What is a Safe Distance from a Wifi Router?

Once upon a time, your PC is the only gadget that required internet access. However, in today’s digital era, each device you purchase can connect to the Internet. As a result, our homes are engulfed in WiFi. 

It is, therefore, no surprise that a majority of homes have at least one WiFi router.

Granted, these interconnected devices are incredible applications of technology. But, it’s a double-edged sword as the EMF radiation emitted by WiFi usher in various health risks for you and your loved ones.

Most people don’t realize that the exposure to this radiation is indisputably hazardous at close range.

Therefore, people must know and understand the risks associated with WiFi radiation coupled with WiFi router radiation safe distance, which this article delves into.

Ultimately the distance is determined by the power density of the device. We’ll help walk you through the power density and everything you need to know to stay safe in this article.

Calculate the safe distance from Wifi router

With all the potential dangers of WiFi exposure, it only makes sense that you would want to situate your home router to minimize health impacts. But what constitutes a safe distance?

A great starting point would be to apply the inverse square law of physics to determine what an appropriate distance would be.

The inverse square law states that the magnitude of exposure from an EMF or RF radiating source reduces significantly in proportion to squaring your distance from the source.

Conversely, the closer you are to a radiating source, which in this case is the WiFi, the higher the magnitude of your exposure will be.

Based on this information, assume that your WiFi has a transmission power of 30 milliWatts (mW). To establish what a safe distance is, you need to consider the inverse relationship that exists between the distance from the router and the power density.

Let’s calculate that.

The Inverse Square Law Math

The approximate power density function is given by the equation P*G/4Πr2, where P is the transmission power, G is the antenna gain, and 4Πr2denotes the surface area of a sphere.

Woman holding and using a basic calculator

Assume your 30mW WiFi router is placed at 30cm and 1m distances from you, respectively. The power density function can be obtained as follows:

  • For a 30 cm distance calculate 30/4Π(0.3)2to get a power density of 26.5
  • For a 1m (100cm) distance calculate 30/4Π(1)to get a power density of 2.387

You can use the power density to estimate the safe distance that keeps your exposure levels of radiation to a minimum. In terms of transmission power, WiFi router radiation ranges between 30mW for low power transmitters and 500mW for high power transmitters.

It’s also important to note that the distances required might be higher depending on what the value of the antenna gain (G) is. So, it could be anywhere between 1.3 and 7 times higher than the values you get from the calculations.

Using an EMF Meter

If math calculations aren’t your strong suit (it isn’t for most people), consider getting your hands on an EMF meter and measure the level of radiation being emitted by your router at varying distances from it.

The rule of thumb is to aim for readings that measure between 3mW/m2and 6mW/m2. This is generally accepted as safe for people in a home. This distance will vary depending on the transmission power of your router.

If you live in an apartment complex or in a neighborhood where the houses are either conjoined or close together, you might have WiFi coming at you from all directions.

You could even position your router in what may very well be the furthest from you and other members of your household, only to then be bombarded by WiFi from the router on the other side of the exterior wall right next to you.

In that instance, you have to consider other ways of reducing your EMF radiation exposure.

An EMF meter comes in handy to measure all the levels of ambient radiation that you’re inadvertently being exposed to.

How to Test WiFi Routers for EMF Radiation

  • By using a topnotch EMF radiation meter, you can derive the readings for the ambient radiation levels in your home wifi emf radiation levels. For homes with a few devices, the reading can be as low as 3, whereas, in more technologically advanced homes, reading can shoot up to 9. 
  • Regardless of the derived base reading, take it from various rooms, including the ones housing your WiFi routers. Doing so will aid in knowing the accuracy of your later readings. 
  • Switch on the WiFi router and take a reading while standing right in front of it. The reading can be up to 150 watts per centimeter squared
  • Take a few steps backward. You’ll notice the reading decreasing with an increase in distance from the EMF radiation source. Keep track of this distance as it’ll guide you in router placement later. 
  • Upon reaching below 350 microwatts per centimeter squared, you’ve acquired a safe distance. And, the further you go, the safer it gets. 
  • Using this information, you can work out the safe distance from your given WiFi routers, which means you can strategically position it in your home. 

What Are The EMF Radiation Safety Limits?

A wifi router on a wood surface with a small model house sitting on top of the router

Microwatts per square meter measures the power or intensity of the radiation (for cell phones and exposure to Wifi) that’s being discharged. A myriad of Western countries imposes safety limits of EMF exposure from WiFi EMF radiation and other sources at 100 – 350 micro-watts per square meter.

However, in the U.S, the safety limit is at 1000 microwatts per square meter. Nearly every EMF radiation source exceeds the U.S safety limit standards. 

Router Frequency Impacts the Safety Distance

WiFi router radiation in the U.S, whose frequency is lower, utilize different frequency bands or channels that fall in the range of 2.4 ghz range.

Given that easily travel through walls and can deliver WiFi through buildings of up to 70 meters. The 2.4 ghz range of the routers is limited when it comes to the amount of data that can be transmitted over them.

WiFi Routers utilizing frequencies of 5 ghz are increasingly popular as they significantly elevate download speeds.

However, they have more difficulty penetrating through walls.

