Super Wi-Fi is it Safe?
August 12, 2017
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On the horizon it looks like we’ll have ultrafast wi-fi, and maybe more health problems. According to the UK Telegraph, ultrafast wi-fi, which is 100 times quicker than today’s mobile networks, could send complex data using high-frequency radiation.
The researchers sent video signals using terahertz, rather than traditional microwaves, at speeds of 50 gigabytes per second. Most wireless networks only operate at top speeds of 500 megabytes a second.
“We showed that we can transmit separate data streams on terahertz waves at very high speeds and with very low error rates,” said Daniel Mittleman, a professor in Brown University’s School of Engineering, in Providence, US.
Terahertz waves have higher frequencies than microwaves and therefore a much larger capacity to carry data. Experiments showed that transmissions were error-free up to 10 gigabits per second, which is much faster than today’s standard wi-fi speeds.
So are the waves harmful?
An article in the MIT Technology Review suggests yes and no. Terahertz photons are not energetic enough to break chemical bonds or ionise atoms or molecules. But “some studies reported significant genetic damage while others, although similar, showed none,” says Boian Alexandrov at the Center for Nonlinear Studies at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico.
Alexandrov created a model to investigate how THz fields interact with double-stranded DNA and what they’ve found is remarkable. They say that although the forces generated are tiny, resonant effects allow THz waves to unzip double-stranded DNA, creating bubbles in the double strand that could significantly interfere with processes such as gene expression and DNA replication.
A 2013 study performed on lab-grown human skin suggests that short but powerful bursts of THz radiation may both cause DNA damage and increase the production of proteins that help the body fight cancer.