Other concerns about the wi-fi project


Just Wi-fi sent in this comment, outlining concerns about the free wi-fi project in Penang – this time largely unrelated to health risks – which give us some food for thought:

I work as an engineer with a tech company; installing wi-fi networks is part of my job. To be honest, most of us do discuss how the devices are affecting us. Some of us feel dizziness and some us experience headaches, especially in areas near signal-boosted wi-fi antennas (amplifiers). But again, these powerful devices are to transmit data within building to building and should be ‘away’ from offices, residential areas.

What concerns me is that the installation plan and study have been carried out. There are many challenges for this project.

A well-covered wi-fi zone needs more than one Access Point (AP) and careful planning. Normally, network engineers need to get a detailed analysis and studies over the area: how many estimated users per AP for now and in the future. Poor wi-fi designs will cause users to experience slow or intermittent connection (due to overloaded APs). Have they done the evaluation? What is the maintenance contract between the State and provider like?

Unless the backbone is using cable. Throughput (actual speed) of point to point/multi point is not very high and stable (due to interference from trees, buildings and even human bodies). If using wi-fi/Wimax as backbone… which buildings/location are they gonna mount the antennas? How many outdoor nodes? How many antenna towers will they build near residential buildings? Will you allow them to mount powerful wi-fi dishes on your rooftop?

What about security? Wi-fi’s security is no way compatible to cable. Remember, this is an open network; anyone can sniff your data packet. Does the company have social responsibility over public security? Can we sue the service provider for not taking enough security precautions? Are they willing to upgrade all their infrastructure if new vulnerabilities are found to hack wi-fi and Wimax? (Read further on old technology WEP. Any script kiddy can hack your WEP-key router in less than 20mins (search youtube). This is an old encryption method, but scan around the wi-fi signals now: I would say more than 90 per cent around Penang are still using WEP.)

Every technology has its good and bad; it’s just how we implement it. For this project, I strongly feel uncomfortable because everything is merely announcements, press statements.

Where is CAT value for the project?

Any company other than P1 tendering for this project?

Lastly, we need a place – both virtual (internet) and physical (office) – where we can obtain information on future mega projects.

These sound like fair questions and concerns, which should be addressed.

I would just like to add that private companies are not in the business of doing charity work. Their over-riding objective is profit maximisation. So what are the business models for these companies? If the wi-fi service is free, how does the company hope to raise revenue (and profit) to recover its RM10 or RM20 million investment cost? One of the ways is probably through advertisements on the wi-fi access website. Is that the only source of revenue? More details are needed. Let’s be completely transparent about the whole thing in line with CAT.

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Under the emission power standard, Wifi transmission power is limited to fairly low level. If the power is boosted to transmit wifi signal to more that 100-200ft, then it is against regulation.

“Some of us feel dizziness and some us experience headaches, especially in areas near signal-boosted wi-fi antennas (amplifiers).” This typical symptom of exposure to high power electromagnetic wave – in simple term, zapped by high power radio wave. Long term exposure – sterility or cancer or both.

I think people of Penang need to be educated properly. Just like fire, radio wave can be both good and bad.


I suspect (a certain Gerakan leader) allegedly has “vested” interest in P1. P1 did not get the license originally. It flowed to it through an allegedly “Gerakan” company. Now, whether this is “Gerakan” or not, I cannot be sure.


Hambyul Choi This is what leadership is all about. I was hoping that a DAP government will do a better job than BN. What we need is people who think holistically and long term for the good of the people. DAP is supposed to have some tech savy MPs and ADUN. If they think like the BN ie Gerakan, then it will be tough to move Penang to the next stage. And by the way, the Gerakan people would jump up with the proposals from Red Tone and P1. Same as what happened with the DAP people. Beside the health… Read more »

Hambyul Choi

LKY, I have been thinking about what you highlighted. Makes alot of sense to me. However, I have personally seen how shortsighted decisions are pushed through in the boardrooms despite awareness of the more sound alternatives. My concern is most of our people are not experienced enough nor care enough nor have the foresight to implement anything holistic. We are not considered a market for third world rejected goods for nothing, you know. Although, of course many will disagree as we spend a good portion of our salaries purchasing “cangih” products that are “cool” and “current”. Overall, the population is… Read more »

Hambyul Choi

Thanks LKY!


