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Health Phys. 2013 Aug;105(2):177-86. doi: 10.1097/HP.0b013e31828f5805.

Radiofrequency energy exposure from the Trilliant smart meter.

Author information

1
Department of Bioengineering, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia PA 19104, USA. kfoster@seas.upenn.edu

Abstract

This paper reviews radiofrequency (RF) field levels produced by electric utility meters equipped with RF transceivers (so-called Smart Meters), focusing on meters from one manufacturer (Trilliant, Redwood City, CA, USA, and Granby, QC, Canada). The RF transmission levels are summarized based on publicly available data submitted to the U.S. Federal Communications Commission supplemented by limited independent measurements. As with other Smart Meters, this meter incorporates a low powered radiofrequency transceiver used for a neighborhood mesh network, in the present case using ZigBee-compliant physical and medium access layers, operating in the 2.45 GHz unlicensed band but with a proprietary network architecture. Simple calculations based on a free space propagation model indicate that peak RF field intensities are in the range of 10 mW m or less at a distance of more than 1-2 m from the meters. However, the duty cycle of transmission from the meters is very low (< 1%). Limited measurements identified pulses from the meter that were consistent with data reported by the vendor to the U.S. Federal Communications Commission. Limited measurements conducted in two houses with the meters were unable to clearly distinguish emissions from the meters from the considerable electromagnetic clutter in the same frequency range from other sources, including Wi-Fi routers and, when it was activated, a microwave oven. These preliminary measurements disclosed the difficulties that would be encountered in characterizing the RF exposures from these meters in homes in the face of background signals from other household devices in the same frequency range. An appendix provides an introduction to Smart Meter technology. The RF transmitters in wireless-equipped Smart Meters operate at similar power levels and in similar frequency ranges as many other digital communications devices in common use, and their exposure levels are very far below U.S. and international exposure limits.

PMID:
23799502
DOI:
10.1097/HP.0b013e31828f5805
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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