A Quick Guide to Radio Equipment Directive 

The radio equipment directive 2014/53/EU (RED) comes with a regulatory framework standard for placing radio equipment on the market.  Its basic functionality is to ensure a single comprehensive market for radio equipment by setting up necessary standards and requirements for safety and health, electromagnetic compatibility, and the efficacious use of the radio spectrum. And these include technical features for the protection of privacy and personal data against any kind of fraud. Moreover, additional aspects cover interoperability, access to emergency services, and compliance concerning the combination of radio equipment and software. 

What is the Scope of Radio Equipment Directive?  

The scope of RED has been expanded to include:

  • Radio determination equipment that include radars and RFID devices. These devices were considered to be within the scope of the R&TTE Directive, but the scope of RED is much more transparent making it more obvious that they are included and must comply with the required standard.
  • Sound and TV broadcasters were excluded under R&TTE, so will now have extra requirements for the radio spectrum performance.
  • Receiver Performance- While this was included in a number of ETSI product standards, its significance in an increasingly congested radio spectrum has made it a part of the Directive
  • A device functioning below 9 KHz- the lower frequency limit of R&TTE was 9 KHz, but that has also been removed.
  • With respective to the other directives there is a particular exclusion for ‘custom built evaluation kits especially for professionals to be used only for research and development facilities for such purposes. 

What are its Essential requirements? 

The Directive has significantly simplified the necessary requirements to those present in its predecessors by leaving the rest details of interpretation to the Harmonized Standards and to common technical regulations.

However, the basic necessary requirements are that the apparatus meets the required requirements of both the Low Voltage Directive and the Electromagnetic Compatibility Directive. Moreover, radio equipment must be constructed for efficient use of the radio spectrum and to avoid interference with the terrestrial and orbital communications. 

However, for some special equipment classes, the Commission can also introduce additional requirements to-

  • Ensure network compatibility
  • Prevent harm to avoid and misuse of network resources
  • Safeguards user privacy and the data security 
  • Prevention of frauds
  • Provide access for emergency services
  • Enable the use of equipment by the disabled users. 

In 2016, the Commission introduced Radio Equipment Directive (RED) as a replacement for R&TTE Directive, which helped establish safety and electromagnetic compatibility requirements for equipment using the radio spectrum. And as of June 2017, all new and existing products within the scope of the RED must abide in order to achieve the CE marking. Some of the significant changes under the RED include:

  • Exclusion of telecom terminal equipment
  • The addition of cable and wiring equipment
  • New guidelines on labeling, marking, documentation, re-badging, and market surveillance
  • Needs for software and equipment proficient enough in adapting different configurations
  • No voltage limits for radio equipment

Radio Equipment Directive comes with enhanced clarity on requirements and more well-defined compliance responsibilities, thus providing a seamless testing and certification process. The primary objective is to provide an open market for telecoms apparatus and permit equipment which has been approved for use in one EEA country to be sold without further restriction in any other. By mandating the application of common technical requirements for apparatus within the European Union, even where these are not necessarily Harmonised Standards, the Radio Equipment Directive aims to make sure that compatibility is maintained between all apparatus such that it can be sued in any member state without any loss in performance to the user or to the public communication facilities. 

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