Date: Wed Jan 10 17:53:24 2001
Posted By: John Moulder, Faculty, Radiation Biology, Medical College of Wisconsin
Area of science: Computer Science
Smoking and cancer
You ask: Is it a problem to place ethernet hub equipment (or any type of
router/heavy computer equipment) near where people work, or should they be
shielded in some way? Or is the amount of radiation that is emitted so
negligible to be not worth the bother?
The answer to your question depends on:
- what exact kind of equipment you are talking about?
- how high is the power consumption?
- how noisy is the equipment?
- does the equipment produce vibration and/or heat?
- what type of "radiation" you are worried about?
- static electric or magnetic fields?
- power-frequency (ELF) fields?
- radio-frequency (RF) radiation?
- optical radiation?
- ionizing radiation?
- what types of effects are you worried about?
- acute and chronic health effects?
- electromagnetic interference?
The range of possible problems, causes and solutions is nearly endless.
- A simple ethernet hub is very unlikely to create any problems.
- Hubs combined with servers and modems may use a lot of electrical power
and create substantial power-frequency fields.
- Other combinations of equipment can cause substantial electrical "noise"
at a wide range of frequencies.
- In some set-up I've seen there are substantial tripping hazards from
badly run cables.
- I've heard of at least one person being injured by equipment falling
from a poorly-secured rack.
- And on and on...
The issues need to be much better defined before any specific answer can be
Medical College of Wisconsin
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