Frequency – who defines it?

In the world of radio, the frequencies that are allowed are strictly controlled. On a global basis the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is an agency of the United Nations and it divides the world into three areas for regulatory issues. These are:

Region 1 – Europe, Middle East, Africa, the former Soviet Union, including Siberia; and Mongolia;

Region 2 – North and South America and Pacific (East of the International Date Line);

Region 3 – Asia, Australia and the Pacific Rim (West of the International Date Line).

This applies for RFID as well. Each region has countries that have their own regulatory authority.  In the USA, the frequencies are controlled by the FCC, in Europe it is CEPT(in particular Electronic Communications Committee (ECC)). In other parts of the world, other Regulatory Agencies control frequency allocations (in Japan it is the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications(MIC)).

There are six frequency bands that are important to RFID. These are:

  • <135 kHz
  • 13.56 MHz
  • 315/433 MHz
  • 860 – 960 MHz
  • 2.45 GHz
  • 5.8 GHz

The regulations governing each frequency vary by Region and by Country

Region 1

The main controlling document for the European regions is ERC RECOMMENDATION 70-03. This document shows in Annex 1 the main characteristics for each frequency. The following European standards relate to these frequencies. These can be obtained from the ETSI web site(you need to register to get documents):

  • EN 300 220
  • EN 300 330
  • EN 300 440
  • EN 302 208
  • EN 302 291

Region 2

The main controlling document for the USA is Title 47: Telecommunication – PART 15—RADIO FREQUENCY DEVICES. Specifically sections 15.225, 15.240, 15.245, 15.247, and 15.249. Other countries may follow other rules, but many follow the FCC rules (for example Canada uses the FCC rules as a basis for their 902 – 928 MHz rules for RFID).  To be sure of the exact requirement for a particular country it is necessary to contact that countries regulatory agency.

Region 3

There is no over-riding document for Region 3. Some countries will follow parts of the European standards, others may lean to the FCC rules and yet others will have their own regulations.

The appropriate research should always be done before any installation is started.