Following the completion of a phase of feasibility studies, standardization of Reconfigurable Radio Systems (RRS) is underway. The initial phase of the work, carried out by ETSI's RRS Technical Committee, has resulted in a series of ETSI Technical Reports that examine the standardization needs and opportunities. They include architectural and implementation aspects of RRS, as well as specific user requirements in the context of public safety communications. The principal Technical Report in this series summarizes the feasibility studies carried out by the committee and presents its recommended topics for standardization.

Reconfigurable Radio Systems are based on technologies such as Software Defined Radio (SDR) and Cognitive Radio whose systems exploit the capabilities of reconfigurable radio and networks for self-adaptation to a dynamically-changing environment with the aim of ensuring end-to-end connectivity.

Faced with increasing global data traffic volumes, regulators have started to consider allowing wireless data devices to operate as secondary users on spectrum bands. Thus, network operators are building composite wireless networks to provide access to multiple services. Typical user devices may contain several radios and it is becoming increasingly vital to coordinate the operation of these different radios and systems to minimize cost and make efficient energy use of the overall radio communications capacity. Therefore, creating effective, standardized RRS solutions is essential.

As part of its work, the ETSI committee is addressing the critical area of public safety communications, which are currently characterized by patchworks of separate, often incompatible systems with widely varying capabilities. The application of dynamic spectrum management, cognitive radio and SDR can provide solutions for the required interoperability of such systems, which often operate in uncertain and changing operational scenarios, and maximize the use of the very limited radio spectrum usually assigned to these services. Apart from bringing improved operational capabilities, these techniques also offer increased system flexibility and the ability to adapt to evolving technologies.