Despite Difficult NEBS Testing, Telecom Equipment Manufacturers Increasingly Benefit from Compliance to GR-1089-CORE & GR-63-CORE

When the power goes out, more often than not, the landline phone still works.  And often the cell phone too. 

This is no accident. The NEBS (Network Equipment Building System) family of standards is designed to keep the network running no matter what, and they are more comprehensive and more difficult to comply with than any other test suite we run at MET Labs

In NEBS testing, the Telcordia Generic Requirements (GRs) is what members of the Telecommunication Carrier Group (TCG), such as Verizon and AT&T, use to evaluate telecommunications equipment for safety, reliability and performance, as well as its impact on the environment of telecom facilities.  Some non-TCGs, like Comcast, also require a subset of NEBS testing.

Despite the initial cost of compliance, meeting NEBS requirements can positively impact a manufacturer’s bottom line in a significant way.  Increasingly, telecommunications equipment manufacturers around the world are requiring their component suppliers – wire line and wireless – to demonstrate compliance with NEBS and including this stipulation in requests for proposal (RFPs) and supplier contracts.

Equipment manufacturers document compliance to NEBS requirements by having testing or witnessing performed by an ISO 17025 accredited independent test laboratory (ITL), like MET Laboratories

NEBS requirements apply to telecommunications equipment installed in a Central Office (CO) environment, certain Outside Plant applications (OSP), and Customer Premises Equipment (CPE). There are generally two primary GRs that apply to most equipment designated for use in a CO: GR-1089-CORE Issue 6, which covers electromagnetic compatibility, electrical transients and electrical safety; and GR-63-CORE Issue 4, which covers physical requirements that include high/low temperatures, high humidity, shock and exposure, fire ignition and flame spread, seismic conditions and airborne contaminates.  Individual TCGs may have additional requirements.

NEBS requirements are divided into three levels of compliance:

  • Level 1 comprises only safety and risk criteria. Conformance to Level 1 does not assure equipment operability or service continuity. Level 1 is typically used by service providers for early deployment into their COs and/or interoperability laboratories, and to allow collocaters to install equipment in a central office.
  • Level 2 includes all requirements of Level 1 with some added level of operability reliability.  It is rarely used.
  • Level 3 criteria provide the highest assurance of product operability. Most TCGs require NEBS Level 3 for equipment operation in the central office, but not collocated equipment. This is the most used level.

In addition to the Telcordia Generic Requirements, a buyer may require American National Standards developed by the Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS). These standards, such as ATIS-0600319 Equipment Assemblies – Fire Propagation Risk Assessment or the ATIS-0600015 series of energy efficiency testing standards, are often referenced in the Telcordia GRs.

In addition, there are international standards for manufacturers that seek compliance for the global marketplace. Examples include the ETSI 300 019 and 300 386 series of standards dealing with the physical and EMC environments, respectively.

MET is a pioneer in NEBS testing, and will be offering our first East Coast NEBS Compliance Seminar in many years in October.  Registration is not yet open, but you can reserve a seat now by sending an email to info@metlabs.com .

Also, we will be at CTIA Wireless later this month.  Meet with us there.

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