Does electromagnetic radiation from base stations harm health?

Image credit: DesignRage |

The word “radiation” sounds concerning. Electromagnetic radiation is everywhere in the modern world, and everyone lives in electromagnetic fields, but not all electromagnetic radiation is harmful.

For example, a fish tank water pump emits electromagnetic radiation, but just five to six centimeters from the tank, the fields are close to zero. For a computer mainframe, the electromagnetic fields at the chassis are few, safe even for pregnant women.

Communication base stations send signals using electromagnetic waves, simultaneously generating electromagnetic radiation. Ignoring the loss during transmission, the EMF intensity at a detection point within the coverage radius of the base station is proportional to the transmit power of the antenna and the antenna gain, and is inversely proportional to the square of the distance from the base station.

As long as you remain outside the red area in the following figure, the base station poses no health risks. Huawei EMF service is mainly used to calculate the safe distance of each base station and provide a 5G EMF service that guarantees everyone’s health.

Many EMF standards organizations have emerged, including the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP), International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), World Health Organization (WHO) EMF Project team, and others. Their safe distance calculation methods are different.

Will the 5G EMF of existing stations inevitably increase? How can we calculate the 5G EMF safe distance?

The more frequency bands/modes there are on a base station, the more radiation it emits, and the higher the required safe distance. In addition, 5G is generally deployed on existing base stations, leading to more frequency bands and more complex scenarios. Therefore, for existing base stations, overall EMF inevitably increases.

Meanwhile, Massive MIMO is one of the key technologies for 5G. From the perspective of electromagnetic radiation, 5G stations differ from traditional earlier generation non–Massive MIMO stations. Traditional base stations have only one fixed beam, whereas 5G has multiple. Can we apply the previous calculation method for 5G? How can we calculate the 5G EMF? Does the EMF for a single 5G user increase? These are some of the current challenges.

From the perspective of equipment vendors and regulators, effectively testing and ensuring 5G EMF safety and population health remain urgent issues in large-scale 5G deployment.

Huawei EMF evaluation service: Supports all mainstream standards, quickly and accurately calculates the safe distance, and customizes solutions.

  1. Equivalent EMF calculation standard for 5G Massive MIMO scenarios: Supported and recommended

5G Massive MIMO uses MU-BF (Multiple User Beamforming), greatly reducing the equivalent transmit power required by a single user for a base station antenna.

Specifically, for each doubling-user beamforming, the equivalent transmit power of a single user is reduced by three dB.  For example, using two-layer, four-layer, eight-layer, and sixteen-layer MU-BF, the equivalent transmit power is reduced by three, six, nine, and twelve dB, respectively.

Generally, 5G Massive MIMO uses 8-stream pairing or above. Therefore, the EMF of a single user calculated by the equivalent algorithm is the same or lower than with a 4G station under equivalent conditions.

Huawei recommends that this equivalent calculation method be used to calculate 5G EMF. In addition, the standard requirements and algorithms matching each region are encapsulated. In this way, the EMF evaluation and design solution provides quick and accurate results. Huawei also supports the method of calculating the EMF value by using the traditional method of obtaining the maximum transmit power of the base station.

2. Customizing scenario-based 5G site evolution solutions based on EMF evaluation results

Huawei provides various antenna and site solutions to flexibly support EMF requirements in diverse scenarios:

  • Reuse scenario: Based on the EMF calculation result, increase the antenna height, azimuth, downtilt, and transmit power to reduce the base modes and frequency band EMF value of the existing base stations, meeting local requirements.
  • Site replacement scenario: Replace the macro base station solution on the original network with micro base station or pole site solution to reduce power requirements for networking.

For each user, 5G EMF remains constant or decreases. The large-scale deployment of 5G networks is near. It will benefit all organizations, families, and individuals worldwide. We should correctly understand the 5G EMF issue, actively study 5G, and work together to promote 5G EMF safety and facilitate large-scale commercial use of 5G.

This article is sponsored content from Huawei.

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