The Radio Equipment Directive Compliance Association (REDCA) of the European Union has made available the technical guidance note for RED compliance requirements for radio modules and the final radio equipment products that integrate a radio module.
Radio modules that meet the definition of radio equipment (as per Article 2 of the RED) are within the scope of the RED must be assessed to the RED prior to being placed on the market in the EU. In all cases, an assessment of the radio module must be made to the requirements of Article 3 of the RED.
Despite the possibility that the radio module’s operation may be re-assessed later as part of a final radio product, a full assessment of safety, EMC and radio performance is necessary for the radio module to demonstrate compliance with the RED.
The radio module manufacturer must define at least one operating environment (or selection of environments) for their assessment, and this must be clearly detailed in the technical documentation of the radio module.
For radio modules to be installed by end users and not professionally, it may be necessary for the radio module manufacturer to assess the radio module in a range of possible environments, or to limit the types of installation permitted.
The radio module manufacturer must consider the range of possible conditions such as input voltage, temperature and other environmental conditions which may apply in the final environment of use. This will include the internal operating temperatures and voltage variations of possible host devices.
Other aspects should be considered by the radio module manufacturer, such as:
- Antenna type and gain
- Antenna assembly, path or configuration
- Software versions or modifications
- Type of operation and use
- Shielding or reflective effects of the host product (if known)
- All safety aspects
Any items which could affect RED compliance, such as critical accessories, antennas, antenna assembly or path, software versions, etc., shall be documented in the radio module’s installation instructions and on the radio module’s EU declaration of conformity.
When installing a radio module into a host product, if the host product was not used at the time of original assessment of the radio module, some assessment or testing will be required at the final radio product level.
For example, if a host product and final radio product may have other functions besides the operation of the radio module. The assessment will cover the radio operation and also the other functions, which may likely be covered under different standards.