In response to Hambyul Choi, I am just a humble engineer. I am concerned that we are all being bombarded by all these new wireless services. GSM, 3g, Wimax, WiFi etc. The more we embraced these technology, the more we exposed ourself to potentiall harmful radiation. By the way, the radio wave pollution is more an issue in lesser developed countries than developed countries.Countries who want the services but dont have the infratsructure or unwilling to provide the proper infrastructure to support all these new broadband type services. In other words, these more dangerous technology are sold and shipped to… Read more »


To Jayen: If you’ve got no time for the entire BioInitiative Report. Here’s a recent snapshot: August 31, 2007 – Serious Public Health Concerns Raised Over Exposure to Electromagnetic Fields (EMF) from Powerlines and Cell Phones. An international working group of scientists, researchers and public health policy professionals (The BioInitiative Working Group) has released its report on electromagnetic fields (EMF) and health. They document serious scientific concerns about current limits regulating how much EMF is allowable from power lines, cell phones, and many other sources of EMF exposure in daily life. The report concludes the existing standards for public safety… Read more »


Most average homes installed broadband wireless unit for work at home – fun, living etc, same go to most malls and 24-hour restaurant and Starbuck etc. They have installed the unit to attract customers.
We have wireless waves from Astro, TV stations, mobile phone operators found almost everywhere – technology sadness.
Prevention from harm – heard that expose to sunlight about 20 minutes will help to reduce the radiant waves onto us – True ??


to Jaja :
please stop typing, there is million of virus under ur keyboard, please stop using internet, cause they is thousand of ppl readin your post via wifi, at last please stop bring your mother here…

KJ Lim

There is a report released in 2007, BioInitiative Report: A Rationale for a Biologically-based Public Exposure Standard for Electromagnetic Fields (ELF and RF). This scientific report also acknowledged by the EU Parliament. The summary for public is a good start for the report.

BUT, please, please, read carefully the report. Don’t simply jump to conclusion when you just finished certain paragraphs only.


I guess WiFi has become the new Electronic Folk Devil of the day. Previously, it was radio then television, with their far higher power output… and when nobody died from common exposure to radio and VHF waves, the focus moved to mobile phones. Decades later, people are still alive and kicking… so lets move on to the next one… WiFi… with its lower levels of power compared to our common old handphone. BTW, as you read this, we are being showered by higher power & higher frequency microwaves in the Ku-band from the Astro satellite. The statement (paraphrased) that “with… Read more »

Hambyul Choi

LKY, why the fuss over a mere 2.4 Ghz? Invisible some more! You sure or not? In Penang can get mugged, run over by a car and even drop dead on a 3 inch heel. All these more believable. Are you sure you are not a BN fan?

Chin Lay Teng

Chief Minister, I do not want to be radiated upon day and night. Do I have a right? Do I have a choice?


Just a bit of info that may scare you. Wifi works in the frequency range of 2.4 GHz in what is commonly called the ISM or free band. There is something interesting about the frequency. This is the resonant frequency of water molecule. What this technical googblygook means is that when water molecule is subject to radio energy at this frequency, it has the highest level of agitation. That right, water boils when radiated with radio wave at this frequency. How fast it boil depends on the amount of radio energy radiated. So guess what frequency does your microwave work.… Read more »

Kiamsiap Penangite

Thanks Jayen! Interesting links. Somewhere in wikipedia link you provided stated: “Financing is usually shared by both the private firm and the municipal government. Once operational, the service may be free, supported by advertising, provided for a monthly charge per user or some combination. ” “As of 2007, some Muni WiFi deployments are delayed as the private and public partners involved in planned networks continue to negotiate the business model and financing.” (a little scary this one — Jayen, do you know what model Jeffy is looking at?) As always, I am nervous when I see ads of products that… Read more »


U.S.: Over 116 citywide installations in operation with 86 more planned

So what?? We must follow issit? What is good for America must be good la! Niamah!!!


