Wireless Access Systems and RadioLAN (WAS/RLAN)

This page provides information on the background and definitions of WAS/RLAN, the main CEPT deliverables, current activities and specific topics such as current activities, use on board vehicles, interference to meteorological radars etc., as well as information in ERC Recommendation 70-03 and national implementation status.

This page contains information on:

  1. Background
  2. Existing ECC regulations related to WAS/RLAN
  3. Other relevant regulations for WAS/RLAN
  4. Current activities related to 5-6 GHz WAS/RLAN
  5. 5GHz RLAN in vehicles
  6. Interference into meteorological radars (5600-5650 MHz)
    1. Relevant ECC actions
    2. Information from national administrations


1 Background

Wireless Access Systems and Radio Local Area Networks (WAS/RLANs) are intended to cover smaller geographic areas like homes, offices and to a certain extent buildings being adjacent to each other. Radio LANs are also known as Wireless LANs (WLANs) and Wideband Data Transmission Systems.

WAS/RLANs have been conceived in order to replace physical cables for the connection of data networks within a building, thus providing a more flexible and, possibly, a more economic approach to the installation, reconfiguration and use of such networks within the business and industrial environments.

A popular deployment of WAS/RLANs is providing broadband connectivity at public locations like airports, railway stations, conference centres, hotels and street cafés. Even on trains, busses, cars or aboard aircraft WAS/RLANs are or will become available for providing network access. WAS/RLANs are also rather popular at home and at the office enabling the users to connect all equipment wirelessly.

Currently, the main frequency bands used by WAS/RLANs are 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz and in many cases, the deployed technology is based on the IEEE 802.11 standards family. However, other technologies such as Bluetooth or LTE-LAA are deployed in parts of those frequency bands as well.

The continuously increasing demand for faster transmission rates and the continued substitution of wired connections by wireless ones has made it necessary to identify other frequency bands that offer sufficient capacities, e.g. the frequency band around 60 GHz.

ECC Decision (01)03 includes in its Annex 2 the terminology that is used for WAS/RLANs, in the ECA Table as well as in the EFIS database. 


2 Existing ECC regulations on WAS/RLANs, WLANs, and Wideband Data transmission Systems


2400-2483.5 MHz

The frequency range 2400-2483.5 MHz is designated for industrial, scientific and medical (ISM) applications. Radiocommunication services operating within these bands must accept harmful interference which may be caused by these applications (Footnote 5.150 in the Radio Regulations). This frequency band is used by many short range device applications and available for such use on a global basis.

  • ERC Recommendation 70-03 Annex 3 (Wideband Data Transmission Systems), includes references to the harmonised European standard and national implementation information

This regulatory approach for wideband data transmission systems in the 2.4 GHz band is subject to investigations/review during the eights update process for the EC Decision for SRD under the permanent mandate on SRD from the EC to CEPT.  

5150-5350 MHz and 5470-5725 MHz 

  • ECC/DEC/(04)08 on the harmonised use of the 5 GHz frequency bands for the implementation of Wireless Access Systems including Radio Local Area Networks (WAS/RLANs)
  • ERC Recommendation 70-03 Annex A includes references to the harmonised European standard and national implementation information

Please note that WAS/RLAN use is also possible under the existing SRD regulation with up to 25 mW e.i.r.p. in the frequency band 5725-5875 MHz (see ERC/REC 70-03 Annex 1).

WG FM agreed on starting a revision process for ECC/DEC/(04)08 in September 2018 as in FM57_02.

57-71 GHz

In the CEPT area, applications for WAS/RLANs other than fixed outdoor services are regulated as short range devices (SRD). It should be noted that SRDs do not have the same primary allocation status as fixed services, therefore they should not produce harmful interference to fixed links. The following Recommendations cover the regulatory provisions for different usage scenarios, e.g. indoor use: ERC/REC 70-03 Annex 3, otherwise ECC Recommendation (05)02 and ECC Recommendation (09)01 (for the precise national implementation information of the latter ones, see ECO Report 04.

