A new version of a European Standard published by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) promises significantly increased broadband capacity to meet the ever-growing demands foreseen for European communications. The latest version of the standard, which is known as ETSI Harmonized Standard EN 302 217-3 – Fixed Radio Systems; Characteristics and requirements for point-to-point equipment and antennas – adds new frequency bands to those specified in earlier versions of the document.

The standard now covers microwave links that operate in the frequency bands 57 to 59 GHz, 59 to 64 GHz, 64 to 66 GHz, 71 to 76 GHz and 81 to 86 GHz. Much of this is completely new spectrum, therefore providing genuinely additional capacity.

ETSI is responsible for the preparation of Harmonized Standards in support of the European Commission's Radio and Telecommunications Terminal Equipment (R&TTE) Directive (Directive 1999/5/EC). Under the terms of the Directive the frequency allocation authorities in each European member state are required to make the relevant spectrum available if they have not already done so. Frequency allocation in Europe is managed nationally but within a pan-European regulatory framework.

With the updated Harmonized Standard in place, operators may use the new spectrum as soon as it has been made available in the European member states. Equally, manufacturers wishing to put the relevant equipment on the market are able to apply the Harmonized Standards route outlined in the R&TTE Directive, thus avoiding alternative, more complicated and more costly, ways of demonstrating compliance with the Directive.

Roberto Macchi, Chairman of the ETSI Working Group responsible for this standard, remarked, “This Harmonized Standard has been developed as a very professional collaboration between manufacturers, network operators and regulators. It demonstrates that working on cutting edge technologies does not have to be difficult. The consequence of this latest version of the standard is to make broadband communications future-proof in a way that is endorsed by the European legal framework.

Very significantly, experts from Asia, America and Europe have worked together on this new version of ETSI EN 302 217-3, clearly indicating that its value extends way beyond Europe. Indeed, the existing global applicability of earlier versions of the standard continues to grow with this latest publication.”

The Harmonized Standard may be downloaded free of charge from: www.etsi.org/deliver/etsi_en/302200_302299/30221703/01.03.01_60/en_30221703v010301p.pdf