The Radio Equipment Directive (RED) came into force on the 13th June 2016 & immediately replaced the R&TTE Directive without any transition period. This should have little effect on manufacturers of new equipment apart from the following:
- The Directive further liberalises the requirements for telecommunications products within Europe since all wired equipment is excluded from the scope – therefore fixed line equipment will now be regulated under the LVD & EMC Directives as all other general electrical equipment.
- Broadcast TV & Radio receivers, which were excluded under the R&TTE Directive, are covered under the RED, but the self-certification structure remains for all equipment covered by European Harmonised Standards.
- RED now covers equipment operating under 9kHz.
- Radio Determination equipment is now explicitly included under RED.
- Custom-built equipment marketed to professionals to be used soley for research purposes, and home-built radio equipment used by Radio Amateurs is excluded from RED.
- Notified Body intervention will be required where no Harmonised Standards are available.
- The Directive removes the requirement for special marking on equipment operating in non-harmonised radio bands but instead to include this information in the user documentation. The notification procedure to Member States has also been removed.
The RED’s predecessor directive, the R&TTE Directive, was introduced in 1999. This has led to a conformity assessment regime based on manufacturers’ declarations, rather than independent tests.
It is important to note that the equipment within the scope of RED must meet the essential requirements of both the Low Voltage Directive & the EMC Directive. RED also requires the equipment to be constructed for efficient use of the radio spectrum, and to avoid any interference with the terrestrial or orbital communcations networks. Additional requirements are made for certain classes of equipment.
There are a number of ways in which a manufacturer can ensure that their product complies with RED. If Harmonized Standards exist for the equipment produced, they may self-declare. If these do not exist, the manufacturer will have to involve a Notified Body to assess the ability of the equipment to meet essential requirements of the Directive before self-certification can take place. The CE logo is used on the product to indicate it complies with the Directive.
The Purpose Of RED
The Objective of the Radio Equipment Directive is to provide an open market for telecommunications equipment and permit apparatus which has been approved for use in one EEA country to be sold without any restrictions in any other EEA country. By mandating the application of common technical requirements for all apparatus within the EU, even when these are not strictly Harmonised Standards, the Directive aims to ensure compatibility between all equipment such that it can be used in any member state without loss of performance or danger to the user or to public communications networks.
RED applies to “Radio Equipment” which is defined as follows:
“An electrical or electronic product, which intentionally emits and/or receives radio waves for the purpose of radio communication and/or radiodetermination, or an electrical or electronic product which must be completed with an accessory, such as an antenna, so as to intentionally emit and/or receive radio waves for the purpose of radio communication and/or radiodetermination”.
Examples of apparatus which is included under the RED scope are:
- Mobile Radio Tranceivers
- Mobile Phones
- WiFi & Bluetooth equipment
- Satellite tranceivers including GPS receivers
- Domestic Television
- Radio sets
- Radar Equipment
It is also important to be aware that equipment which is within the scope of this Directive may also fall within the scope of other Directives (in particular the Medical Devices Directives) & the requirements of these Directives must also be met if possible.
Certain apparatus is specifically excluded from the Radio Equipment Directive:
- Equipment for Police, military & state-security use
- Radio equipment for Radio Amateurs, unless it is commercially available
- Equipment within the scope of Directive 96/98/EC – Marine Equipment
- Certain equipment for civil aviation & Air Traffic Management
- Custom-built evaluation kits & boards for professional use
RED Essential Requirements
The RED has significantly simplified the Essential Requirements to those contained within it’s predecessors, leaving the details of interpretation to the Harmonised Standards & to common technical regulations.
The basic essential requirements of the RED are that the apparatus in question meets the essential requirements of both LVD & EMC Directives. In addition, radio equipment must be constructed for efficient use of the radio spectrum & to avoid interference with terrestrial or orbital satellite comms.
For certain types of equipment, the Commission can also introduce additional requirements:
- To ensure network compatibility
- To prevent harm to & misuse of network resources
- To protect user privacy & the security of data
- To prevent fraud
- To provide priority access for emergency services
- To facilitate the use of equipment by disabled users
The Directive also mandates the use of a “common charger” – in basic terms this is a USB power supply.
RED Admin Requirements
The Directives provide for a number of different administrative routes for the requirements of the Directives. For equipment that is covered under a Harmonised Standard, all that is required is that a manufacturer confirms by self-declaration that they meet the requirements of the Harmonised Standards which apply to the product.
For equipment for which no Harmonised Standard exists, manufacturers have two options:
- Involve a Notified Body in assessing the ability of the equipment to meet the essential requirements of the Directive
- Rely on a “Full Quality Assurance” approach, where the design & manufacturing capability is assessed by a Notified Body but individual designs of apparatus are not subject to Notified Body testing.
Manufacturers may apply different conformity assessment procedures for the safety & EMC aspects of the apparatus from those which are used to demonstrate complaiance with other essential requirements.