Feeds

Radio hams unite to fight off new powerline comms standard

If you tolerate this, your ADSL will be next

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

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. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
FCC, Google cast eye over millimetre wireless
The smaller the wave, the bigger 5G's chances of success
It's even GRIMMER up North after MEGA SKY BROADBAND OUTAGE
By 'eck! Eccles cake production thrown into jeopardy
Mobile coverage on trains really is pants
You thought it was just *insert your provider here*, but now we have numbers
Don't mess with Texas ('cos it's getting Google Fiber and you're not)
A bit late, but company says 1Gbps Austin network almost ready to compete with AT&T
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.