Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Disabling Wireless (on Windows Computers)

When computers and peripherals are switched on, installed wireless network adaptors typically start searching for suitable signals within 60 seconds. They tend to search for networks anytime power is supplied to them, even if they have been disabled in Software.  

To temporarily disable wireless capability via software, computers may make use of a Function (Fn) key, usually blue, and the F2 Function button. Multiple presses of F2 (or whichever key has the wireless icon on it) while pressing the Function (Fn) key will typically step through the wireless options: Wireless LAN, WLAN & Bluetooth, Bluetooth, All Wireless Off.  

Turning All Wireless Off should be done routinely when wireless is not required to reduce exposure of those nearby to microwave (RF) electrosmog and to save battery life. To minimise exposure further, computers should have their wireless adaptor(s) permanently removed or have their wireless adapters also disabled in ‘Hardware’. The latter typically involves disabling the device driver via Control Panel. 

Disabling Wireless in Hardware:
(Windows XP. Similar in Windows 7)

Left Click Start
Control Panel
Device Manager
Network adaptors - select wireless adaptor (802.11b/g/n Bluetooth)
Right Click Disable
Left Click to Accept

BT Home Hubs (V2.0) and others that incorporate a Cordless (DECT) Phone Base Station may not allow the cordless transmitter to be turned off. Upon representation, BT may be willing to substitute a v3.0 which does support this feature if, for example a v2.0 ‘no longer works’ or if the user states that they cannot tolerate it due to ‘Electro-Sensitivity’. BT FON routers as supplied now default to opt-in so straight out of the box your home will become a wireless hot-spot.

To minimise wireless exposure to everyone in the vicinity (typically a 300 metre radius) LAN 10/100 network cables should be used instead. Local Area Network (LAN) cables enable Internet connections to be shared between computers and other LAN enabled devices using simple inexpensive plugged-in Ethernet Mini-Hubs or Switches. They are typically a faster and more secure way of interconnecting computers and accessing the Internet.

Similarly, peripherals such as printers may also be wirelessly enabled and should be hard wired (via a USB port) and their wireless capabilities disabled. Check Operating Manuals for how that can be achieved as many now default to wireless or are programmed to require wireless to be enabled to access some features and upgrades.