I’ve covered a lot of topics related to WiFi on this site, but one thing that I haven’t covered is WiFi towers. In this article, we’re going to talk about what WiFi towers are, how they work, and why this even matters (believe me, it does).
Let’s start off with why you came to this article, by diving straight into what WiFi towers are.
What Is A WiFi Tower?
First of all (and we’ll cover this more in-depth in a later section), Wi-Fi is a series of network protocols that allow digital devices to exchange data via radio waves.
In a practical sense, WiFi is how your computer wirelessly connects to the internet in your home, or at a local coffee shop. If you’re connected via an ethernet cable, then you aren’t connected to WiFi, you are hardwired to that internet connection instead.
So, with that in mind, what exactly is a WiFi Tower?
WiFi towers, sometimes called WiFi antennas, are like really large WiFi routers. They provide wireless internet access to homes and businesses where traditional wired internet connections, such as cable, DSL, or fiber, are not available. These WiFi towers, just like your home router, work using the 2.4 GHz and 5GHz radio frequencies to pass data between the tower, and a WiFi router in the home.
So, instead of the router in your home being connected to a phone line to receive its internet, and then passing that internet to the other devices in your home, your router would instead wirelessly receive an internet connection from the nearest WiFi tower.
How Do WiFi Towers Work?
WiFi towers typically work in series or pairs, meaning that there typically isn’t just a single tower that is passing internet to all the homes around it, like how we think of cell towers. Instead, there will typically be one WiFi tower that is receiving a wired internet connection to the internet, and then that WiFi tower passes the internet wirelessly to another WiFi tower.
Unlike WiFi routers and cell towers, WiFi towers cannot typically transmit data in a full circle, they are instead tuned to directionally pass data to another specific tower. These WiFi towers need to be in direct view of one another, as they are not made to pass data through obstructions.
Once the internet connection has passed from the internet service provider (ISP) (think Verizon, T-Mobile, AT&T, Centurylink, etc) to the initial WiFI tower, it is then passed through the series of towers to the final destination. Finally, it will then pass a wireless signal directly to your home router, allowing you a wi-fi connection to the internet without having to connect to a traditional phone line or cable.
What Is The Range of a Wi-Fi Tower?
Although your home WiFi router likely only has a range of around 300-400 feet, WiFi towers can transmit exponentially farther distances. Modern WiFi towers like we’ve been talking about in this article can transmit data in a single direction as far as 75 miles when paired with another tower.
Your home Wi-Fi router is adept at being able to penetrate the drywall and surfaces of your home to pass information to your laptop, tablet, smartphone, or other devices.
WiFi towers on the other hand typically need a clear line of sight in order to pass the internet from one tower to another. These towers use the same Wi-Fi technology as your router, utilizing the 802.11 standard.
In the last few years, another wireless technology called WiMAX has emerged. Unlike WiFi towers that transmit data in a single direction, WiMAX towers act much more like giant WiFi hotspots and can be accessed for up to 30 miles in any direction, eliminating the need for WiF towers.
Now, at least at the time I’m writing this, this technology is still fairly new, however, I think in the future this could eliminate the need for WiFi towers and it is likely that this could become the new standard infrastructure that ISPs and wireless carriers will begin using to get internet access to those in rural areas that cannot connect via landline or fiber.
What is a Safe Minimum Distance Between WiFi Towers and Residence
This is a little bit hard to say since there is not as much available data on the specific danger of these WiFi towers. However, considering they use similar technology to cell towers, we can probably base our assumptions somewhat on that.
The amount of radiation emitted from a cell tower will depend on lots of factors, including the number of antennas being used, the location of the cell tower on a vertical plane compared to where you are, the time of day and current usage etc.
However, a German study reported that people living within 400 meters of cell towers had over three times the normal rate of certain cancers. Another study done in Israel found that the risk of cancer was nearly 4 times great for people that lived with 350 meters of cell towers.
You can also see the chart below, which was based on surveying of residents living in relatively close proximity to cell towers in France.
So, as a general rule, you want your home (or office or any other place you spend a lot of time) to be at least 1/4 mile or approximately 400 meters from the nearest cell tower.
Since WiFi towers use similar radio frequency signals and technology to cell towers, you could make the assumption that you would want a similar distance from them to avoid excessive exposure to radiofrequency radiation (we’ll cover the potential harm of EMF and RF radiation in a section below.)
Alright, now that we’ve talked about what WiFi towers are and how they work, let’s talk a bit more about WiFi and what some of the potential harms are from your WiFi router or local WiFi tower.
Are WiFi Towers Safe?
To answer this question, we really need to talk about whether WiFi radiation (or radio frequency radiation) itself is safe since that is what is being transmitted from these towers.
I have lots of articles on WiFi radiation, so I’d encourage you to check some of those out if you want to dive a bit deeper, but let’s quickly cover some of the most important points.
