LEXNET: Low EMF Exposure Networks

Project Description

Over the past 30 years, wireless communications systems that are using electromagnetic fields (EMF), have been increasingly used. The versatile use of new mobile phones, and the development of home wireless networks, as well as the emergence of pervasive wireless systems, are strengthening this tendency.

To date, no adverse health effects have been established, although questions still exist, http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs193/en/. In order to respond to the public concern, some national or local authorities have recommended some practices and measures to minimise EMF exposure, but these actions focus mainly on cellular network base stations and access points. Since the exposure is induced by the downlink (from the network to the user device), but also by the uplink (from the user device to the network), these actions do not correctly respond to the relevant questions.

Seventeen leading telecommunications operators, vendors, research centers and academic institutions have launched the LEXNET project (Low EMF Exposure Networks), a research project supported by the European Commission under the FP7 work program, to develop effective mechanisms to reduce by 50% (at least) the public exposure to EMF, without compromising the quality of service.


Technical objectives

  • To develop a holistic methodology to characterise the EMF human exposure generated by wireless networks, including suitable metrics and an EMF Exposure Index (EI);
  • To assess the EMF exposure by relevant and in-situ EMF measurements, through wideband non-invasive wearable dosimeters;
  • To assess the potential of state-of-the-art radio network architecture principles and radio link technologies in terms of EMF exposure
  • To derive deployment recommendations to reduce the EMF human exposure of wireless networks;
  • To develop radio technologies and radio link concepts that contribute to a low EMF human exposure network operation;
  • To validate the objectives through a deployment in a Smart City and several prototyping platforms;
  • To contribute to the standardisation of methodologies and metrics to establish a framework for evaluating the EMF exposure.

Technical Work Packages

LEXNET achieves its goal and vision by research in five technical Work Packages (WPs):

Defining a human EMF EI combining exposure induced by access points or base stations and the exposure induced by personal devices (laptop, mobile…) for different wireless standards. Analysing socio-economic impact, people’s risk and risk perception in order to take into account these aspects in the EI and in the way to communicate (WP2);

Investigating the design of a small wearable dosimeter that provides ‘in situ’ and real time measurements of the EMF over the whole LEXNET frequency band. Designing an expert system and developing a methodology that combines the distributed time-domain dosimeter and network measurements to calculate the EI (WP3);

Developing innovative technological radio components and radio transmission techniques that optimise the EI defined in WP2 (WP4);

Designing effective network topologies that will further reduce the ubiquitous and ever-increasing electromagnetic radiation to acceptable levels, while also maintaining low cost, efficient communication and required QoS (WP5);

Validating the low EMF radio and network solutions developed in the previous WPs by means of real-world prototypes and system level simulators. Deploying EMF dosimeters over a Smart City scenario (WP6).