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
     

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 13 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 5).

57-66 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

At the moment, WGFM/SRD/MG is studying possibilities for a better harmonisation approach with less restrictive regulations for all applications under general authorisation regime to be included within the ERC Recommendation 70-03 for the frequency range 57-66 GHz.

 

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

 

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

WRC-19 agenda item 1.16 considers issues related to wireless access systems, including radio local area networks (WAS/RLAN), in the frequency bands between 5 150 MHz and 5 925 MHz, and take the appropriate regulatory actions, including additional spectrum allocations to the mobile service, in accordance with Resolution 239 (WRC-15). The work in CEPT is organised in CPG PTD.

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) while Footnotes 5.447F and 5.450A in the regulation refer to Recommendation ITU-R M.1638-0 (system characteristics and interference criteria for radiodetermination services). 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. The corresponding activities (work item FM57_01) are carried out within Project Team FM57. The related compatibility studies (with the Fixed Service and Fixed Satellite Service (uplink), work item SE45_01) are performed within Project Team SE45.

Studies are also ongoing within SRD/MG and SE24 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

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.

An explanatory paper agreed by ECC/ WG FM (edition February 2017) 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). The explanatory paper is also referenced in ERC Recommendation 70-03 and available in the EFIS database.

 

6 Interference into meteorological radars (5600-5650 MHz)

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 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 peformed 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. 

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