The new European Radio Equipment Directive soon effective

The new European Radio Equipment Directive (RED) 2014/53/EU was published on April 16, 2014. It will be made effective in every EU/EEA by 12 June this year, whereby the current R&TTE directive is being withdrawn, but with a one year transitional period, i.e. until 12 June 2017. 

Up till now, equipment using the radio frequency spectrum to function has been based on traditional IT & Communication technology, e.g. radio and TV, PCs and telephones, i.e. for human communication one way or the other. We are, however, now entering into an age where also communication with/between items are expected to grow drastically. This is often referred to as ‘Internet of Things’(IoT), e.g. remote turning on appliances at home by a mobile phone, separate home appliances controlling each other, control of implanted medical devices, and even running shoes transmitting and receiving data, and thus behaving like radio equipment.

The new directive has been updated to reflect the current and expected coming types of radio (using) equipment, and at the same time aligned with other recast directives, such as the new Low Voltage Directive (LVD) and EMC Directive.

The role of Notified Bodies as well as the qualification requirements for these organizations have been clarified in this new RED directive.

Some of the Key Changes are:

  • All receivers (including broadcast radio and TV equipment) now fall under the scope of the RED instead of the EMC Directive.
  • The radio frequency spectrum governed within the scope of the Directive now has no lower limit. It was previously covering the range from 9 kHz up to 3000 GHz.
  • There are no voltage limits for radio equipment regarding LVD safety requirements.
  • Only the conformity procedures of the RED shall be applied (instead of those of the LVD- and EMC directives), and hence only one Declaration of Conformity (DoC) to be issued.
  • In addition to type, batch, model, serial number etc. allowing identification, the name and address of the manufacturer shall be on the product or the packaging or the user manual.
  • The manufacturer must inform the Notified Body of all modifications to the product that may affect compliance.
  • In case of re-branding, the owner of the appearing brand undertakes all responsibilities of the original manufacturer.
  • Clearer guidelines on market surveillance and how these authorities should operate.

The Routes to Compliance
Three options are now available for radio equipment manufacturers to prove compliance with the essential requirements. Two of those options involve the participation of a Notified Body.

Self-declaration + internal production control (per Annex II of the Directive)
If harmonized standards have been applied in full, then Notified Body involvement is not needed. The manufacturer alone is responsible for ensuring right technical documentation, production control etc. and CE-marking.

Type examination certificate + internal production control (per Annex III of the Directive)
The product must be certified by a Notified Body, while the manufacturer is still responsible for the technical documentation, production control etc. and CE-marking. (The Notified Body’s id. no. shall not be shown in this case).

Full Quality Assurance agreement with a Notified Body (per Annex IV of the Directive)
The Notified Body is involved in auditing all of the manufacturers relevant processes and systems for quality assurance, including the CE marking and issuing the Declaration of Conformity. The Notified Body’s id. no. shall be shown next to the CE-marking.

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