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Understanding the Health Implications of 5G: Insights and Expert Opinions

WAVETHRU is in mitigating health concerns by improving indoors signal strength and avoiding phones to emit higher levels of radiation.

We have all struggled to get a constant, reliable phone signal at some point. Dropped signal, low signal strength and too many people trying get access at the same time. These are just some of the daily interferences that affect our ability to achieve a smooth connection.


This can be a particular challenge in busy co-working spaces where a lot of people are making connections in converted buildings that may not always be able to deliver the signal strength required.


But as the world gears up for the 5G revolution and the constant need for more connectivity, it's crucial to delve into the health implications this advanced technology brings.


Did you know that the less connectivity you have the more waves a mobile phone emits searching for the connection?


In fact mobile phones adjust their power output based on signal quality. In areas with good reception, they operate on just a few milliwatts of power, but in areas where the signal is weak, they may increase their power output to several watts.

A research from California Department of Health scientists found that radiation emissions from a cell phone in areas of low signal can be 10,000 times higher than in areas of high signal. 


Other tests have found that most radiation comes from the Wi-Fi and the mobile used data. When making a long phone call with Wi-Fi or mobile data on, peaks from the internet activity will cause higher radiation values.

What all this means was explored by the IMEC & Ghent University, study “Comparison of downlink and uplink RF exposure from telecommunications with and without WAVETHRU glass by in-situ measurements.”


It assessed whether RF-transparent glazing also has a beneficiary effect on the RF-EMF exposure of an indoor mobile-phone user. It measured both downlink (from base station to user) and uplink (from user to base station) exposure, parameters for three types of mobile usage in windowed offices with and without WAVETHRU glass. An assessment and comparison of the total absorbed dose was performed for different types of users (e.g., heavy user vs. typical user).


The research indicated that the majority of radiation exposure from using a smartphone originates from the device, with minimal contribution from the base station. The findings reveal a significant disparity, showcasing a ratio of approximately 1200 to 1 between the radiation doses received from an indoor mobile-phone compared to those from the base station, significantly exceeding outdoor levels.

The impact of traditional 5G technology vs. WAVETHRU

The aim of this research was also to evaluate and compare the effectiveness of two scenarios: one where the building remains impervious to signals, and another where the building's transparency allows for unobstructed wave transmission.

Where the building remains impervious to signals, installing a Distributed Antenna System (DAS) or a repeater has been the go-to solution to enhance poor signal reception within a building. This involves setting up a network of base stations inside the building to ensure continuous signal emission.

However, the study explores an alternative approach: making the building's structure transparent to radio waves. This approach is precisely the one developed by WAVE by AGC. Its product line WAVETHRU allows external signals from the Base Transceiver Station (BTS) to penetrate the building directly, improving communication between the base station and the phone.

As a result the phone puts less strain on its antenna when connecting to the base station, which means that it uses less power and generates less waves. The study found that with WAVETHRU the phone emits one quarter of the quantity of waves, resulting in a 76% reduction in RF exposure for the typical user. Professor Joseph Wout, a co-author of the study, further explains that during the 2G voice call and both 4G scenarios, the highest durations of phone usage were observed in offices not equipped with WAVETHRU, with four out of the five or six top measurements. On average, phone usage time was 36–75% lower in offices equipped with WAVETHRU, compared to those without it or those not adjacent to an office with WAVETHRU. It's important to note that the difference in phone usage time was less significant during the 4G file upload compared to the other scenarios. Interestingly, phone usage was generally lower during a 4G file upload than during a 4G video call. Yet, in offices with WAVETHRU, phone usage time was actually higher. This is logical since a faster data transmission might require more transmit power (i.e., more energy transmitted in less time), and the data throughput was on average four times higher in offices with WAVETHRU. In fact, the average data throughput exceeded 10 Mbps in only two offices, both of which were equipped with WAVETHRU glazing.

4G, 5G, and the health impact 

WAVETHRU offers a dual benefit in data transmission with 4G. The phone consumes less power to establish a connection, and it also requires less time to send a specific volume of data, thanks to the availability of more 4G bands. As we embrace 5G, concerns around RF exposure and health increase due to its higher frequency and the need for more base stations.


However, technologies like WAVETHRU play a crucial role in mitigating these concerns by improving indoor signal strength and reducing the need for phones to emit higher levels of radiation and enabling faster data transfer and a potential reduction in health concerns associated with RF emissions.  

Restoring connectivity and reducing RF exposure: the vibrant mix of WAVETHRU

Compared to the low-emissivity coated glazing found in modern passive buildings, WAVETHRU clearly improved the indoor-outdoor radio connection, with higher received powers of the base station signals (downlink) and lower transmit powers of the user device (uplink), as well as higher throughputs.


For those looking to minimize mobile phone emissions in challenging spaces, WAVETHRU by AGC presents an innovative solution, promising a new era in connectivity while addressing health concerns related to mobile phone use. It also offers a cost-effective, maintenance-free solution for preserving network security and privacy.


To learn more about how to reduce the waves emitted by mobile phones even in the most challenging of spaces talk to the WAVE by AGC team.

Want to know more on how to enhance the mobile communication experience in your working space and to ensure a safe environment? 

Request a free audit for your co-working space right here



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