Radio Equipment Directive: A step-by-step compliance process

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Radio equipment is used extensively in construction and the industry benefits from the Radio Equipment Directive (RED), introduced by the European Union in 2014 to ensure that all radio equipment sold in the EU meets certain health and safety requirements. In order to meet the requirements of the RED, companies must go through a compliance process to certify their products. Below we explain the RED in more detail and provide step-by-step instructions for the compliance process.

What is the Radio Equipment Directive?

The Radio Equipment Directive 2014/53/EU (RED) is a European directive and part of the CE marking directives. It applies to any device that emits radio waves, including devices with Wi-Fi or Bluetooth.

These following requirements apply to all devices covered by the RE Directive:

Protection of the safety and health of the user and all other persons, including the safety regulations of Directive 2014/35/EU for electrical equipment for use within the specified voltage limits Electromagnetic compatibility according to Directive 2014/30/EU

● The Radio Equipment Directive requires radio equipment to use radio spectrum effectively and support its efficient use. Communications devices must comply with the regulations in such a way that devices approved in one country can be placed on the market in any other member state of the European Union without restrictions.
The RED directive requires that all devices acting as transmitters:
● generate radio waves that are not harmful and/or disruptive,
● limit unwanted radio wave emissions (e.g. in adjacent channels) that can cause harmful interference.
The RED requires recipients to:
● work according to their function while avoiding interference from neighboring or shared radio equipment,
● Support the efficient operation of neighboring or shared devices.

The Radio Equipment Directive applies to any electrical or electronic device that has an accessory that generates radio waves, such as a radio. B. an antenna, and which emit and / or receive radio waves for radio communication and / or radio determination (measurement of position, speed or other characteristics of an object via radio waves).
Examples of products covered by the RED
Product types covered by the RED include:
● cell phones
● WiFi devices
● Bluetooth devices
GPS receiver
● TV sets
● Domestic radios
● Radars
● Mobile radio receivers

Examples of NOT Covered Products

The following types of devices are not covered by the RED:
● Devices used for activities related to public and/or government safety
● Radio equipment for amateurs, if not available on the market
● Devices covered by the Marine Directive
● Devices used for air traffic management or civil aviation
● Evaluation kits made specifically for research and development organizations

Step-by-step guide to the radio equipment compliance process

Since it is easy to lose track of everything you need to comply with the RE directive, we have provided a guide with all the important points.

check compliance

Manufacturers need to determine if their equipment falls under the RED. In order to fall under the scope of the directive, the devices must meet the essential requirements of the Low Voltage Directive and the Electromagnetic Compatibility Directive. In addition, the devices must support efficient use of the radio spectrum and be resistant to interference from other devices.
If harmonized standards exist for the device, the manufacturer can independently determine the suitability of the device. Otherwise, an authorized notified body must be consulted.

Declaration of Conformity (Content)

The general structure and content of each declaration of conformity is the same for each directive, but can vary slightly depending on the directive.

Most guidelines require the following information:
1. Name and address of the manufacturer
2. Device description and/or serial number
3. Reference to the relevant harmonized standards
4. If applicable, reference to the specifications with which the conformity is declared
5. Signer Information
6. The last two digits of the year in which the CE marking was affixed
Technical Documentation
Directive 2014/53/EU stipulates that the technical documentation must contain:
1. Description of the radio equipment
2. Declaration of Conformity
3. Restrictions, if applicable
4. List of harmonized standards, if applicable
5. Details of notified bodies, if involved
6. Results of design calculations and tests
7. Audit Reports

Affixing the CE mark

When all the necessary steps have been taken, it is time to place the CE mark on the product. The marking should be placed either on the device, the packaging or the instructions. The letters must be the same size vertically and must not be smaller than 5 millimeters. If the product is also covered by other directives, the CE marking does not have to be affixed until all directives have been met.
Sanctions for non-compliance with the radio equipment directive
Each EU member state is obliged to establish rules for sanctions for non-compliance with the radio equipment directive. Below are examples of penalties for Member States Germany and the United Kingdom. For sanctions in other EU member states, please consult local product safety legislation.
● Germany – Violations of the product safety law can be punished with fines of 3,000 to 30,000 € (§ 19) and imprisonment of up to one year (§ 20).
● In the UK, breaches of the policy fall under Section 33 of the HSWA and are punishable by an unlimited fine and up to two years’ imprisonment.


As you can see, the RED directive is essential to legally sell radio equipment in Europe, which is why it is all the more important to be compliant with it. The penalties here are also relatively high and can cost you business. Nevertheless, it is not very time-consuming to carry out the conformity procedure, which is why you should not save any time here.
Before a manufacturer can start the necessary process of assessing his product, he must determine whether the product in question needs to be assessed himself or whether a notified body needs to be involved.
If there are harmonized standards for a device, the manufacturer can declare the device’s conformity with the RED itself. If there are no harmonized standards for a device, a notified body must be involved in the assessment of the device. The tests required for this can be obtained from third-party providers approved by the EU. They relieve you of many processes and ensure that your device can be safely brought to market without incurring any problems or penalties.