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European Agencies Consider the Expansion of Spectrum for UHF RFID

An upcoming meeting will explore the possibility of assigning the 915 to 921 MHz RF band for RFID applications.
By Rhea Wessel
The proposal made to ETSI followed a report published in August 2010 by the European Communications Office (ECO), an agency supporting the European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations (CEPT), a coordinating body for the telecommunications regulators of 48 European countries. The report, entitled "The Dynamic Evolution of the RFID Market," indicated that additional RF frequencies may be necessary to improve the functionality of future applications, and to support future market growth. In response, Sergey Pastukh, the chairman of CEPT's Electronic Communications Committee (ECC) Frequency Management Working Group (WGFM), asked a sub-group, the SRD Maintenance Group, to organize an ECC workshop to examine the need for additional spectrum for RFID and other types of short-range devices.

According to Thomas Weber, the SRD Maintenance Group's chairman, RFID market players expect to need additional spectrum capacity for deploying new applications, such as an RFID application involving a high number of readers within a confined area. Or they may require the spectrum for higher-performance applications, he adds, such as one that could be used for item-level tagging.

In a formally defined process for assigning spectrum in Europe, the attendees will discuss which studies will need to be performed in order to ensure spectrum compatibility between SRDs and RFID and other wireless devices in the 800 MHz bands, to make sure there is no interference among applications.

"You can only put a new radio application in a frequency after you have made sure it doesn't interfere with others," Weber explains, "because there is no empty spectrum. All spectrum is used in some way."

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