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A Large Amount of Up Front Work Is Required To Ensure That a Product Is NEBS Compliant


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May 05, 2011

A Large Amount of Up Front Work Is Required To Ensure That a Product Is NEBS Compliant

By Jamie Epstein, TMCnet Web Editor

Dave Lorusso writes a blog titled “Introduction to NEBS,” that is all about how he wants to educate and inform the compliance engineering community about the multiple layers of network equipment building system (NEBS) requirements.

Lorusso has worked in the field of compliance throughout his entire career, which spans more than 22 years. For the past seven years, he has been solely focused upon NEBS, specifically with the initial design phase of the network equipment that is used in both central offices (CO) and outside plants.

NEBS covers a broad area within compliance engineering including product safety, electromagnetic compatibility and environmental requirements. There are hundreds of specific requirements that a product must have to be considered NEBS compliant, and if just one requirement is not met, the product will not be considered NEBS compliant. A huge amount of up-front work is required to become NEBS compliant and although NEBS is not a legal requirement, it is a customer requirement.

Specifically, according to Lorusso, it is a requirement for the RBOCs—Verizon, SBC, Qwest (News - Alert), and Bell South—and the Interexchange Carriers (IXCs). IXCs include AT&T, Qwest, Sprint, and WorldCom. These service providers, with a combined market capitalization of $260 billion, require manufacturers to meet NEBS requirements as a condition of installing their network equipment into the provider's facilities, Lorusso commented in the blog.

If NEBS compliance is not mandated by law, why do these service providers want manufacturers to meet all of these sometimes tough to meet requirements? The answer to this question is a high level of network integrity is ensured through NEBS compliance.

The blog describes how public utilities, including the RBOCs, are exempt from certain Federal Communications Commission (FCC (News - Alert)) regulations, local electrical codes, and local fire codes. It is an extremely ardous process to get a piece of network equipment into a carrier's central office because carriers police their networks to maintain their exemptions. They employ tough internal requirements for network equipment and their first line of defense is for a product to be tested to NEBS requirements.

Carriers are exempt from certain regulatory requirements that include: National Electrical Code (NEC (News - Alert))  as having a licensed electrician in central offices is not required, the FCC—Part 15 EMC requirements do not apply to public utilities, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) due to the fact that a listing of network equipment is not required and fire codes.

Although it may take a large amount of work to make sure that a product is NEBS compliant, this will pay off in the long run as this testing process makes sure that this product will continue to work successfully, no matter what situation it faces.

Jamie Epstein is a TMCnet Web Editor. Previously she interned at News 12 Long Island as a reporter's assistant. After working as an administrative assistant for a year, she joined TMC (News - Alert) as a Web editor for TMCnet. Jamie grew up on the North Shore of Long Island and holds a bachelor's degree in mass communication with a concentration in broadcasting from Five Towns College. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Jamie Epstein

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