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 firstname.lastname@example.org .
Also, we will be at CTIA Wireless later this month. Meet with us there.
Verizon’s annual NEBS meeting in Baltimore, Maryland with ITL Labs was last week, and MET Labs’ NEBS guru Troy Franklin was there. Following are highlights from his notes.
NEBS Personnel Changes
Verizon NEBS Program Head Howard Davis has exited the NEBS group, assuming leadership of Verizon’s Optical Systems Testing team in Baltimore.
Andy Marquis, from Verizon’s Waltham, Massachusetts office, is now heading the NEBS group.
Todd Talbot will continue to lead the NEBS Conference, which is October 23-24 in Las Vegas.
Product Field Failures
Verizon has been stung by NEBS product field failures, due to occasional insufficient manufacturer documentation of engineering change notices (ECNs) and product change notifications (PCNs). Going forward, Verizon will scrutinize test reports for proper documentation of product or component changes.
Data Center Requirements/GR-3160-CORE
Telcordia is inviting vendors and labs to participate in the rewrite of GR-3160-CORE: NEBS Requirements for Telecommunications Data Center Equipment and Spaces. The participation fee is $7,000.
Unresolved is whether a data center should be treated the same as a central office, or whether data center equipment should be subjected to less-than-full NEBS requirements.
GR-63-CORE Issue 4 Acceptance
Verizon now accepts the GR-63-CORE Issue 4 testing, as detailed in this previous post. Issue 4 report templates will be available June 25. GR-63-CORE Issue 3 testing will no longer be accepted after October 31, 2012.
Verizon is seeking to trim the NEBS template to simplify the reporting, and has asked ITLs to assist in devising a new format.
Energy efficiency is a priority for Verizon due to its direct effect on revenue.
Verizon has adopted the ATIS series documents for energy efficiency testing.
For the TEEER program, Verizon is considering allowing testing at the vendor’s facility due to the high cost of transporting large-scale systems to the test lab.
Verizon is working on a revision to the lead-free test requirements of VZ.TPR.9307 to make it less cumbersome and expensive.
The salt fog requirement of VZ.TPR.9307 for central office equipment is no longer applicable.
Verizon is working on a new TPR for wireless devices to be used in the central office, to test immunity of intentional radiators.
Verizon is seeing interference issues with DVRs, routers, and set -top boxes when they are being operated next to wireless devices, like cell phones and Wi-Fi equipment.
Verizon ITL Member Change
Garwood Laboratories is no longer a part of the Verizon ITL program.
Register for a complimentary MET Labs NEBS Testing Seminar in Dallas in October.
Involved in NEBS EMC compliance? Contact us for a free “Cheat Sheet” that details the updates in GR-1089-CORE Issue 6.
For NEBS Certification pricing and lead time, visit our Quote Center to fill out a RFQ or to have someone contact you.
Last week, MET Labs hosted a joint meeting of the Central Texas Chapter of the IEEE EMC Society and the Central Texas Chapter of the IEEE Product Safety Engineering Society. The feature presentation – “Ten Things You Must Know about NEBS” – was a topic of interest to both groups.
The Network Equipment Building System (NEBS) testing presentation was introductory in nature, but featured some information that we thought would be interesting to Compliance Today readers:
Cost Versus Schedule
The more samples provided, the quicker the testing process. On the flip side, the more samples provided, the higher the test costs. The telecom equipment manufacturer needs to submit to the test lab the optimal number of samples to balance speed and cost.
Plan on a minimum of three units for the NEBS test cycle:
- One for GR-63-CORE
- One for GR-1089-CORE
- One for second level lightning, AC power fault, and fire resistance tests
GR-63-CORE requires that a product be set on fire from the inside. A methane line burner (simulating a burning line card) is inserted into the product and allowed to burn for 330 seconds.
This test should be performed first on a unit that is populated with the correct fuel load. The mechanism for the normal operation of the fans should be engaged and the unit should be fully cabled as well.
The NEBS seismic test simulates about an 8.2 Richter Scale earthquake. Equipment must be operational before and after the test. The objective is the equipment is operational during the test.
GR-1089-CORE specifies electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) testing requirements.
Section 2 covers electrostatic discharge (ESD) and electrical fast transients (EFT). ESD testing is performed at 4 kV and 15 kV air and 8 kV contact.
Section 3 covers electromagnetic interference (EMI). A NEBS product must pass radiated and conducted emissions tests as well as radiated and conducted immunity tests. The frequency range for radiated emissions and immunity is 10 kHz to 10 GHz.
Section 4 covers lightning and AC power fault requirements. Even if the product doesn’t have any signals going to outside plant (OSP), there are still intra-building surge and power-cross events that must be addressed.
Section 5 covers steady-state power induction. This affects network equipment interfacing with OSP.
Additional RBOC Requirements
Each Regional Bell Operating Company (RBOC) has its own requirements beyond GR-63 and GR-1089.
Verizon has stricter pass criteria for fire resistance and has its own guidelines for some of the EMC requirements. Verizon also has specifications for hazardous substances (RoHS), energy efficiency (TEEER), and thermal modeling (TMST).
AT&T has its own requirements for DC power and energy efficiency (TEER).