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Drastic Changes: Understanding the Evolution of ETSI EN 300 328

Written by Kirby Munroe on . Posted in Wireless

The European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) regulates information and communications technologies and produces globally accepted standards for the industry. In 2006, ETSI released EN 300 328 v1.7.1 “to fit in a modular structure to cover all radio and telecommunications terminal equipment within the scope of the R&TTE Directive.” But as technology continues to evolve, so does EN 300 328. To understand why the standards continue to evolve and how they function today, it’s important to understand the background: the successes and the failings of v1.7.1.

v1.7.1 Introduced A Host Of New Regulations

EN 300 328 v1.7.1 introduced improved measurement techniques for existing technical requirements, and additional technical requirements for frequency-hopping equipment. The most notable inclusion was the requirement for Medium Access Protocol, a mechanism designed to facilitate spectrum sharing with other devices in a wireless network. Spectrum sharing hadn’t been an issue in the past, mainly due to the ability of similar technology – like WIFI and Bluetooth – to mitigate sharing. But with newer technologies, spectrum sharing and providing equal access has become a greater concern. Hence the inclusion of the Medium Access Protocol requirement.

Problems Big And Small With v1.7.1

Issues with v1.7.1 quickly surfaced: it didn’t provide test procedures for the new Frequency-hopping and Medium Access Protocol requirements. Although manufacturers had to comply with these requirements as a necessary condition for presumption of conformity, they could claim conformance by an equivalent test or by manufacturer’s declaration.

This was only a small issue for the Frequency-hopping requirements; in most cases the manufacturer could easily declare conformance based on the equipment technology. Take Bluetooth for example – the hopping characteristics are defined in the Bluetooth standard. In this case, a declaration was simple.

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But Medium Access Protocol wasn’t as trivial. Some manufacturers didn’t understand what was necessary to meet this requirement; others assumed the device protocol would address it. The Official Journal included several notes over the last few years indicating the mandatory status for compliance, but manufacturers by and large ignored Medium Access Protocol. ETSI deemed v1.7.1 insufficient to guarantee presumption of conformity for spectrum sharing.

Overhaul And Transition To v1.8.1

In 2012, v1.8.1 responded to the need for new, better defined and more precise test methods and requirements by entirely overhauling the previous standard. It introduces well-defined spectrum sharing and usage requirements, as well as test methods for several different technologies and spectrum sharing techniques. Previously undefined test procedures for frequency-hopping equipment were added, in addition to drastically revised, more complex test procedures for existing requirements such as Radio Frequency (RF) Output Power and Power Density.

Manufacturers and test labs in Europe and abroad were thrown by the speed and thoroughness by which v1.7.1 was revised. But v1.7.1 needed drastic updates – and with the ever-evolving world of technology, chances are, it will continue to change at breakneck pace.

To understand exactly how and where v1.8.1 is different from its predecessor, consult our follow-up article here.

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Kirby Munroe

Kirby Munroe

Nobody understands wireless technology like Kirby does. His fascination with the electromagnetic industry began at Florida Atlantic University, where he specialized in EMC, which quickly landed him a position as a compliance engineer at Motorola. Here Kirby was able to really sink his teeth into developing EMC and EMI testing at the ground level, and he advanced to senior compliance engineer, becoming a major figure in their EMC lab.READ MORE