With 'Pregnant Woman Mode,' Chinese Router Maker Begins Marketing To Paranoids

from the clogged-chakras dept

For more than a decade we’ve noted that while there’s no hard scientific evidence proving that Wi-Fi is a health hazard, that hasn’t stopped an endless parade of folks from declaring war on the humble technology. Numerous schools have been sued for trying to install Wi-Fi networks, and some schools have even banned Wi-Fi entirely based on nothing more than a gut feeling. The campaign against Wi-Fi is generally waged by those professing to be “electromagnetically sensitive,” even though most provocation trials to date have suggested these individuals can’t actually identify when a “harmful” Wi-Fi agent is in the room.

Given that there are now entire towns full of the electromagnetically sensitive, it seems only fitting that some hardware vendors would begin marketing to them. One Chinese router manufacturer by the name of Qihoo has been recently promoting a new router that features a “pregnant woman” mode that the company promises delivers around 70% less radiation than a traditional router (or the device’s other settings). The company clearly comes out and says it’s basically marketing to paranoids (or, to be more compassionate, individuals with likely undiagnosed psychosomatic illnesses), and isn’t basing their claims on any actual science:

“We are targeting people who are afraid of radiation”, he said. However, in a statement to South China Morning Post, Qihoo acknowledged that no definitive link has been made between Wi-Fi signals and poor health. “We aren?t scientists. We haven?t done many experiments to prove how much damage the radiation from Wi-Fi can cause. We leave the right of choice to our customers.”

They are, however, engineers who are very familiar with the effects of radiation, but the fact that they couldn’t be bothered to support the claim with any actual research or data should tell you plenty. Not surprisingly, Qihoo competitor Xiaomi wasn’t too impressed with this new product line:

“The so-called pregnancy mode [of Qihoo?s router] is just a marketing tactic. Wi-Fi usage is safe, so please rest assured when using it [Xiaomi?s router]. We firmly oppose, and feel ashamed of, those who create rumours and arouse instability for business purposes.”

Qihoo’s response? Basically the implication that the company will be proven righteous when the nation’s moms begin dropping dead from 802.11n exposure:

“We will wait and see who has a more profound understanding of Wi-Fi routers, me or our competitors.”

Lovely. If hard science is going to be an afterthought (or more accurately no thought at all), it seems pretty obvious to me what the next step in wireless router marketing is. We should begin selling routers that promise to magically protect all users’ chakras and clogged meridians, while giving the customers’ aura and spirit a bright, shiny luster that lesser routers simply can’t match.

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Companies: qihoo, xiaomi

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Comments on “With 'Pregnant Woman Mode,' Chinese Router Maker Begins Marketing To Paranoids”

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Lurker Keith says:

Re: Re:

That’s fine for some. My first router’s signal reached a few hundred feet down the street. A friend of mine I had given the password to, so his portable game system/s could connect when he was here, told me he’d play games online via my network, while he waited for the Mailman down the street at the mailboxes. I think that requires a pretty stable signal.

Since he moved a few years ago, I have not been able to test my current router’s range.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Actually, given the inverse square law, a 70% reduction in power isn’t all that bad.

For instance, Let’s say that with power X, you get a maximum range of Y. In order to double the range, you would need 4 times the power. In order to halve the range, you could get by with 1/4 of the power. So a 70% reduction would mean using 30% of the power which means you would have about 55% of the range. Still a significant loss, but not quite as bad as you think.

Although, if I were to make such a router and if I actually were concerned with the power of the signal it emits, then in my opinion, it would be a good idea to modulate the power based upon the signal strength of any connected clients. Basically, transmit just strong enough that any active clients get a good signal quality instead of an “excellent” quality. Or perhaps modify signal strength based upon packet re-transmit requests. (Keep getting packet re-transmit requests = poor signal quality = need to boost power. Not getting any requests = excellent signal = lower signal until start getting requests, then boost slightly to eliminate requests).

Such an arrangement would reduce the signal power without adversely affecting range and in fact in a battery powered environment would be a good thing.

