Be wary of wireless modules, TÜV SÜD warns

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Manufacturers integrating wireless modules into their products may be at risk of selling non-compliant goods, product compliance firm TÜV SÜD has warned.

The company says it is seeing a significant growth in the number of non-compliant products entering its laboratories due to the rising trend for wireless modules being added into products such as TVs, washing machines, fridges, telematics devices and factory machinery. "Products that were not traditionally subject to the Radio and Telecommunications Terminal Equipment Directive (R&TTE) must now meet its requirements and manufacturers are failing to realise this," it said in a statement. TÜV SÜD says a presumption is often made among manufacturers that when an R&TTE compliant module is integrated into a final host product, no further radio testing is necessary. However, this is not the case if the module is not integrated in accordance with the module manufacturer's instructions, and it must also meet additional essential requirements of the R&TTE Directive, such as safety and EMC aspects. Jean-Louis Evans, managing director of TÜV SÜD Product Service, explained: "The integration of wireless modules is going beyond the more traditional market, such as laptops and mobile phones, and they are now being included in everything from domestic fridges to industrial machinery. The problem is that while these wireless modules are being sold to manufacturers as being compliant, once they are integrated into another product that changes the rules. "Manufacturers are assuming that because the wireless module is compliant, that they do not have to do any more tests to declare against different standards – this is wrong. Market surveillance authorities can come down hard on manufacturers that supply non-compliant equipment to the market and ignorance of the rules is no excuse."