Protecting the radio spectrum in Europe

Verification of radio spectrum occupation.

Radio-equipment testing.

Radio or wireless technology is key to many technical areas, such as satellite navigation systems (GNSS), intelligent transport, the Internet of Things (IoT) and drones (RPAS), to name just a few.

The increase in the use of wireless interfaces in our daily life – not just, for instance, the emergence of new technologies like IoT devices, but also, in the case of bandwidth-hungry video applications for instance, their increasing demand for frequency bands – is having an appreciable impact on the radio spectrum. All those devices have to meet certain standards to avoid interference and make efficient use of the frequencies they use. And this is where ALTER TECHNOLOGY comes in.

Given that the radio spectrum is a limited natural resource, greater control of, and vigilance concerning, its use has become necessary to allow the coexistence of different existing technologies in a manner that takes into account their potential effects on public health.

This control system makes use of two mechanisms that are explained below:

1. Management of the radio spectrum.

As the radio spectrum is a public asset, its ownership and administration fall to the state. So each and every European country has a national spectrum authority whose function is the assignment of bands and the allocation of radio spectrum frequencies.

The radio spectrum is governed by agreements adopted by international bodies such as the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the United Nations agency which decides the uses and conditions of use of different frequency bands, the European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations (CEPT) and the European Union itself.

The European Union, aware of the importance of the spectrum for the development of the digital market of products and services, has defined a policy aimed at delivering a harmonised European framework for frequency allocation and applications.

Information on the allocation of frequencies in Europe can be accessed using the EFIS tool (

2. The binding nature of the CE marking showing compliance with the European Directives that apply to this type of equipment.

The protection of the radio spectrum has been established as an essential requirement of Directive 2014/53/EU (RED Directive) on the harmonisation of the laws of the Member States on the marketing of radio equipment, which determines that radio equipment must be so constructed as to make and promote efficient use of the radio spectrum to avoid harmful interference.

Verification of compliance with this essential requirement of the Directive is regulated by harmonised standards drawn up and published by ETSI (European Telecommunications Standards Institute) under the mandate of the European Community which set out the technical details to be complied with by the different existing technologies.

The standardisation of these types of parameter in radio interfaces is essential to prevent interference between different technologies and, as mentioned above, on public health grounds. Affected are not only niche products but those of everyday life which makes it so important to take a closer look: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and contactless devices not only for communication like routers, but also for machine to machine applications, location devices (GPS) and many more.

To verify that equipment makes efficient use of the radio spectrum, ALTER TECHNOLOGY, as a notified body for the new Radio Equipment Directive (RED) 2014/53/EU, can provide certification of EU type testing for this directive. Furthermore, in ist own testing laboratory ATN can offer a wide range of services including tests in accordance with the scope of ENAC 345/LE808 Rev. 24 accreditation to verify the protection of the radio spectrum for products under the RED Directive.

Radio interfaces used for new applications.