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Every time I turn on microwave oven, Wifi connection to my computer is disconnected. When the oven's done, Wifi recovers. This means the microwave somehow floats in my home when it's running. Should I worry about this? I am sure contacting microwave is not good at all.

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closed as off topic by Leon Heller, Brian Carlton, Dave Tweed, Nick Alexeev, placeholder Jan 15 '13 at 17:32

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Microwave not good for what? Its just a non-ionizing radiation, like a lightbulb. It makes things warm. –  insta Jan 14 '13 at 16:56
    
@insta Thanks for your comment. People say that contacting microwave and its radiation can harm human's body. And I believed it. But according to your comment, it's not true. –  Tae-Sung Shin Jan 14 '13 at 17:04
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microwaves scare a lot of people because they're "spooky". They don't cook things from the inside out, they don't mutate DNA, they just vibrate relatively slowly. Even infrared is a (much) higher energy beam, and infrared is given off by simple teacandles in droves. The long-and-short of it is that your microwave is just leaky because its cheap, and it interferes with the Wifi. No harm no foul, replace one or the other to fix it. –  insta Jan 14 '13 at 17:09
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Are you guys sure it's actually safe? I understand not caring about a 1W wifi transmitter, but 800W of microwave is another matter. Regulations usually require that they're thoroughly shielded in operation. A definitive link would be a good answer. –  pjc50 Jan 14 '13 at 17:21
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No, it isn't safe. Even if it is non-ionizing, the effects depend strongly on how different tissues in the body absorb it and turn it into heat. For example, it doesn't take very many mW/cm^2 at all to permanently cloud your corneas and take away your eyesight. –  Dave Tweed Jan 14 '13 at 18:07

1 Answer 1

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Yes, you should worry. It sounds like your microwave is leaking enough power to interfere with WiFi at the WiFi frequency. That means it could be leaking substantially more at the cooking frequency of around 5.8 GHz.

There is much debate on what levels of various frequencies of RF radiation is a hazard to humans. Some argue that microwaves aren't ionizing, which is true, and they therefore aren't dangerous. What is really dangerous is assuming you know all the reasons these things can harm you. So microwaves aren't ionizing, but that doesn't mean there aren't other effects they cause that are harmful. Just because we can't name the mechanism doesn't mean there isn't one.

There is data to suggest that microwaves do cause trouble. One of the early revelations came from soldiers manning the DEW line radars in northern Canada. They sometimes deliberately sat in the path of the radar beam (basically microwaves) to get warm. Those people had a much higher incidence of cataracts later. Other effects can be more subtle. The maximum legally allowed leakage power from micowaves has been lowered over time as there have been more suggestions found that these things may cause long term problems.

Just because we don't have a smoking gun or can clearly explain a mechanism doesn't mean there isn't one. In the mean time, it would be prudent to be careful. You don't want to be the museum exhibit of the future labeled "Dumbass from the early 21st century that let his microwave leak and not do anything about it. This was only 50 years after they thought DDT was safe too.".

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Aren't microwaves 2.4GHz not 5.8? –  Grant Jan 14 '13 at 18:46
    
Thanks for your answer. My oven is just 6 months old Panasonic. I will be careful to buy safer one next time. –  Tae-Sung Shin Jan 14 '13 at 18:56
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@Thomas: At 6 months it may still be under warranty. Take it back for a replacement, and if they give you crap mumble vaguely about the FCC, cataracts, and liability lawsuits. –  Olin Lathrop Jan 14 '13 at 19:03
    
@OlinLathrop: You're right that there is a concern since it is leaking, but interference to WiFi isn't enough to establish it violates the leakage limit, whatever it is. WiFi signals are very low power, whereas microwave that causes damage must be very powerful, as the radars you mentioned. The leakage is nowhere near this, and it's also very intermittent in use, but he should go and replace it if he can. –  Gustavo Litovsky Jan 14 '13 at 19:39
    
@Grant, Yes, generally they operate at 2.4Ghz for home use and can easily overlap with wifi and industrial microwaves actually often go down into the 900MHz range(Which I just learned). –  Kortuk Jan 14 '13 at 20:29

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