What is Radio Frequency (RF) Attenuation and How Can It Affect Your Life?

Signals Defense: A Building Shielding Blog

What is Radio Frequency (RF) Attenuation and How Can It Affect Your Life?

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Merriam-Webster defines the verb attenuate as “to lessen the amount, force, magnitude, or value of, to weaken.” For radio frequencies or light waves, this refers to the way in which the strength of waves lessens while going through open air, walls, windows, the human body, and other surroundings. For our convenience, modern wifi networks, mobile phone signals, and Bluetooth connections (all of which are types of radio waves) are generally strong enough to reach through the walls of our homes and workplaces and thus are strong enough for us to remain connected even outside of buildings.

Unfortunately, such convenience actually represents one of the greatest security threats for those who need to protect personal or professional data from hackers and other cyber criminals. In short, these signals are all too vulnerable to being accessed by unauthorized users, who then can use hacking techniques to access every device connected to a particular network, which in turn can lead to major breaches of data with potentially devastating consequences. In 2015, the FBI received 288,012 complaints of cyber crime for total $1.07 billion in losses, approximately $900 million of which was in the United States alone. Cyber crime is a serious and growing threat in the US and around the world.

The structures and objects around any radio signal are known in technical jargon as the “medium” through which the signal travels. Attenuation (the reduction in power) of a signal is represented in decibels (dB), and typical office wall will cause 6 dB of attenuation, while a concrete wall can cause 10-15 dB. However, modern signals are often strong enough to still be picked up by sophisticated monitoring equipment used by criminals, and thus true security requires better attenuation products than typical building structures can provide.

SD-Film.jpgLuckily, companies such as Signals Defense, LLC in Owing Mills, MD specialize in RF attenuation and even Infrared (IR, which are light waves) attenuation products such as patented RF window films and other specialty glass products that prevent access to networks and devices by cyber criminals. The company's products range from the least expensive options to ballistics and blast resistant glass that doubles as an IR and RF attenuator, such as those used by the US military and government agencies to maintain security over classified information. In fact, Signals Defense products have been engineered to meet stringent US Intelligence Community security requirements for facilities handling classified information. In today’s world, protection of data is taking on ever greater importance and these kinds of products can be vital tools for any person or company that cares about data security.

 

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