ARRL

ARRL Special Bulletin ARLX002 (2009)

SB SPCL @ ARL $ARLX002
ARLX002 IEEE to Form Balloting Group on BPL EMC Standard

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Special Bulletin 2  ARLX002
From ARRL Headquarters  
Newington CT  February 13, 2009
To all radio amateurs 

SB SPCL ARL ARLX002
ARLX002 IEEE to Form Balloting Group on BPL EMC Standard

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) has
been developing standards for Broadband over Power Line (BPL) use
and deployment. According to ARRL Lab Manager and IEEE member Ed
Hare, W1RFI, there are three IEEE standards in progress at this
time. The first, P1675, covers installation and safety practices and
should be published soon. The second, P1901, is focused mostly on
BPL protocols and interoperability between various BPL systems. ARRL
has no direct interest in either of these standards. The third
standard -- P1775 -- covers the electromagnetic compatibility (EMC)
aspects of BPL emissions testing and the immunity of BPL systems.
ARRL Lab Manager Ed Hare, W1RFI, as a member of the IEEE's P1775 BPL
EMC Standards Working Group, has participated in the development of
this standard from the very first meeting held in Denver, Colorado
in 2004.

"The IEEE Working Group developing the standard is heavily dominated
by the BPL industry and its electric-utility and EMC testing
partners," Hare noted. "The ARRL was the only radiocommunications
stakeholder that regularly attended meetings. Although I did make a
number of contributions to the standard that were included, most of
the major points I made about what was needed in an EMC standard to
achieve compatibility with licensed radio services were voted down
by the Working Group. The end result does not offer any real
protection to Amateur Radio, despite progress made in the industry
in that direction elsewhere."

Hare said that the major problem with the emissions testing part of
this standard is that it offers little more than a parroting of the
FCC rules on how to make measurements: "The test methods in this
standard are overly complex and incomplete at the same time. By
strongly parroting the FCC rules, the standard is promoting
regulations that do not serve well to provide good test methods that
enable BPL while protecting licensed services." Hare said that the
risk to having an international industry standard that relies
heavily on FCC regulations will increase the likelihood that these
regulations will be adopted by other countries. Hare has prepared a
report that outlines other problems he sees in the present draft of
the standard.

The IEEE has announced that the P1775 standard is ready for ballot.
Hare explained that the balloting process is not only a vote, but it
is part of the process to develop standards. "Stakeholders that
cannot attend the meetings that develop these standards can join the
balloting pool," Hare said. "The IEEE requires that 75 percent of
the balloting pool vote to approve the standard.  Even if it passes,
the IEEE requires that an attempt be made to resolve all negative
ballots. The ballot is not as much a vote as it is an important part
of ensuring that all interests are represented in an IEEE standard."

ARRL encourages those with a radio interest to join the IEEE
balloting pool prior to February 22, 2009. Many amateurs are IEEE
members; if they are also members of the IEEE Standards Association,
they are able to ballot on IEEE standards at no cost. Hare
reiterated that the ARRL is not opposed to the development of BPL
standards, but the best standards include the interests of all
stakeholders. "There are a lot of good parts of this standard," Hare
explained, "but it is lacking in areas that would make it a useful
tool with good test methods and practices that offer significant
protection to licensed radio services. Joining the balloting pool is
the best way that amateurs can help develop a more useful and
inclusive standard."

Please see http://www.arrl.org/news/stories/2009/02/13/10651/?nc=1
for additional information and links.
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