Therefore, these routers still use 2.4GHz frequencies for the signal to be transmitted throughout your home, not just when the download speeds get to 5 ghz frequencies.

There are 5G routers that are also currently available but use the 60 ghz frequency range.

So, these will encounter even more difficulty passing through the walls, which means they’ll also use the 2.4GHz frequency. They’ll also probably use the 5GHz frequencies to avoid the hindrance from obstructions.

So, the lower the signal’s power coupled with frequency, then the greater the safety distance. While all routers make use of the standard 2.4GHz frequency, the distances required to be safe are still similar.

How Can You Block WiFi Radiation? 

White wifi router on a wood desk with a man sitting at the desk holding a smart phone and an open laptop on the desk in the background

Armed with the knowledge on the safe distance from WiFi router radiation, it’s time to step up to the plate to be protected from the repercussions of WiFi exposure (and other electronic devices and even cell phones).

But first, it’s essential to understand the concept of blocking WiFi for EMF protection. For all forms of radiation, including Radiofrequency (RF), blocking it is a rarity. Instead, it’s attenuated.

Attenuation refers to the gradual loss in force as the radiation penetrates through a material.

1. Physically Blocking the Radiation from WiFi Routers

There are two ways you can physically block the RF radiation emitted by your WiFi router.

  • Utilizing a material that’s a beast in nearly attenuating the radiation entirely
  • Using a Faraday cage whose purpose is to much lower the amount of radiation that’s discharged along with the range of transmission

So, how can you physically block WiFi? Well, this simply entails using a foolproof EMF shielding material (including some metals) that attenuates up to 99% of the EMF radiation.

  • Radiation Shielding Material: It’s a unique fabric that has the uncanny ability to block much, almost 100%, of radiation. If you layer your WiFi router with this material, you’d be able to block a significant amount of radiation. And without interfering with the signal strength. This works well if you want to avoid switching off your router when not in use.
  • Radiation Protection Paint: It’s one of the most popular ways to block WiFi from your router. It’s great blocking from neighboring homes too. The paint has ingredients allowing it to be a physical barrier to RF radiation coming from WiFi routers. The top of the range of radiation shielding paint has an attenuation level of 36 decibels (dB). This means it filters out much, up to 99%, of radiation. And this is with the application of just one coat of paint. 
  • Physical WiFi Barriers: Radiation protection fabric can provide EMF protection too. For instance, you can invest in RF shielding curtains to block WiFi from seeping through your windows. The curtains can be coupled with the paint to entirely block WiFi from penetrating through. 

2. WiFi Router Guard 

This is a handy gadget that uses the same principle as the Faraday Cage. It blocks much, up to 95%, of the EMF radiation discharged by a WiFi router. A router guard also lowers the safe distance between you and your router.

The beauty of this device is it doesn’t interfere with the WiFi reception that you get throughout your home.

Furthermore, an excellent WiFi router guard measures up to 6 microwatts per square meter from a distance of up to 20 feet away. And, at a distance of 12 feet from your router, you may notice that it measures up to 60 microwatts per square meter (at 20 feet away).

3. Turn off Your WiFi 

The third way of blocking WiFi radiation is to turn off your router when it’s not in use, for instance, at night when you’re hitting the hay. Doing so notably reduces your exposure to EMF radiation. So, here are a few easy ways to turn off your WiFi.

Hand turns a cube and changes the word "online" to "offline"
  • A Mechanical Outlet Timer Is Your Friend: It’s one of the hassle-free ways to automatically switch off your router. Have you encountered issues with your WiFi router and had to call your service provider who tells you to ‘power cycle’ your router? The reason for this is that it aids in clearing out any cached data or settings for optimal function. 
  • Set A Timer On Your WiFi Router: It’s effective for nearly every router. However, it entails more know-how compared using a Mechanical Outlet Timer. Typically, you’ll log into your router then set a schedule that involves it turning on and off automatically. The perk of this is that you can have a password in place for it. With a Mechanical Outlet Timer, anyone that has access to your router can tamper with it. 
  • Switch To Wired Internet: It’s an amazing option for the long run if you would like high-speed in your household without the EMF radiation exposure that comes with WiFi. So, switching to wired internet means using Ethernet cables to hardwire your gadgets to your router. You can save the WiFi connection for when you have guests over or when need be.

Here’s a full guide to turning off wifi in the house and on all your devices.

4. Refrain from Signal Boosters

Avoid high-powered WiFi routers and signal boosters. Some provide a signal for up to hundreds of feet. The strong signal means more EMF radiation exposure.

Likewise, signal boosters are created to expand the network across your home. But, this means more radiation. So, it’s advisable to minimize your coverage and devices.

The Bottom Line

Is wifi dangerous? Yes. But now you know the safe distance to reduce EMF radiation exposure from WiFi routers so you don’t have to live without the home conveniences.

While these routers make life more convenient in the technological era we live in, the radiation they emit is detrimental to our health. So, implementing the safe distance from your router, coupled with the above-mentioned ways of shielding yourself from EMF radiation is the key to a longer, healthier life. After all, health is wealth! 

Keep reading about EMFs: Are Bluetooth Headphones Safe to Use?