Proximity of Access Points to Sleeping Quarters

Unanswered Question
Aug 21st, 2008

My dorm room has a Cisco Aironet 1250 access point mounted on the wall about three feet away from where I sleep. I am concerned about it transmitting so close to me while I sleep. Things like tumors and brain cancer come to mind. Can anybody comment on the physical positioning of this access point? Is my concern unwarranted? Thanks.

I have this problem too.
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rob.huffman Thu, 08/21/2008 - 10:42

Hi Alan,

This is an excellent question, that most of us have asked at one point. There is much conflicting information regarding the Health effects of "Wireless". It is good to be well versed on the subject and to realize that the bottom line truly is that this had not been studied for a long enough time frame for anyone to know the absolute truth. Here are some good example Pro/Con type articles;

"There is currently insufficient scientific basis for concluding either that wireless communication technologies are safe or that they pose a risk to millions of users.... FCC radio frequency radiation guidelines are based on protection from acute injury from thermal effects of RFR exposure and may not be protective against any non-thermal effects of chronic exposures."

U.S. Food and Drug Administration, February 2000

Cisco Aironet 1200 Series

Wireless Systems and RF Safety Issues

This document discusses the results of research into the possible health effects of RF devices.

All Cisco and Linksys wireless products are evaluated to ensure that they conform to the RF emissions safety limits adopted by agencies in the United States and around the world. These evaluations are in accordance with the various regulations and guidelines adopted or recommended by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)* and other worldwide agencies**.

World Health Organization - Electromagnetic fields and public health

Canadian university says no to WiFi over health concerns

Health fears lead schools to dismantle wireless networks

Low-Power Wireless Devices Pose No Known Health Risk

Do low-power wireless devices such as WLAN client cards, access points, or RFID tags pose a health threat? Available evidence today suggests that there is no clear correlation between low-power wireless use and health issues.

Recent studies strongly suggest that the use of cellular telephone equipment does not create health risks. Two important recent studies that reached this conclusion are:

• A report written by Dr. John D. Boice, Jr. and Dr. Joseph K. McLaughlin of the International Epidemiology Institute in the United States in September 2002 for the Swedish Radiation Protection Authority.

• A report to the European Commission from the Scientific Committee on Toxicity, Ecotoxicity, and the Environment, titled "Opinion on Possible Effects of Electromagnetic Fields, Radio Frequency Fields, and Microwave Radiation on Human Health."

Few studies deal directly with the affects of WLAN devices. The emission levels of WLAN and RFID tags are below RF emission levels from typical cellular telephones. Therefore, any conclusions relating to the safety of cellular telephone equipment can almost certainly be applied to WLAN or RFID devices**.

The RF emission levels from a typical WLAN are well within the safety emission level thresholds set by the World Health Organization (WHO)***

Hope this helps!


dennischolmes Fri, 08/22/2008 - 13:08

I know not the answer for the same reasons that Rob has stated. I will tell you this however, I wouldn't sleep that close to any RF device. Just a quick question with a little humor in it. Do you often dream of "0"s and "1"s? Just kidding man.

rob.huffman Fri, 08/22/2008 - 15:15

Hey Dennis,

Thanks for some nice levity for a Friday :) +5 points for your insight and humour!

Alan... our rule of thumb is that AP's are at least 10 to 12 feet away from any seating area (we don't have any in our Residence rooms).

I wouldn't sleep that close either. I have enough crazy IT dreams as it is.

Take care,


ajhogan2008 Fri, 08/22/2008 - 16:52

I appreciate everybodys input. The people at the university thought I was odd for showing this concern. I guess I will be quite odd by the end of the year if they don't relocate the AP.

Scott Fella Sat, 08/23/2008 - 06:04

That is a concern with alot of wireless engineers, but I think they just get too use to working with the equipment. For example, mesh ap's are suppose to be mounted with a distance of at least 12' from the 'tallest' person head to the bottom of the rf antenna. What you have to look at is 802.11a/b/g/n runs on 2.4GHz and 5GHz just like cordless phones that are right up to your ear and microwave ovens. Microwave ovens emit a lot of interference on a 2.4GHz wifi system. So do you still look into the door of the microwave to see if you pizza is cooked? I do.... hahaha

And I always wonder if one day my job will affect me in a bad way. Here is a link to an article of a cancer center that halted the install of wifi in their facility.

Just my thought....

ajhogan2008 Sat, 08/23/2008 - 06:23

The University has relocated the wireless AP out of my room! Everybodies input helped support my cause. I am sure there are probably additional AP's directly below or above my room but at least they are not staring me in the face as a constant reminder. Thank you!

rob.huffman Sat, 08/23/2008 - 07:48

Hi Alan,

Good stuff! I was just looking at this a little further when you posted this up.+5 points for raising this issue.

Scott ...+5 points for weighing in on this (I liked the Pizza analogy :)

Here is a little more fuel for the fire;

This article has some interesting references to the effects of RF on "sleep patterns";

This has links to quite a few interesting articles;

This "clip" is very much applicable here;

'The research hasn't been done - we cannot assume that wireless networks have no effects', expert warns

Take care,


PS: I do have WIFI in my home, just not right beside my head while I sleep ;-)


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