What would the world be like if WiFi signals were visible to the human eye?

Photo by Robynne Hu on Unsplash

The world we live in today is powered by WiFi. Also known as Wireless Fidelity, WiFi powers more than 60% of Earth’s internet traffic, creating a web of radio waves and electromagnetic signals spread around the globe.

WiFi is everywhere, but it is completely invisible to the human eye. What would the world be like if WiFi signals were visible? What would it look like? What would you do?

The human eye is a remarkable organ, allowing us to see a spectrum of colors across what we call the “visible light spectrum”. This covers electromagnetic wavelengths spanning from 410 nanometers (the violet-colored end of the spectrum) all the way to 680 nanometers (the red-colored end of the spectrum). This is the range of light we can observe without the intervention of technology.

Energy waves such as Wi-Fi signals are invisible to the human eye, as they lie outside of this spectrum. But what if the human eye was able to see these waves, naturally, or with the help of technology?

Across the world, there are over 4 billion people accessing the internet via Wi-Fi at any one time. If you were able to see the Wi-Fi transmissions, it would be like a visual gateway to another world, full of electromagnetic waves and signals. These signals would be of a frequency up to approximately 30 GHz, with a long wavelength upwards of 10 millimeters (approximately 0.4 inches) – much larger waves than those we observe within the visible light spectrum.

These waves of electromagnetic signals would appear in pulses, approximately 15 centimeters (equivalent to 6 inches) apart. The pulses would be moving at incredibly high speeds.

It is safe to say that this bombardment of waves traveling through the room would be incredibly overwhelming, especially due to the sheer volume of them pulsating through your home. The combination of home products that are Wi-Fi reliant and other public Wi-Fi networks would certainly be headache-inducing, and inescapable.

There have been a number of scientific claims surrounding the mental effects of Wi-Fi signals on the brain, especially in terms of mood. If you were able to see the electromagnetic signals surrounding you in your everyday life, it would be a definite eye-opening moment. There is a chance you may even try to escape them – a difficult task, as your typical Wi-Fi router projects a circular field of signal around your location. On a busy street, these signals would be constantly overlapping, creating almost no Wi-Fi free space. Even in more rural areas, you may have to travel a distance to avoid them.

Although technology could potentially make this ability to see WiFi signals a reality, this phenomenon would never be possible naturally. Although the idea of being able to see Wi-Fi may sound like a fascinating prospect, it would be incredibly impractical and overwhelming.

There are countless theories about the effects of WiFi – like the potential effects on mental health – including theories that WiFi signals could be responsible for sightings of ghosts. It is certainly thought-provoking, and likely a question we will not know the answer to for a long time…