The EMC circle is closed

An editor’s reflections . The EMC area was born about a hundred years ago, when radio broadcasts began. At that time there was a concern that electromagnetic interference signals from electrical household equipment in could interfere with the reception of the new service.

A standardization process began for limits and methods of measurement for radiated emissions . Eventually, the standardization body CISPR (Committé International Spécial des Perturbations Radioélectriques) was founded and started the development of the quasipeak detector and measurement methods for unintentional emissions. Thus, radio interference was the basic reason for the birth of the EMC area.


Since then, the area has undergone a strong development in which a large amount of sub-disciplines are own scientific research areas. Having started as a radio-related area, eventually the focus on radio-related issues decreased as the EMC methods adapted for analogue services were developed and applied.


From the middle of the 1990s, CISPR once again began to focus on radio issues as the digital radio systems became more common. It turned out that the older measurement methods needed to be further developed to be applied to protect digital services from interference. In recent years we have seen a very rapid introduction of digital wireless systems in a wide range of products.


Intelligent transportation system (ITS), industrial control, sensor networks, alarm and monitoring systems are just some examples. In line with this development, we see a clear increase in EMC issues that are related to wireless technology, both at EMC conferences and in different product contexts.


The terms “Internet of things” and “Machine to Machine communications (M2M)” is used as a general term for remote control via digital connections. An ever growing part in these application fields is done with wireless technology which makes the EMC issues of high importance to ensure the reliability. We are thus back to a similar situation as when the EMC field was born at one time.


Now, however, with the big difference that it is a much greater complexity of wireless services involved than just public broadcasting. It is therefore important to realize that EMC aspects are an important prerequisite so that these fast-growing areas will be characterized by reliable applications and not limited by EMC problems.


Peter Stenumgaard
EMC editor, Electronic Environment