Reduce electromagnetic radiation of computing devices


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Nowadays, we're in the midst of a lot of electromagnetic radiation.... So much so, that the term electro-smog has been invented for it. Below you'll find some tips to reduce it within reason (i.e. no tin foil hats!).


Reduce the transmit power of your laptop (only possible for Linux)

1. You can sharply reduce the electromagnetic radiation of the wireless adapter in your laptop, when you're using Linux. This is the most important action, because a laptop is usually very close to your body.

The instruction below is written for Ubuntu and Linux Mint, but it's (with small changes related to the user interface) applicable in other Linux distributions as well.

Note: some wireless chipsets might not support the commands to reduce transmit power. For example when your wireless chipset runs on a Windows driver that you've installed by means of Ndiswrapper.

a. Launch a terminal window.
(You can launch a terminal window like this: *Click*)

Type:

iwconfig

Press Enter.

Now find the current setting for Tx-power. This might for example be set at:
Tx-Power=20dBm

b. Now copy/paste the following command into the terminal (when your wireless chipset is being called wlp2s0; its name could be something else in your system):

sudo iwconfig wlp2s0 txpower 5

Press Enter. When prompted, type your password. Your password will remain entirely invisible, not even dots will show, this is normal.
Press Enter again.

Note: in this example you lower the setting to 5 dBm. This is a reasonable reduction in most cases, but in your case this might not be so. Experiment a bit with different settings, but do not set it at a higher number than it originally was. You don't want to burn up your wireless chipset....

Note: Broadcom wireless chipsets respond weirdly to the normal procedure. For a Broadcom chipset, use the command:
sudo iwconfig wlp2s0 txpower 1mW

c. Now check whether the reduction works. Type in the terminal:

iwconfig

Press Enter.

If all is well, the Tx-Power should now be at 5dBm.

Thus you can make this change persistent after reboot:

d. Make sure that you have installed the applications gksu and leafpad:

Launch a terminal window.
(You can launch a terminal window like this: *Click*)

Type (or copy/paste):
sudo apt-get install gksu leafpad

Press Enter and submit your password. Please note that the password will remain invisible, not even asterisks will show, which is normal.

e. Then type in the terminal (use copy/paste):
gksudo leafpad /etc/rc.local

Press Enter.

Now add the following line (it's best to use copy/paste!), just above the line  exit 0:

iwconfig wlp2s0 txpower 5

So it becomes (example!):

#!/bin/sh -e
#
# rc.local
#
# This script is executed at the end of each multiuser runlevel.
# Make sure that the script will "exit 0" on success or any other
# value on error.
#
# In order to enable or disable this script just change the execution
# bits.
#
# By default this script does nothing.
iwconfig wlp2s0 txpower 5
exit 0

Save the modified file and close it.

f. Reboot your computer.

g. The radiation should be reduced permanently now (check it in the terminal, by means of this now familiar command:
iwconfig

Undo changes temporarily or permanently

Undoing it is simple: just remove the added line in rc.local and reboot your computer.

Need a temporary increase in transmit power (active until the next reboot)? Just issue this command in a terminal window:

sudo iwconfig wlp2s0 txpower X

Replace X by the original transmit power of your wireless adapter (usually in the range of 15-20).

(continued in the column on the right)



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Reduce the transmit power of your wireless router

2. It's obviously not as important as the previous measure to reduce the transmit power of the wireless router, because the distance between your body and the router is much larger than the distance between your body and the wireless adapter in your laptop.

However, this is how you do it:

a. In the router settings, enable reasonable Radio Time Restrictions (for example: switch off wireless transmission automatically during the night hours);

b. Reduce the TX Power, for example to 5. In advanced router firmwares like Tomato or DD-WRT this is easy to do.
Tomato: Advanced - Wireless - Transmit Power
DD-WRT: Wireless - Advanced Settings

If your router firmware doesn't offer this configuration option, then you can buy a power socket with a switch for your router, and turn off the power when you go to sleep. This way you won't have radiation from it when you sleep.

Other hardware

3. Other possible measures are the following:

- Only use a wired keyboard and a wired mouse. No wireless devices.

- Disable Bluetooth by default, and only enable it when needed and for as long as it is needed.

- Connect your printer by USB cable and not by wifi.

- Use external hard drives only by wire.

Want more?

3. Do you want more tips and tweaks for Linux? There's a lot more of them on this website!


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