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Adapting to Change: The Challenges of EN 300 328 v1.8.1 For Manufacturers And Test Labs

Written by Sam Wismer on . Posted in Wireless

With v1.8.1, ETSI has caused quite a stir in the electronic manufacturing and compliance industries. The significant – and rapidly introduced – changes between the new version and its predecessor has both manufacturers and test labs scrambling to ensure they fully understand the differences, can accurately perform the new tests, and can meet compliance regulations with as little disruption as possible. Below, we discuss some of the potential challenges that manufacturers and test labs will face in the coming months as they learn to navigate v1.8.1.

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Challenges For Manufacturers: Components And Configuration

Because this standard is distinct from previous versions, it is important for manufacturers to understand some of the challenges they will face.

It is the manufacturer’s responsibility to ensure that their products are capable of complying with the technical requirements and that they can be properly configured for testing. To achieve this, manufacturers must become extremely familiar with every aspect of the standard.

To ensure their design is capable of compliance, manufacturers must source the correct components. For example, before deciding on a specific chipset for the design, first determine if it is capable of meeting the requirements. Does it have adaptive modes? Is the firmware designed to ensure compliance with the Medium Utilization or the Hopping requirements? Work with a “compliance first” mindset to save yourself time and effort later on.

It is also imperative that manufacturers understand how to configure the equipment for testing. Considering that test modes are no longer allowed, manufacturers need to provide instructions and accessory equipment for operating under worst-case scenarios. The device has to be capable of operating in a mode that produces maximum throughput or a mode that might not normally exist when using test modes.

Challenges For Test Labs: Specialized Test Systems

It’s not only the manufacturers that face challenges in preparing for v1.8.1 – test labs also face issues.

Since v1.8.1 is a complete departure from v1.7.1, test labs are now forced to acquire or develop specialized test systems capable of collecting, processing, and analyzing the data for several of the new test procedures. These tests go beyond what is commonly used for compliance today, and as we’ve learned, they require complex data processing abilities.

Not only do test labs need to implement specialized test systems, they also need to be intimately familiar with every aspect of the standard, and the various technologies covered in its scope. This requires test labs to understand all capabilities of wireless technologies, such as WIFI, Bluetooth, and Zigbee.

There may be cases where even the manufacturers don’t fully understand the equipment’s capabilities, and in turn they rely on their test lab for support and knowledge. Without a comprehensive understanding of the technology and how it relates to the standard, test labs can struggle with identifying and applying the correct requirements.

With revised test procedures, new requirements and a host of other changes, it’s easy to see why the transition from v1.7.1 to v1.8.1 is causing such a stir with manufacturers and test labs. Both parties face new challenges as they work to understand – and comply with – the extensive revisions and additions in the new standard. Though it presents difficulties, test labs and manufacturers should brace themselves; the fast-paced, sweeping changes of today’s technological advancements all but guarantee more drastic changes to standardization in the near future.

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Sam Wismer

Sam Wismer

Sam understands the intense pressure manufacturers face and the obstacles they must surmount to bring their products to market; he’s felt it himself. With 7 years of industry experience before joining ACS in 2001 as its first employee, Sam plays an integral role in ACS’s mission to remove barriers to compliance and ensure customers meet their objectives.READ MORE