08 Jan 2023
by Benoît Stockbroeckx

Possible changes to spectrum allocation dedicated to alarm systems

The European Communication Committee (CEPT/ECC) maintains for decades the ERC Recommendation 70-03 relating to the use of Short-Range Devices (SRD), including the frequency allocation for specific and non-specific short range radio devices.

 It is a reference document to assist in preparing national spectrum regulations. Annex 7 of this document recommends to restrict the use of 4 frequency sub-bands in the 868-869 MHz range to alarms for security and safety and 1 frequency sub-band to social alarms.

ECC claim that some CEPT administrations already allow non-specific SRD use in the frequency bands recommended for alarms since they do not have a specific alarm category in their national regulations. They also claim that some wireless alarm systems in the market also use frequencies identified for non-specific SRD applications or for wideband data transmission and that alarms are also listed among the typical uses of non-specific SRD. They are therefore currently questioning whether the distinction between non-specific SRD and alarms may have become obsolete and are considering the possible shift of alarm entries (except social alarms) to non-specific SRD. This means that the frequency bands used to be allocated to alarms would be open to any application.

The Euralarm Horizontal Compliance Committee has been alerted of this project. The initial assessment shows that the installed base of wireless security and safety alarm systems as well as smoke alarm devices with wireless interconnection could experience new interferences generated by other applications currently emitting out of the alarm sub-bands. The concern is of paramount importance knowing that the life cycle of alarm systems is generally long, of the order of 10 years or more. This has been perceived as a high risk of increase in loss of communication and fault warnings and therefore more annoyance for the users and a decrease in reliability.

ECC has recently questioned ETSI about this project and some Euralarm members had the opportunity to contribute. The draft CEPT Report on the 9th update of the EC Decisions on SRD possibly implementing this project is scheduled to be sent to public consultation in June 2023. Euralarm Horizontal Compliance Committee will get prepared with an answer to this consultation.