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Old 06-05-2007, 08:29 PM   #1
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DSL and Radiation Levels

I read an article about DSL Internet and it stated that it had high radiation levels. Since then, I have disconnected the DSL system when not in use. I know this has nothing to do with gas milage but it does have to do with energy and power usage even at home. I know many of us use DSL for connecting to the web so I thought it may be of some help.

Has anyone heard anything about this?
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Old 06-05-2007, 08:31 PM   #2
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I read an article about DSL Internet and it stated that it had high radiation levels. Since then, I have disconnected the DSL system when not in use. I know this has nothing to do with gas milage but it does have to do with energy and power usage even at home. I know many of us use DSL for connecting to the web so I thought it may be of some help.

Has anyone heard anything about this?
Do you have a link to the article?
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Old 06-06-2007, 04:59 AM   #3
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I read an article about DSL Internet and it stated that it had high radiation levels.
Given what I know about the technology involved, that really sounds wrong to me. Do you have a reference to the article? Are you perhaps confusing "high frequency" signals (which DSL does use) with "high radiation" (which is an entirely different concept)?

The frequency (i.e. how quickly the signal changes) of DSL signals can get pretty high. In fact, that's how ADSL can co-exist with normal telco on the same wires. Essentially ADSL uses the "low frequency" sounds for normal voice, then puts higher frequency sounds (many of them too high of a frequency to hear with your ears) to carry the computer data (using technology that is very similar to the old "modems" of days gone by, only uses different frequencies). It then just takes fairly cheap/easy circuits to split those two signals based upon frequency (so that your phones get the lower frequency "voice" signals, and your DSL gets the higher frequency computer data), thereby allowing both DSL and "phone" to use the exact same pair of telco wiring (and both running "at the same time").

But even though DSL uses high frequency signals, that doesn't mean that those signals are "high radiation" (because "radiation levels" talk about the amount of power that is being dumped into the air, not how fast those signals are switching).

In fact, I would be amazed if DSL "radiation" was even a fraction as high as the "radiation" you get all the time from your cell phone (or your wireless internet, or even your TV remote). Remember, "radiation" for DSL is technically "a bad thing" for the DSL itself, as any "radiation" is lost signal from the wires (because DSL is a wired technology). OTOH all radio frequency "wireless" devices (of any make or design) are required to have "radiation" to do their work (that's what makes them "wireless").

So if you are really concerned about lowering "radiation", stop using cell phones, avoid being in any business offering "wireless internet" (as most "wireless internet" is actually hitting you "all the time" with the same type of microwave radiation your microwave uses to cook food), make sure you don't use wireless phones in the house, etc. Personally I think that's all being rather paranoid. We all get exposed to some "radiation" all the time (if nothing else, "over the air" radio and TV signals are technically "radiation" that we are always being hit with). However, the real question is "Is the radiation of a type and power level to be non-harmful to most humans?". And in most cases, the answer is yes (high level radiation of a type that can be damaging to the human body is regulated, and most of us just don't get that exposure in our day to day lives). Remember, just because something has some "radiation" doesn't make that type and power of radiation harmful. And furthermore, technologies such as DSL strike me as being on the lower end of "radiation" sources.

BTW: At home, I normally sit within 2-feet of my DSL modem (when using the computer). And it just doesn't strike me as a "danger source" for radiation. In fact, even if the "radiation" power levels were fairly significant (which I really doubt they are), any "radiation" that would "leak" from the wires (or the modem itself) shouldn't be any more harmful than say having a 2-way radio (as, given the technology being used, normal "radio" static is by far the most likely type of "radiation" to come out of DSL)!
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Old 06-06-2007, 06:56 AM   #4
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I think we need a better definition of what kind of radiation we're talking about here. Ionizing or non-ionizing? If ionizing, what are the dosage levels? What frequency and power level if non-ionizing? My guess is that we're talking about the actual wireless radio signal (non-ionizing) as opposed to the wires (even lower levels of non-ionizing EM radiation) or anything else about DSL.

Just to put radiation into perspective, the average person gets about 100 mRems of ionizing radiation per year from their environment. On the other hand, the average smoker subjects his/her lung tissues to over 8,000 mRems of radiation per year from Polonium 210 (one of the most powerful alpha particle emitters) that the tobacco companies put into the fertilizer [source the BEIR Report). Nobody seems to care about this.

A little electromagnetic (radio wave) energy added onto what is already all around us is very small in comparison. I'd like to see the basis for the concern.
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Old 06-06-2007, 07:24 AM   #5
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On the other hand, the average smoker subjects his/her lung tissues to over 8,000 mRems of radiation per year from Polonium 210 (one of the most powerful alpha particle emitters) that the tobacco companies put into the fertilizer [source the BEIR Report). Nobody seems to care about this.
I smoke organic cigarettes.
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Old 06-06-2007, 08:41 AM   #6
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I turn my DSL modem off, but not because of any radiation concerns, which there are none to worry about. You get far more radiation standing within 3 ft of your microwave than you will from a DSL modem. The reason I turn mine off is because there are trojan viruses that can take control of your computer at night, causing your computer to live a double life; harmless porn finder and mileage improver by day, evil member of a 'botwork attacking major institutions between spam attacks by night. If the modem is hard off, the computer is isolated. I've heard tell that even if the computer is shut down, if the modem is on the computer can be remotely activated and controlled.

