Technical Committee (TC) Reconfigurable Radio Systems (RRS) Activity Report 2023

Chair: Paul Bender, BNetzA

Responsible for the standardization of Reconfigurable Radio Systems (RRS), including reconfigurable equipment architecture, Software Defined Radio and Cognitive Radio.

The telecommunications industry faces a major challenge – a lack of spectrum to meet growing demand, particularly for Internet and mobile communications. However, a significant amount of spectrum is allocated exclusively to organizations that do not take full advantage of it. For example, much is used only across certain areas or at specific times.

Reconfigurable Radio Systems (RRS) are smart radio entities or functions that can react to their environment and/or have their radio parameters updated via software. This offers an opportunity to support the needs of our connected world – including the Internet of Things (IoT) – by sharing spectrum among multiple services and radio networks. Spectrum sharing will also play a key role in the further development of 5G, and subsequently 6G.

ETSI’s Technical Committee on RRS is responsible for the standardization of these systems, including reconfigurable equipment architecture and cognitive radio. Scope of the committee’s work encompasses Software Defined Radio (SDR) and Cognitive Radio (CR). TC RRS continuously develops technical standards to meet stakeholders’ needs, such as evolved Licenced Shared Access (eLSA), to enable technical interoperability as well as regulatory compliance in this scope.

Initially published by TC RRS Working Group 1 in March 2023 with a subsequent update in June, TR 103 885 V1.1.2 is titled “Feasibility study on existing spectrum sharing frameworks for temporary and flexible spectrum access”. Leveraging ETSI’s regular interactions with the WInnForum (Wireless Innovation Forum) community, this Technical Report evaluates existing dynamic spectrum access frameworks and their suitability for potential on-demand use cases. It also presents a gap analysis to identify further improvements in the definition of requirements, system architectures and functionalities for spectrum access.

In June ETSI and WInnForum jointly published a White Paper titled “Spectrum sharing frameworks for temporary, dynamic, and flexible spectrum access for local private networks”“Spectrum sharing frameworks for temporary, dynamic, and flexible spectrum access for local private networks. Based on TR 103 885 and WinnForum’s own Technical Report WINNF‑TR‑2011, this international collaboration analyzes status of dynamic spectrum sharing use cases and frameworks, including the associated evaluation elements and opportunities to adopt these frameworks, to regulators such as the CEPT worldwide. Use cases addressed in the paper include audio Programme Making and Special Events (audio PMSE), wireless industrial automation, Public Protection & Disaster Relief (PPDR), and drone control and payload. Based on the most challenging characteristics extracted from all use cases, a desirable parameter set for an envisaged sharing framework is presented that suggests further evolution of the frameworks discussed.

Results of the analysis were presented in June at the 18th European Spectrum Management Conference in Brussels.

Building further on this collaboration, work was launched on a new Technical Specification titled “Dynamic Spectrum Allocation Service (DSAS) System Requirements”. This presents specifications of a spectrum sharing framework suitable for the needs of local private networks for dynamic and temporary use cases, derived from existing frameworks such as eLSA, AFC and CBRS.

Also published by RRS WG1 in February 2023, TR 103 587 V1.2.1 is a revision of the Technical Report “Feasibility study of a Radio Interface Engine (RIE)”.

During the year TC RRS officers and members contributed to ETSI White Paper #57 “Software Radio Reconfiguration: A modular Software Reconfiguration approach for Radio Equipment in general. Published in May 2023, this updates the previous edition of the paper originally published in 2020.

In relation to the technical support of regulatory matters, RRS Working Group 3 deals with the Technical Specifications in support of RRS Certification and Declaration of Conformity and Security, with main activity of the group being the participation in the EC group “Commission Expert Group on Radio Equipment”. In 2023, the work items on dynamic re-certification of configurable equipment remained on hold, pending EC decisions on a possible future delegated act(s) on Article 3(3)(i) and 4 of the RED. These cover the technical work in support of compliance of radio equipment in case of software reconfiguration and could also support the future Cyber Resilience Act. Accordingly a new Work Item was adopted during the year, titled “Feasibility study on the usage of software reconfiguration in support of European Regulations”. Publication as a Technical Report was in progress at the end of 2023.

During 2023 TC RRS continued its active participation in the RED EC Expert group and directly with the EC Policy Officer, in view of a possible Regulation by the European Commission about Radio Equipment Directive articles 3.3(i) and 4, ensuring extensive exchange of information with other ETSI Technical Bodies. Accordingly TC RRS presented the ETSI Software Reconfiguration Framework to support implementation of RED Article 3(3)(i), to the RED Expert Group – held online on November 30th and December 1st – in anticipation of a possible EC Mandate on Radio Reconfigurable Systems.

The committee also follows exchanges between the EC, CEN, CENELEC and ETSI in relation to the draft Standardisation Request for the Cyber Resilience Act.

See the full list of TC RRS Work Items currently in development here.