  • ERC Recommendation 70-03 Annex 3, also includes references to the harmonised European standard and national implementation information
  • ECC Recommendation (05)02 on the use of the 64-66 GHz frequency band for Fixed Service
  • ECC Recommendation (09)01 on the use of the 57-64 GHz frequency band for point-to-point Fixed Wireless Systems


3 Other relevant regulations (EC, ITU-R) related to WAS/RLAN 


2400-2483.5 MHz

  • 2013/752/EU - Commission Decision on harmonisation of the radio spectrum for use by short-range devices
  • European Commission Recommendation on general authorisations in the 2.4 GHz band
  • Report ITU-R M.2153 - provides relevant information on the applicable regulatory implementations for many countries worldwide.
  • Recommendation ITU-R M.1896 - Global and Regional harmonisation of SRD frequency bands

5150-5350 MHz and 5470-5725 MHz

  • 2005/513/EC - Commission Decision on the harmonised use of radio spectrum in the 5 GHz frequency band for the implementation of wireless access systems including radio local area networks (WAS/RLANs)
  • 2007/90/EC - Commission Decision amending Decision 2005/513/EC on the harmonised use of radio spectrum in the 5 GHz frequency band for the implementation of Wireless Access Systems including Radio Local Area Networks  (WAS/RLANs)
  • ITU-R: the  allocation  of  the  5150-5350  MHz  and  5470-5725  MHz  to  the  mobile  service  for  the  implementation  of  WAS/RLANs  was  made  on  a  co-primary  basis  at  the  International  Telecommunication  Union  (ITU)  World Radiocommunication  Conference  2003  (WRC-03),  under  the  conditions  of  the  Radio  Regulations  Footnote  5.446A: “The use of the bands 5150-5350 MHz and 5470-5725 MHz by the stations in the mobile service shall be in accordance with Resolution 229 (Rev. 2012).”

    This Resolution 229 (Rev. WRC-12) specifies the conditions under which this allocation was made. Considering  j)  highlights  the  need  for  using  mitigation  techniques  such  as  DFS  in  order  to  enable  sharing with Radiodetermination / Radiolocation services (i.e. radars). DFS is further specified in Resolves 8 that refers to Annex 1 of Recommendation ITU-R Recommendation M.1652-1 for the details of the DFS requirements. Resolves 6 and  7 contain other requirements that contribute to the protection of radars. Recognizing a) also states ‘that in the band 5 600-5 650 MHz, ground-based meteorological radars are  extensively  deployed  and  support  critical  national  weather  services,  according  to  footnote  5.452”. The DFS principle is recognisant of the fact that WAS/RLAN operating co-channel with a radar may interfere with  the  radar  and  therefore  there  is  a  need  to  avoid  co-channel operation.  To  do  so,  the  WAS/RLAN DFS mechanism  has  to  perform  radar  signal  detection  on  the  channel  it  intends  to  use prior to  have  any transmissions on that channel. If a radar signal is identified, then this channel becomes unavailable for use by the WAS/RLAN .


57-66 GHz

  • 2013/752/EU - Commission Decision on harmonisation of the radio spectrum for use by short-range devices
  • Report ITU-R M.2153 - provides relevant information on the applicable regulatory implementations for many countries worldwide.
  • ITU-R Recommendation F.1497: “Radio-frequency channel arrangements for fixed wireless systems operating in the band 55.78-66 GHz

For 57-66 GHz, there is currently a review on-going for the regulatory approach for wideband data transmission systems, to extend the frequency range in 57-71 GHz and ITS. The focus is on fixed application under license-exempt regulation in the 57-71 GHz range for small cells backhauling and wireless access, while nomadic and mobile use should not be excluded. The effect of alignment of the ITS band with the channeling of the wideband data transmission system should also be considered. See draft CEPT Report 70, ECC Report 288 and the recently amended ERC Rec 70-03 Annex 3 (57-71 GHz).

An ETSI SRdoc covering ITS and wideband data transmission systems is under preparation. 