First of all, long-term exposure to radiofrequency radiation from sources like WiFi towers, especially in close proximity, has been consistently shown in studies to produce adverse health effects. This is exactly what the World Health Organization in 2011 classified radiofrequency radiation as a group 2B possible human carcinogen because exposure increases the risk of glioma, a malignant type of brain cancer.
It is the same reason that cell phone manufacturers have a limit on how much radiation their phones can produce (called specific absorption rate), and the same reason that cell towers and WiFi towers have warning signs on the fences surrounding them to keep a safe distance, and finally, it’s the reason that schools around the world have begun banning or limiting WiFi in the classrooms.
And of course, this is the same reason that you should want to keep at least a minimum distance between yourself and the nearest WiFi tower.
It is also the reason that people are so worried about the release of 5G wireless around the world.
Even the American Cancer Society, who in large part will not fully say that EMF radiation causes long-term harm, and instead errs on the side of not enough research, admits on their website, that:
“…there has been concern that some forms of non-ionizing radiation might have biological effects that could result in cancer…”
-American Cancer Society
Independent studies have connected EMF radiation from WiFI to a whole host of health issues such as:
- Interruption of brain glucose metabolism
- Increased permeability of the blood-brain barrier
- Interruption of cell metabolism
- Breaks in DNA chains
Frequent and long-term exposure to WiFi also commonly causes symptoms such as:
- Fatigue – Most recognizable is fatigue even after what seemed like a full, or restful night’s sleep, or fatigue that persists through the day.
- Trouble Sleeping – This one is extremely common, as people’s bedrooms have become a hotbed for EMF radiation. From cell phones next to the bed, metal spring mattresses acting as antennas, to the WiFi in our homes, EMF radiation while we sleep is extremely common. In fact, I wrote a whole article about how to rid your bedroom of EMFs and finally get a restful night’s sleep, check it out here.
- Tinnitus – More commonly known as just ringing in the ears, it doesn’t always present as a ringing. Tinnitus is defined as the hearing of a consistent sound when no such external sound is present, and can actually present as a hissing, a clicking, a roaring, or a number of other sounds. This is common with severe Electo-hypersensitivity.
- Brain Fog – or cognitive decline, it is noticeable when you feel that your memory has been declining, or you’re having trouble recalling names, places, or events. It is also noticeable if you are having a tough time concentrating. Some scientists believe that the dramatic rise in Alzheimer’s Disease can be partially attributed to EMF damage and our wireless age.
- Chest Pain and Heart Palpitations – Often seen in patients with EHS, or any reaction to the EMFs around them, the feeling is similar to angina, when blood flow is restricted to the heart. Less severe, but still symptomatic can be a fluttering or racing heartbeat.
- Skin Reactions – Some people react with irritations to the skin like redness, tingling, or even a rash. This is most commonly present in the face and upper arms but can present nearly anywhere on the body.
If you want to learn more about why WiFi is dangerous, check out the knowledge section of my website, or just use the search function.
To close though, let’s answer the question: are WiFi towers safe?
If you are a safe distance (approximately 1300 feet or 400 meters) away from a WiFi tower, then the direct radiofrequency radiation exposure is likely not a health threat. However, it is always important to be aware of the radio frequency radiation being emitted from our home WiFi router.
Luckily, there are lots of ways that we can block or reduce this radiation exposure. You can read more about how to accomplish this in this guide that I wrote.
What Do WiFi Towers Look Like?
WiFi towers don’t have a set specific look because there are many different manufacturers of these towers. Some are much larger than others, some are set up by large telecommunication companies, and some can be purchased and used residentially.
However, I’ve put together a series of pictures found below that will give you a general sense of what these towers will typically look like. You’ll notice that many look very similar to cell towers.
Now that we’ve covered why the WiFi radiation emitted from WiFi towers could potentially be dangerous, let’s close up by covering some important related questions.
How Far Does WiFi Reach Outside?
So for this question, I’m going to assume that we’re talking about WiFi from your home router.
How far this WiFi reaches outside will depend on a lot of factors, but will be primarily determined by the strength and quality of your router. Some routers are outfitted with antennae and are intended to send WiFi signals much farther than others. Some routers are also better at penetrating walls. This is why if you have a large home, you will typically either need a higher quality router, or you will need to use WiFi extenders in order to get a signal anywhere in the house.
However, according to Lifewire, a general rule of thumb for home networks is that the 2.4 GHz band of a WiFi router can send a signal about 150 feet indoors, and 300 feet outdoors.
Where Is the Nearest WiFi Tower?
At least at the time that I’m writing this, it doesn’t appear that there is a clear way to find the nearest WiFi tower. If you receive your internet from these towers instead of getting your internet via cable or DSL then you could likely call your internet service provider (ISP) and ask them where the nearest tower is to your home.
There are ways to find cell towers nearby, and these maps can sometimes show other radio frequency emitting towers such as WiFI towers. I put together an entire guide on using these maps and locating cell towers that you can check out. I’ve also put together a complete guide on locating 5G cell towers near you.