Not to mention that the computer and modem both use power when on, whether you are cruising the net or not.
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Old 06-06-2007, 09:52 AM   #7
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These days your ISP should block all incoming connections up to port 1xxx iirc, so remote access and whatnot should be a problem of the past. Most stuff now comes from various vulnerabilities in the user and os.
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Old 06-06-2007, 09:56 AM   #8
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"There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact." - Mark Twain
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Old 06-06-2007, 04:24 PM   #9
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I turn my DSL modem off, but not because of any radiation concerns, which there are none to worry about. You get far more radiation standing within 3 ft of your microwave than you will from a DSL modem. The reason I turn mine off is because there are trojan viruses that can take control of your computer at night, causing your computer to live a double life; harmless porn finder and mileage improver by day, evil member of a 'botwork attacking major institutions between spam attacks by night. If the modem is hard off, the computer is isolated.
Those viruses exist. However, if you have your computer connected at any time to the internet (even when you are using it), you can get those viruses. The only thing (from a security standpoint) that turning off the modem (when not in use) does, is lower the time in the day when you might get attacked (which is helpful, but not as helpful as you might imagine).

IMHO a much better approach (and the one I take, btw), is to properly "secure your network" against attacks (thereby lowering your security risk at all times, not just during those times when you aren't personally using the internet). For example, like many home routers, I have a firewall built into my router (which I have both enabled AND configured). Then I've got additional software firewalls, and anti-virus (set for very active updates of the signatures) on the computers. Furthermore, I use "FireFox" (with both the "NoScript" and "Ad-Block +" extensions), to give additional security during web browsing. And lets not forget actually patching the OS (and other software on the computer) when new "security updates" are released.

None of these defenses are "fool proof", but properly setup computer defenses will block the vast majority of attacks (and therefore help you much more than just "turning off your modem" would help).

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I've heard tell that even if the computer is shut down, if the modem is on the computer can be remotely activated and controlled.
Only if/when the computer is setup to "wake on LAN" (i.e. wake when something else tries to contact it from the internet). While "wake on LAN" is one option that computers have, most computers don't have that option enabled even when the network card (and computer) support that option.

Which means that for the vast majority of users, when the computer is powered off, it's powered off. And therefore (for most users) a powered off computer just in NOT at risk from the internet, when it's powered off (even if/when the modem/router is still powered on).

NOTE: A small minority of router/firewall devices can be infected with viruses themselves. If that were to happen, it would actually be the router/firewall (which is essentially a mini-computer in a box) that would be infected, vs your normal PC itself. This is a rare occurrence (so I wouldn't lose too much sleep over this possibility), but it has happened on a few occasions (especially with custom firewall software built on top of Linux, because "the bad guys" can also get the source code to the Linux being run). So I would at least be aware of this potential "attack vector", even though it's generally hard for the "virus writers" to properly execute this attack (and it's a LOT harder to have this happen, if you properly password protect your router, instead of leaving the default password, or worse yet no password, on your router).

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Not to mention that the computer and modem both use power when on, whether you are cruising the net or not.
Now that is true. Which is why I will often power down a PC when I'm not going to be using it for a while. And even when I don't power the whole PC down, I'll usually turn off the monitor (to save electricity) when I'm going to be away from the PC for even a few minutes.

However, I use VoIP (internet phone), so I keep my "network equipment" (DSL modem, router, a few "switches", and of course my VoIP adapters) up 24/7 (they are even on UPS power, so they stay up during short power outages). By doing things that way, my VoIP "phone lines" are always available for use (both outbound calls, and inbound calls on those lines). Furthermore I have a cheap NAS ("Network Attached Storage") disk drive, that I also leave connected to my network as a cheap "file server" (although I do have that device set to spin down it's one disk, and therefore going into "power save" mode, when I haven't accessed that "networked disk" for several minutes).

And yes, all this network gear does use some electricity (constantly), but less than you might imagine. For example, a single desktop PC uses more power by itself, than all my network gear combined. And that little fact is another reason why I'm OK keeping my network gear up 24/7, even though I power down the PCs when not in use...
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Old 06-07-2007, 05:39 AM   #10
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Gee thanks for not tearing my post COMPLETELY apart! I do run Firefox, but have to use IE for a few things. Sucks. Still have to get a router, eventually. In the meantime, I run regular antispy and virus programs, and keep things updated, and dream of the day when Microsoft goes to the bin forever. So far as depending on the ISP to protect me, there are a great many companies that make money off people that depend on their ISPs and OS providers to protect them from all attacks. I figure that keeping my connection off unless I'm actually on there lessens the risk that a new virus will slip by, and I'd notice any big change in performance if something does get in. Course, I'm also a bit of a novice at that part of it.
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