PaulT (profile) says:

“”We aren’t scientists. We haven’t done many experiments to prove how much damage the radiation from Wi-Fi can cause.”

“We will wait and see who has a more profound understanding of Wi-Fi routers, me or our competitors.”

Like most marketing guys, he hasn’t thought this through logically. Even if some evidence does appear and definitively prove a link between Wi-Fi and poor health, he’s just admitted he hasn’t got a “profound” understanding of anything. Without the research and evidence, he made a lucky guess, and even he’s saying that he didn’t bother to research that guess.

But, he has a product to sell and he found a way to sell it to the clueless…

jilocasin (profile) says:

Well perhaps not physically...

While there may be no scientific proof linking WiFi radiation to poorer health outcomes, there are other areas of your life where there is ample evidence of the deleterious effects of WiFi radiation [especially if misconfigured].

In particular to your privacy. Whether it’s unencrypted MITM snooping, smart meters broadcasting what you’re watching, and even when you’re at home. To nasty grams from overzealous lawyers.

So, yes WiFi can be hazardous, just not in the way people usually think it is.

David says:


If you are bothered about electromagnetic emissions in a “modern life”, the most effective way to reduce them is likely to install any old Wifi router and tell your cell phone to use it whenever it can find it. That will cut your cell phone emissions down by a factor of 100 because it no longer needs to blast all the way to the next cell tower.

And you are holding your cell phone next to your head and are likely carrying it around next to your gonads.

It does not make sense to address anything but the elephant in the room first. Even if the jury is actually still out even on the elephant.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Shrug

Switching your phone from cell to WiFi might decrease the radiation, but it increases the energy usage considerably. My phone needs recharging five times more often with WiFi than 3G.

I would be careful extrapolating like that. I did a quick search and some say Wifi uses more power and some say less. It probably depends on a lot of factors.

tom (profile) says:

This company is far more honest and open with their marketing then most. They freely admit they are marketing their product to folks that are worried about a problem with little scientific or medical research supporting it. The company admits THEY don’t have any evidence that supports the benefits of their product or the dangers it is supposed to reduce.

If only ISPs, health supplement companies or Monster Cable were as honest with their marketing claims, the world would be a better place.

JoeCool (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

That “experiment” was hardly scientific. They used different rooms of their own house, and I can tell you that most rooms in the same home are vastly different. My computer room, in particular, tends to be MUCH hotter than the living room. I keep the swamp cooler running in the living room as I want to be cool while relaxing in front of the TV (oddly enough, watching internet stuff like Let’s Play and Minecraft rather than regular TV). The computer room is hard to keep cool, and also tends to be lower in humidity. The fact that plants grew better in a different room than their computer stuff doesn’t surprise me at all. It also doesn’t surprise me that anybody took their “experiment” seriously. Try it again where EVERY variable except the wifi is IDENTICAL and then publish the results. It’s crappy pseudo-science like this that’s making the world worse.

Spaceman Spiff (profile) says:

Just maybe...

Just maybe, if you sleep with your head directly in contact with your WiFi AP and its antennas, and it is very active, then there may be a problem. And tell me, what is the likelihood of that? About zero? My AP is in my office in the basement. My wife’s is in her office, upstairs. We aren’t close to either, and neither is anyone else!

If I get brain cancer attributable to my proximity to these devices, then I may change my mind, but I DO understand the inverse square law of radiation – double the distance, 1/4 of the radiation. This is immutable. It is science (even if you don’t believe in science). FWIW, my father was a physicist, as is my wife. Smart people run in our families.

Anonymous Coward says:

I have a great idea. How about instead of using all those nasty radio waves, we simply use infrared red light? After all, it’s just a little warmth. And to deal with all those nasty range and line of sight issues, our new IR router uses a specially designed 2 MW IR emitter that is guaranteed to have all the range you could desire *.

* Fire insurance not included…..

