Feeds

Radio hams unite to fight off new powerline comms standard

If you tolerate this, your ADSL will be next

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

The Radio Society of Great Britain is mobilising Europe's radio hams in protest against the forthcoming standard for powerline networking, predicting dire consequences if existing standards aren't applied.

The society has issued a call to arms (PDF, lots of details) in protest at the new standard for powerline telecommunications (PLT), which seeks to regulate a technology which some argue has fallen between the cracks of existing legislation, but the RSGB has long argued that the more-stringent EN55022 would cover PLT tech perfectly adequately if only it were applied properly.

The new regulation – EN50561 – proposes much higher permitted levels of radio pollution, meaning PLT kit-makers could take advantage of this – thus muddying the spectrum for amateur radio enthusiasts. This is in contrast to the regulation the hams would like to see enforced: EN55022, which is much more stringent about radiated emissions testing.

PLT kit sends signals over domestic mains wiring, but as that wiring is almost entirely unshielded, it acts as an enormous antenna so the networking signal can blanket the neighbourhood with unwanted radio. Existing PLT kit uses a narrow signal band which only really upsets radio hams, but newer devices are pushing up into FM bands and down into those used for ADSL connections.

ADSL operates over copper phone lines, but if those are running alongside mains wiring then cross-interference is very possible.

Ofcom, the UK regulator, argues that it has had almost no complaints from radio users, but that's hardly surprising given that such complaints are handled by the BBC these days, not to mention that most listeners will blame their radio rather than consider their PLT kit might be causing the problem.

Ofcom also argues that it's powerless to do anything, as it only regulates radio transmitters. The regulator has long been pointing to the new standard's status as "in development" (numbered EN50561) as "proof" that regulations don't exist (despite assertions from the European Commission that EN55022 is applicable), and has added that even if EN55022 did apply, it's too vague to be useful.

EN55022 currently requires kit bearing the CE Mark to avoid interfering with existing radio users, but once the new legislation passes the RSGB fears that it "risks manufacturers of virtually any new device or product wanting to use the very high radio pollution levels allowed by prEN 50561-1, claiming it as a precedent", leading to a more-polluted spectrum across the dial.

The RSGB reckons the new regulations were largely drafted by manufacturers of PLT kit, and is calling on hams around the EU to get in touch with their reps who'll be voting on the measure over the summer. ®

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
So, Apple won't sell cheap kit? Prepare the iOS garden wall WRECKING BALL
It can throw the low cost race if it looks to the cloud
EE accused of silencing customer gripes on social media pages
Hello. HELLO. Can EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE HEAR ME?!
Time Warner Cable customers SQUEAL as US network goes offline
A rude awakening: North Americans greeted with outage drama
Shoot-em-up: Sony Online Entertainment hit by 'large scale DDoS attack'
Games disrupted as firm struggles to control network
BT customers face broadband and landline price hikes
Poor punters won't be affected, telecoms giant claims
Broadband slow and expensive? Blame Telstra says CloudFlare
Won't peer, will gouge for Internet transit
prev story

Whitepapers

Best practices for enterprise data
Discussing how technology providers have innovated in order to solve new challenges, creating a new framework for enterprise data.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?