4 Current Activities related to WAS/RLAN in the 5-6 GHz range

WRC-19 agenda item 1.16 considered issues related to wireless access systems, including radio local area networks (WAS/RLAN), in the frequency bands between 5150 MHz and 5925 MHz, to take the appropriate regulatory actions, including additional spectrum allocations to the mobile service, in accordance with Resolution 239 (WRC-15). The preparatory work for WRC-19 was conducted by the CPG, which adopted the CEPT Brief and ECPs for this agenda item. WRC-19 agreed that the existing global conditions in the 5150-5250 MHz band would be relaxed to allow indoor usage in trains and cars, as well as outdoor usage with certain limitations. It was also agreed that the band 5725-5850 MHz would be extended for use in certain countries outside of Europe.  Subsequently, the European Commission issued a mandate to CEPT "to amend Commission Decision 2005/513/EC on the harmonised use of radio spectrum in the 5 GHz frequency band for the implementation of Wireless Access Systems including Radio Local Area Networks (WAS/RLANS) following WRC-19".  CEPT should provide deliverables according to the following schedule: March 2021 Draft Report and July 2021 Final Report.

Regarding new future opportunties for WAS/RLAN in bands with the radiolocation service, additional radar protection criteria are under discussion (e.g. for fast frequency hopping radars). WRC-19 revised Footnotes 5.447F and 5.450A and replaced references to Recommendations ITU-R M.1638-0 (system characteristics and interference criteria for radiodetermination services) and ITU-R RS.1632-0 (sharing in the band 5250-5350 MHz) with text referring to Resolution 229 (use of the bands 5150-5250 MHz, 5250-5350 MHz and 5470-5725 MHz by the mobile service for the implementation of WAS/RLAN). CEPT requested ETSI to develop mitigation techniques for RLANs in the bands 5350 to 5470 MHz and 5725 to 5925 MHz.

Earlier CEPT actions in response to the mandate to CEPT to study and identify harmonised compatibility and sharing conditions for Wireless Access Systems including Radio Local Area Networks in the bands 5350-5470 MHz and 5725-5925 MHz ('WAS/RLAN extension bands') for the provision of wireless broadband services resulted in CEPT Reports 57 and 64 as well as ECC Report 244.

At is 44th Plenary meeting (28 February-3 March 2017), ECC agreed to task WG FM to study the technical and regulatory feasibility of harmonised introduction of low power WAS/RLANs in the band 5925-6425 MHz  in response to the relevant EC Mandate to CEPT. The corresponding activities (work item FM57_01 now finalised) was carried out within Project Team FM57, which developed CEPT Report 73, published March 2020. FM57 also developed CEPT Report 75, "Harmonised technical parameters for WAS/RLANs operating on a coexistence basis with appropriate mitigation techniques and/or operational compatibility/coexistence conditions, operating on the basis of a general authorisation", which was approved for publication by ECC #54 in November 2020.  The related studies (work item SE45_01) have been performed within Project Team SE45 which developed ECC Report 302 on sharing and compatibility studies for WAS/RLAN in the frequency band 5925-6425 MHz. Under work item SE45_02, ECC Report 316 was developed on sharing studies assessing short-term interference from WAS/RLAN into Fixed Service in the band 5925-6425 MHz. ECC Decision (20)01 on the harmonised use of the frequency bands 5 945 to 6 425 MHz for the implementation of Wireless Access Systems including Radio Local Area Networks (WAS/RLANs) was agreed for publication by ECC #54 in November 2020.

Studies have been performed in ECC Report 277 regarding the use of SRD applications in the band 5725-5875 MHz in cars equipped with 5.8 GHz road toll equipment, RLAN use based on the 5.8 GHz SRD regulation (max. 25 mW) as well as co-channel ITS communications (5855-5875 MHz) - all applications operating under the existing SRD regulations (see work item SE24_57).

5 RLANs operating in the 5 GHz ranges in vehicles and Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) - Drones

The current spectrum regulations for RLANs in the 5 GHz range on ITU, CEPT and EU level do not directly address the usage of 5 GHz RLANs in vehicles (cars etc.). Hence, CEPT/ECC has considered the possibilities for the usage of Radio LAN equipment in the 5 GHz range on-board aircraft, in vehicles (passenger cars, lorries, buses) and in trains.

In the light of all available information and in addition to the 2400-2483.5 MHz band, CEPT/ECC has concluded that the existing regulation for non-specific SRDs according to Annex 1 (band “j”) to ERC/REC 70-03 appears to be the most appropriate way forward for operation of RLAN equipment in vehicles. The introduction in ERC Recommendation 70-03 already explains that ‘The CEPT has considered the use of SRD devices on board aircraft and it has concluded that, from the CEPT regulatory perspective, such use is allowed under the same conditions provided in the relevant Annex of Recommendation 70-03.’ Additional clarification is provided with a note in the introduction to ERC/REC 70-03.

