Wireless Systems


Wireless systems and their regulatory environment

Towards a fully connected wireless world

It's a Wireless World

Radio technology is used extensively worldwide. It is integrated with daily life everywhere, through use of 2G and 3G mobile telephony, broadcast radio and television, Wireless LAN and cordless technology, Global Navigation Satellite Systems, RFID and short range devices. All of these technologies and applications compete for use of scarce radio spectrum resources.

ETSI creates standards which define many of these radio technologies and systems. ETSI also provides the standards which are used by regulatory authorities in Europe and beyond in order to manage the radio spectrum environment and to ensure safe co-existence between all these systems.

Our Role in the European Regulatory Environment

ETSI cooperates with the EC (European Commission) and the ECC (Electronic Communications Committee of the European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations) on aspects of the regulatory environment for radio equipment and spectrum, both at the EU level and at the wider intergovernmental level across Europe.

The EC harmonizes the essential requirements for radio equipment, which include constructing radio equipment so as to avoid harmful interference, via the R&TTE Directive (1999/5/EC).

ETSI's Harmonised Standards are typically applied by manufacturers to demonstrate that their products comply with these requirements before being placed on the market and put into service.


The Wireless Systems cluster encompasses the activities of several ETSI Technical Committees:

  • 3GPP (Third Generation Partnership Project)
  • ATTM (Access, Terminals, Transmission and Multiplexing)
  • BRAN (Broadband Radio Access Networks)
  • DECT (Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications)
  • ERM Electromagnetic compatibility and Radio spectrum Matters)
  • ERM TGAERO (Aeronautics)
  • MSG (Mobile Standards Group)
  • RRS (Reconfigurable Radio Systems)
  • RT (Railway Telecommunications)
  • SES (Satellite Earth Stations & Systems)
  • TCCE (TETRA and Critical Communications Evolution)

The Wireless Systems cluster also co-operates with various fora, consortia and organizations, including CEPT, DECT Forum, DVB, EBU, ECMA International, ESA, IEEE-SA, ITU-R, NGMN Alliance, TETRA Association and the Wireless Innovation Forum.


3GPP, the Third Generation Partnership Project, is a collaboration between six standards organizations worldwide (ARIB, ATIS, CCSA, ETSI, TTA, TTC) that develops specifications for advanced mobile communications technologies. Based on the evolution of GSM, first developed in Europe, 3GPP has developed the UMTS, LTE and LTE-Advanced technologies. A derivative of GSM, GSM-R developed by ETSI's Technical Committee RT, is used in the rail industry.

TC BRAN produces standards for Metropolitan Area Networks and Wireless Local Area Networks. Such networks are suitable for providing wireless broadband connectivity.

Standards for microwave fixed links, typically deployed in backbone networks, are developed in the ATTM committee.

All TC-ERM activities have a common theme of electromagnetic and radio spectrum compatibility. ERM activities cover the following fields: Aeronautical - Automotive - Broadcast - Short range devices including generic devices, avalanche beacons, inductive data communications, RFID - Intelligent Transport Systems - Maritime - Private Mobile Radio (PMR) including Digital Mobile Radio - Measurement uncertainty - Radio site engineering - Wireless medical devices - Wideband data systems including the 2,4GHz frequency band that is mostly used by access technologies such as WLAN - Ultra Wideband (UWB) including automotive radar and short range communication.

TC RRS develops standards for Reconfigurable Radio Systems encompassing Software Defined Radio (SDR) and Cognitive Radio (CR).

TC SES develops standards for satellite communication services and applications (including mobile, broadcasting and GNSS services) as well as all types of earth stations and earth station equipment.

TETRA, developed by the ETSI TC TCCE (TETRA and Critical Communications Evolution), is a digital trunked mobile radio standard developed to meet the needs of Professional Mobile Radio (PMR) users such as Public Safety, Transportation, Utilities, Government, Military and Oil & Gas industries.

TC MSG provides the regulatory standards which are needed to support the deployment of GSM, UMTS and LTE networks in Europe.

ISG ORI is developing a standardized and interoperable data link interface for Remote Radio Head equipment in distributed mobile cellular base stations. Use of distributed Radio Equipment can lead to significant cost savings for a mobile operator, as well as offering a greater level of flexibility in network design and deployment.

TC AERO (now closed) produced standards for air traffic management radio equipment. This work has now been transferred to ERM TGAERO.

New Generation DECT, an extension of DECT cordless technology, is standardized by ETSI's TC DECT.