Some people guarantee cos they know for a fact
Others cannot guarantee cos they know nuts
Yet others argue to make their billion bugs

Some do so cos they are newly elected heroes
Unleashing their new powers for all to see
Sad, sad for all our future generations
Cos fore-fathers are 5 year vision politicians

Mistakes of the west? What’s that?
Listen to the Salesman
Afterall he is paid to convince
Technology is good — buy or else left behind!
And so, we remain, third world savages to the end…!


we need a better sampling of data to substantiate what “just wi-fi” claimed. the fact is that telco engineers can succumb to illnesses doing field work for a variety of reasons not neccessarily radiation alone. industrial chemicals that are used during installation or maintenence work could very well be one of the possible causes…along with harsh working and weather conditions. i’d like to see a controlled experiment if anyone who claims the adverse health effects can really tell the presence of booster amplifiers based on whether he has a headache as what was claimed in the article.


There are many things in life that affect our life. What about water that we drink. Some countries do not flouride the drinking water because there are health concerns. But young children have decay teeth! Even too much chlorine in the water can cause cancer in our human body. What about drinking from plastic cups and bottles? They too cause cancer. What about living close to high tension plyons or the vegetables that grow under these wires because the waste land can be used foe something useful. But we must know that man evolve to adapt. Chinese Malaysians look more… Read more »

lee wee tak

funny, I see 1) low cost flats next to high tension wire and no one complain (off Jalan Genting Klang, Kuala Lumpur is a classic example) 2) guys put handphone in their pockets and think nothing about the impact on their precious manhood 3) women wear 3 inches high heel without worries for their metatarsal or dye their hair without questioning the substance used 4) people smoke, drink, eat oily food, gamble, do not sleep enough, pop in pills, eat MSGs without worrying about their health issues 5) people have ONS or visit ladies of the night and not worry… Read more »


One has to look at the risk and benefit. I think the wifi will bring far more benefit for penang. All tech has its risk. We probably become ill of many other things. If you read CAP mag you will stop breating and eating as everything can cause illness or cancer. But it is good to be aware. Shouldn’t be too paranoid live in fear all the time.

not against hitech

Ppls are not against hi-tech,but are cautious considering the future of all. Pls look thru why ppls are concern: A.Paris’Hygiene and Security Commitee has advised to turn off Wi-Fi access in the capital’s public libraries. http://www.wifiduck.com/2007/12/06/french-library-clerks-say-wi-fi-is-dangerous/ B.The Austrian Medical Association is pressing for a ban on wi-fi in schools. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1549944/Warning-on-wi-fi-health-risk-to-children.html C.Dr Gerd Oberfeld, Salzburg’s head of environmental health and medicine, has described wi-fi as “dangerous” to sensitive people. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1549944/Warning-on-wi-fi-health-risk-to-children.html D.Europe’s top environmental watchdog(2007) is calling for immediate action to reduce exposure to radiation from Wi-Fi, mobile phones and their masts. It suggests that delay could lead to a health crisis… Read more »


>>I tell you a real fact ok. Back in 1984 we realised WIFI/high radiation towers were dangerous when some of my close friends working with very high radiation transformers/microwave towers etc started getting sick. One person died caused by ‘accident’ and the second person very very close to me died of luekemia. Both of them were healthy young men. In fact even as far back as the 1970s we knew microwave technology was a ticking timebomb.<>My advise is very very clear. In terms of safety, cable technology is still much safer. our human body can only take so much microwave… Read more »


I don’t much about ill effects of Wi Fi and stuff like that, but it looks like others like me who are ignorant are talking like they know a lot including CAP. Do your research, come out with facts and figures rather than create unnecessary fear. For those like me go and read the three well documented letters on the in Malaysiakini today.


I tell you a real fact ok. Back in 1984 we realised WIFI/high radiation towers were dangerous when some of my close friends working with very high radiation transformers/microwave towers etc started getting sick. One person died caused by ‘accident’ and the second person very very close to me died of luekemia. Both of them were healthy young men. In fact even as far back as the 1970s we knew microwave technology was a ticking timebomb. My advise is very very clear. In terms of safety, cable technology is still much safer. our human body can only take so much… Read more »