In addition, it has been noted that technology and equipment already exist due to the fact that CEPT SRD regulation within 5725-5875 MHz overlaps with the U-NII-3 regulation (up to 5825 MHz (centre frequency)) which is implemented in particular in USA, China, Korea and some other countries. However, it is not known whether up to now a European mode has been implemented in the RLAN user equipment such as smartphones, tablets etc. which would enable channels 149 to 165 (centre frequencies from 5745 to 5825 MHz) for operation at maximum 25 mW e.i.r.p.

Furthermore, CEPT has concluded that RLAN use inside cars (passenger cars, lorries, buses) in the band 5150-5250 MHz is allowed at a maximum e.i.r.p. of 25 mW as this power restriction results in at least an equivalent attenuation as foreseen for RLAN operation inside buildings and therefore the necessary attenuation to facilitate sharing is provided.

CEPT has also concluded that RLAN use within trains with metal coated windows can be considered as indoor operation and therefore the operation of RLAN within those types of trains in the band 5150-5250 MHz is possible.

An explanatory paper agreed by ECC/ WG FM (revised edition Feb 2019) shows and explains which frequency bands are possible for 5 GHz RLAN usage in vehicles according to the spectrum regulations in force (the table in the conclusions shows with 'OK' which frequency bands can be used under the current regulations). 

Another explanatory paper related to non-professional Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) use under general authorisations was agreed by WG FM in February 2018. The use of 5 GHz WAS/RLAN as defined May by ECC/DEC/(04)08 (and in 2005/50/EC as amended) is not allowed for UAS. WAS/RLAN is in this case defined as an application in the mobile service and the allocation is for the mobile service except the aeronautical mobile service. Currently, no derogation is in force within CEPT. The relevant class 1 equipment subclass 54 excludes therefore any usage between ground and aircrafts, and in analogy to this, also any use between ground and UAS. The use in 5150-5350 MHz is limited to indoor environments, and above 5250 MHz, the DFS mechanism is required. The detection and hence protection, of specific radar signals may not be ensured when the DFS is implemented on-board of a UAS application.

These explanatory papers are is also referenced in ERC Recommendation 70-03 and available in the EFIS database.


6 Interference into meteorological radars (5600-5650 MHz)

6.1  ECC activities

ECC Report 192 published in 2014 addresses the issue of interference into meteorological radars in detail.

CEPT/ECC discussed in February 2017 the challenges provided by an increase of the number of interference events to meteorological radars in most European countries, due to non-compliant and illegal use of RLAN 5 GHz equipment. This subject was also repeatedly raised in the CEPT annual interference statistics in recent years. WG FM had also invited administrations to provide relevant proposals on enforcement issues directly to future FM22 meetings.

According to the latest version of the harmonised standard ETSI EN 301 893, the user of the RLAN cannot change the software and hence DFS cannot be deactivated.

ECC agreed that the current situation is mainly a compliance and enforcement matter and not a consequence of any shortcomings in the Regulations or in the sharing mechanism in place. As a result, ECC identified in February 2017 a list of actions to be undertaken as found in Annex 14 of the ECC#44 Minutes.

In response to these identified actions, a range of activities has been performed in particular within WG FM and its Project Team FM22. A  questionnaire dedicated to the topic was approved by WGFM in May 2017. 37 CEPT administrations responded to the questionnaire. The assessment  of the responses was approved by WG FM in October 2017 and brought to the attention of relevant groups. 

As a result, ECC agreed in November 2017 to update the list of actions in order to reflect the status of activities. ECC also tasked WG FM / FM22 to support ADCO RED in its market surveillance campaign. 

FM22 will continue to monitor the situation and the work item FM22_32 is continued.

6.2 Information from national administrations

  • Germany: information on non-compliant radio equipment, including 5 GHz RLANs:Link
  • Hungary: information on non-compliant radio equipment, including 5 GHz RLANs:Link
  • France: information leaflet to 5 GHz RLAN users on the relevant technical and regulatory conditions: Link. It addresses the issue of interference from 5 GHz RLANs into meteorological radars.


Updated: 26 November 2020, 17:46