonably foreseeable conditions of use” expanding the use cases beyond what the manufacturer intends for the product.

For these reasons, the Mobile & Wireless Forum (MWF) organised a recent workshop in Vienna, bringing together representatives of the European Commission, the European standardisation bodies and industry to share their expertise, give updates on the latest status and advice on how to deal with the practical implications for manufacturers. The speakers included Phil Chadwick, Chair of the CENELEC TC106X; Joe Wiart, Chair of Working Group 1 in TC 106X; Matthias Meier, Secretary of TC 106X; Michael Sharpe, Director of Technical Strategy at ETSI; and Pier Francesco Sammartino, Desk Officer of the RED in the European Commission. 

ETSI and CENELEC are the two European standardisation bodies responsible for the preparation of Harmonised Standards under the Radio Equipment Directive (RED). These Harmonised Standards enable providers of equipment and services to demonstrate compliance with the requirements of the Directive, and thus be able to sell, deploy and operate them within the European Union. ETSI has released a number of standards for the RED which are currently in the process of being voted upon. However, they can only be officially used by manufacturers for demonstrating compliance once they are published in the Official Journal of the European Union.  

CENELEC’s Technical Committee (TC) 106X committee is responsible for writing the Electromagnetic Fields (EMF) standards for products under the RED and the Low Voltage Directive (LVD) and is in the process of rewriting the EMF standards from the R&TTED to fit under the RED.  While great progress is being made in the standards bodies, there will still be a delay between their approval as standards and their official recognition as harmonised standards under the RED. 

The workshop therefore provided a great opportunity for those attending to learn more about the status of each of the standards, the implications and alternatives for dealing with the delays and how to best manage compliance processes during this period.