ACC Global Compliance
Sunday, 25 March 2018

Environmental Requirements

Telecommunications - Aerospace - Military

Environmental testing (or simulation) is used to determine a product's ability to perform during or after exposure to a specific or multiple environments. Testing is often used to prove a product's integrity, verify manufacturer's claims regarding operational limits, determine realistic warranty terms, and prepare procedures on proper and safe operation.

Many components and products are general in use, as well as highly portable. Therefore, an item may encounter a variety of different environments in its expected lifetime. Simulations of high temperatures and high humidity may be alternated with cold and dry atmospheres. A product may be exposed to oily, dusty conditions, or intense sunshine. Operation may be required in an explosive atmosphere or at high altitude, up to and including space station altitudes and conditions. Many other conditions or combinations can be created depending on the expected use of the product.

The following test(s) and specification(s) may apply to your product or system:

  • RAIN EXPOSURE - Telcordia; IEC (IP); MIL-STD-810; NEMA: RTCA/DO-160.
  • FATIGUE TESTING - Various ASTM and others
  • MECHANICAL TESTING - Various ASTM and others
  • CHEMICAL AND FUNGUS SUSCEPTIBILITY -  Telcordia; MIL-STD-202, 810; ASTM D 120, D 470, D 518, D 1049, G21, 22, 29; Fed. Test Method Standard No. 191; RTCA/DO-160
  • ALTITUDE - MIL-STD-202, 810; RTCA/DO-160
  • SAND AND DUST - IEC (IP); MIL-STD-202, 810; NEMA; RTCA/DO-160.
  • EXPLOSION -  MIL-STD-202, 810; RTCA/DO-160.
  • HUMIDITY - ASTM'S; Telcordia; MIL-STD'S; RTCA/DO-160.
  • HIGH VACUUM - MIL-STD-202, 810; RTCA/DO-160.
  • SALT FOG - ASTM B 117, B 368, G 85; Telcordia; MIL-STD-202, 810; RTCA/DO-160.

Environmental testing must often be combined with other tests such as EMC and product safety to ensure overall compliance with the requirements. This is the case for instance with BELLCORE requirements:


If a company plans to sell its product to one or more of the Regional Bell Operating Companies (RBOCs) they may need to test their product(s) to a set of industry standards known as Bellcore. Established by a group within Bell Laboratories, Bellcore standards minimize the risk of telephone service interruption resulting from third-party product failures. Bellcore specifies an extensive list of EMC, product safety and environmental requirements. 

Since the formation of the RBOCs, each operating company has adopted its own interpretation of the Bellcore standards. It is therefore very important to clarify these requirements. Because Bellcore is an industry standard, companies must still meet applicable government standards for EMC and product safety. Due to an overlap in requirements, you can satisfy government and Bellcore testing requirements concurrently.

Bellcore Standards

Bellcore has established two sets of testing standards:

  • GR-1089-CORE
  • GR-63-CORE

The tests in GR-1089 deal primarily with electrical phenomena, whereas the tests in GR-63 are primarily environmental in nature. While each standard is very extensive, only a subset of tests is required based on the type of product and its intended operating environment. Bellcore has compiled a matrix to categorize products into various types. Besides the testing requirements, which are determined by your product type, Bellcore has defined additional testing levels called NEBS (Network Equipment Building Systems) levels. The appropriate NEBS level for your product is determined by its intended operating environment and specific RBOC requirements.

Here is a summary of NEBS requirements (higher levels are more stringent) and the respective testing offered:

Level 1:
Electrical Safety
Lightning and AC Power Fault (2nd level)
Bonding and Grounding
Emissions (GR1089 or FCC Part 15)
Fire Resistance

Level 2:
All of Level 1
ESD - normal operation
Emissions and Immunity
Lightning and AC Power Fault (1st level)
Ambient Temp and Humidity (operating)
Earthquake Zone 2 and office vibration
Airborne Contaminants (indoor level)

Level 3:
All of Level 1 and 2
ESD - installation and repair
Open door emissions and immunity
Ambient Temp and Humidity (short-term)
Earthquake Zone 4
Airborne Contaminants (outdoor level)
Transportation and Handling

Each test within each of the levels is defined in either the Bellcore GR-1089 or the GR-63 specification.


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