Friday, June 03, 2011

ITU forum highlights radio interference concerns

Non-ITU compliant home network equipment may cause problems

Concerns that home networking products using power line transmission (PLT) technology may cause interference with radio services led to a Forum last week in Geneva to address the issue. ITU’s own home networking standard ITU-T was considered to have electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) and mitigation techniques that go well beyond those considered essential for protecting radio services.

Given the variety of electronic devices in our homes, strict EMC requirements are imperative. Over-the-air broadcast services in particular could be subject to interference from PLT systems.

The event took place in parallel with an interoperability event giving ITU-T chipset vendors the opportunity to test their products, which will be on the market later this year. It brought together radio spectrum experts from national regulators, service providers, and product manufacturers, as well as standards development organizations (SDOs) and industry alliances including ETSI, IEC, IEEE, HomeGrid Forum, IARU, NAJO/IAU and HomePlug.

The Forum successfully achieved its goal of agreeing on commitments and future actions by all stakeholders to resolve interference issues in the interest of consumers. A key conclusion is that ITU will act as the focal point for coordinating other SDOs and industry alliances in order to agree further developments.

“There are PLT products on the market that do not conform to the necessary EMC standards, and this is very much a concern,” says Dr Hamadoun TourĂ©, Secretary-General, ITU. “We are fortunate in ITU to have telecom and radio experts from both the private sector, government and regulators. Together they have agreed the necessary requirements to ensure that products conforming to ITU standards do not cause interference, which may have potentially serious consequences. We would caution service providers and others against rolling out technologies conforming to specifications that do not meet ITU requirements.”

John Shaw, representing BBC World Service, said at the meeting: “For broadcasters, it is extremely important that products sold do not interfere with the reception of programmes or reduce coverage. We applaud the efforts of ITU to ensure international acceptance of the organization’s stringent guidelines on compatibility between electronic communication systems and the use of the radio frequency spectrum.” Similar views were also expressed by representatives of the aeronautical and radio astronomy communities.
(Source: ITU/R Netherlands Media Network Weblog)