ETSI’s EN 300 328 is an important, ever-evolving set of regulations that manufacturers and test labs must be familiar with, particularly if they have products destined for Europe. But before we can dig deep on the technical minutiae in V1.8.1, it’s important to have a firm grasp of the basics. Below are answers to the questions concerning EN 300 328 that we most commonly receive. This is a good place to start if you want to brush up on your understanding to be better prepared for your next compliance tests.
What is ETSI EN 300 328?
ETSI EN 300 328 is a harmonized standard that satisfies the essential requirement of the R&TTE Directive for effective use of the radio spectrum for wideband transmission systems. Unlike some of the other more generic standards, this standard is specific to data transmission equipment operating in the 2.4 GHz ISM band and using wide band modulation techniques.
What products must comply with EN 300 328?
This standard covers technologies such as WI-FI, Bluetooth, and Zigbee™, as well as other equipment and technologies that use the 2.4 GHz ISM band, such as proprietary wideband transmission systems and frequency-hopping spread spectrum (FHSS) devices.
What is the timeline for implementing EN 300 328 V1.8.1?
As of January 1st 2015, V1.7.1 will no longer provide a presumption of conformity and V1.8.1 will be the sole harmonized standard. In short, after January 1st, 2015, any product imported or marketed for sale in the European Union has to comply with V1.8.1.
Do all existing approved products need to be re-tested?
Yes. As of January 1st, 2015, any product marketed or offered for sale must meet the requirements of V1.8.1. As of that date, V1.7.1 becomes obsolete; everything that continues to be offered for sale has to meet the new requirements.
Can radiated emissions data from existing tests to V1.7.1 be used to show compliance to V1.8.1?
No - all essential requirements have changed in one facet or another. For radiated emissions in particular, because of the changes in the test procedures and the limits, which are much more stringent in certain bands, testing has to be repeated.
If we use a certified module but change the antenna, what are the necessary tests?
If the module was tested under the new V1.8.1, there are quite a few tests that need to be redone. It really depends on the change in the antenna, because several of the tests in V1.8.1 – such as the test for RF power output and power spectral density – are specified as effective isotropic radiated power, so any change in the antenna gain would affect the outcome of those tests. Also, the change in the antenna would affect the radiated emissions if performed with the antenna connected. So there is the potential that you would have to repeat many of the tests under V1.8.1.
If the module was tested under the previous standard V1.7.1, you would need to re-test the entire module for all essential requirements under V1.8.1.
If there is an RF module tested as compliant to V1.8.1, does that mean that the final host equipment has to be re-tested for the unintended radiated emissions?
If the module has been tested to V1.8.1, there may be additional tests required for integrating that into specific hosts. The requirements for the host device would be the relevant EMC standards under the R&TTE directive, and not the Radio Spectrum standard. The Radio Spectrum standard would apply to the radio module itself. But as far as integrating an approved module into a host device, you are introducing another potential source for unintended emissions and susceptibility, and a lab must evaluate them. The relevant EMC requirements would be contained in the EN 301 489 series of EMC standards.
I’ve heard that WI-FI can’t meet the requirements of V1.8.1. Is it true, and what is it about WI-FI that causes this?
If you’ve read through the IEEE 802.11 standard, you will see that it includes mechanisms for medium access control or spectrum sharing. Chip manufacturers haven’t implemented that function in the firmware. In order to meet the conformance requirements of V1.8.1, non-adaptive equipment with RF power output of 10mW e.i.r.p. or greater must conform to the medium utilization requirements. But based on the high duty cycle of 802.11, the medium utilization requirement can’t be met. So without adaptivity, 802.11 devices must limit power to less than 10mW e.i.r.p, and for most manufacturers, that’s unacceptable.
There has been a lot of talk around EN 300 328 and the 2.4GHz range. Is the EN 301 893 spec for 5GHz devices following suit?
At only 7 or 8 years old, the EN 301 893 standard is relatively new to the market. It was a more mature standard when it was first developed, whereas EN 300 328 started as a basic standard and is only now reaching maturity.
EN 301 893 has always had the unique test procedures - the DFS requirements, the adaptivity - it’s not as drastic a change. So if a device has met the previous version of that standard before, it shouldn’t have too many issues meeting the requirements of the new revision.
Can low-powered devices operating under 10mW such as Bluetooth and Zigbee be certified under EN 300 220 for low-powered devices instead of EN 300 328?
The EN 300 328 standard specifically mentions that Bluetooth falls under its scope. This is probably a Notified Body question, in terms of how they would handle it, and you may get different opinions. But there have been instances where a notified body said that if there is a specific standard out there (which this is) then it must be applied.
There’s a lot to know about EN 300 328 V1.8.1; the changes were drastic and in all likelihood, we’ll see more of the same in the near future. Nevertheless, it’s crucial for manufacturers to remain in-the-know to adequately prepare for their product testing. A little upfront effort brushing up on your understanding of the new regulations can save time and resources later on.