Anonymous Coward says:

Anybody want to take a stab at how many of these people who fear or hate WiFi are using cordless phones on a land line? How much actual radiation do they produce, and at what frequencies? Bad stuff, that radiation! Kills people!! Oh yeah. Gotta turn off all illumination sources, and stay indoors during the day. Light is radiation, too. Also, TV and Radio are bad – they depend on radiation to work. The obvious solution is to time-travel back 100 years before Marconi started playing, and live in a cave – oh, wait, natural background radioactivity existed back then. Let’s face it, we are constantly and forever bathed in radiation of all wavelengths so a little more or less makes no difference.

TruthSeeker (profile) says:

More than one hundred medical doctors, scientists and public health experts from around the world have signed a Joint Statement advising pregnant women to take simple precautions to protect themselves and their babies from wireless radiation. The Statement is part of a national right-to-know campaign called the BabySafe Project created by two non-profit organizations to inform pregnant women about the issue. Studies link wireless radiation to attention problems, increased rates of autism and more. The World Health Organization (WHO) says that WiFi is a Class 2B carcinogen in the same category as lead and DDT, but their own scientists are now saying there is evidence this type of radiation in more harmful than originally thought and that it should be classified in the same category as tobacco, asbestos and benzene.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Studies link wireless radiation to attention problems, increased rates of autism and more. The World Health Organization (WHO) says that WiFi is a Class 2B carcinogen in the same category as lead and DDT, but their own scientists are now saying there is evidence this type of radiation in more harmful than originally thought and that it should be classified in the same category as tobacco, asbestos and benzene.

Got references for those claims?

TruthSeeker (profile) says:

Canadian Government Sounds the Alarm

Canadian Parliament Committee Calls for Protection of Vulnerable Groups from Wireless Radiation Exposure
The witnesses discussed possible links between RF exposure and cancer, reproductive issues and autism. Concerns were raised about RF exposure in schools due to use of Wi-Fi; the need for RF exposure limits to protect vulnerable populations such as pregnant women, infants and children, and persons with electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS).

TruthSeeker (profile) says:

Dr. Lennart Hardell MD, PhD
Based on the Hill criteria, glioma and acoustic neuroma should be considered to be caused by RF-EMF emissions from wireless phones and regarded as carcinogenic to humans, classifying it as group 1 according to the IARC classification. Current guidelines for exposure need to be urgently revised.

Dr. Dariusz Leszczynski MSc, DSc, PhD
In conclusion, I consider that currently the scientific evidence is sufficient to classify cell phone radiation as a probable human carcinogen – 2A category in IARC scale. Time will show whether ‘the probable’ will change into’ the certain’. However, it will take tens of years before issue is really resolved. In the mean time we should implement the Precautionary Principle. There is a serious reason for doing so.

Its what they don't tell you when they're smiling. says:

Re: Re:

And, not only electomagnetic radiation, but you forgot to mention the flouride in the public water supplies as a direct link to autism. And its not just what she drinks, but washes with also because it readily absorbs into the skin. Goes right through you, stopping indiscriminately at every blood gorged bodily function.

Sorgfelt (profile) says:

see no evidence, hear no evidence, say no evidence

OK, I don’t have references without looking hard for them, but I have read reports, some of them very convincing anecdotes regarding implants, some of them old research reports regarding old phones. The effects depend on the strength of the radiation. You can look for them yourself. But you won’t, if you don’t want to. That’s fine – it is part of freedom. But, to deny on that basis that there is any hard evidence of anything really irks me. I have too many times experienced and measured and proved to myself things that other people deny simply because they won’t consider the possibility enough to even look.

Not Buying It says:

Yellow Journalism

Tumors have it that electromagnetic radiation does indeed alter dna and cause cancer. Four of my closest friends living in close proximity to cell towers and electric power supply stations and who relied heavily on wireless communications have died from brain tumors in North Canton, Ohio, USA. Gads of reports that cellular phones are causing tumors aren’t enough to even get the staunchest of the technology supporters to open their minds until its too late.. oops you have a tumor. “Its NOT a Tumor!” What kind of moron doesn’t accept the data that is scientifically proven that electromagnetism causes cancer, not only in mice (hundreds of thousands of them), but in all living tissue?

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