Electromagnetic Signal and Information Theory (ESIT): From Fundamentals to Standardization-Part II.

Part I of this two part article may be accessed here:

From ESIT Theory to Standardization:

In addition to fundamental research, several technologies originating from ESIT are currently being considering by standardization bodies (aka SDOs). This is especially true for Reconfigurable Intelligent Surfaces (RIS).

RIS relates to a new type of system node that is made with surfaces which may have reflection, refraction, and absorption properties through many small antennas or metamaterials elements which can be adapted to a specific radio channel environment.

The European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) Industry Specification Group (ISG) on RIS was officially launched on September 30, 2021 for a two-year duration.  It was recently renewed for two more years.

ETSI ISG RIS set out to explore RIS and its applications across the wide spectrum of use cases and deployments to identify any specification needs that may be required, thus paving the way for future standardization of the technology.

This ISG identifies and describes RIS related use cases and deployment scenarios, specifies requirements and identifies technology challenges in several areas including fixed and mobile wireless access, fronthaul and backhaul, sensing and positioning, energy and EMF exposure limits, security and privacy.

After two years of work, ETSI ISG RIS has completed and published reports from three work items (WIs), following a consensus-based and contribution-driven working format. The contributions and discussions from ISG members and participants in this first phase of the ISG have been focused on studies related to RIS fundamental, potential, and maturity. The ETSI ISG RIS supports and encourages other standards developing organizations (SDOs) to use the group reports as baseline text for further study or their own specifications

Here’s the list of group reports approved and published by the ETSI ISG RIS as of September 2023:

GR RIS 001: Use Cases, Deployment Scenarios and Requirements

The scope of the report is on the identification and definition of relevant use cases with corresponding general key-performance-indicators (KPIs), deployment scenarios wherein RIS technology will play a role and potential requirements for each identified use case with the aim of promoting interoperability with existing and upcoming wireless technologies and networks. Aspects around system/link performance, spectrum, coexistence, and security are analyzed as part of the report.

GR RIS 002: Technological Challenges, Architecture and Impact on Standardization

The scope of the report is on the technological challenges to deploy RIS as a new network entity, the potential impacts on internal architecture, framework and the required interfaces of RIS, the potential impacts on architecture, framework and the required interfaces of RIS-integrated network, and the potential recommendations and specification impacts to standardization to support RIS as a network entity.

GR RIS 003: Communication Models, Channel Models, Channel Estimation and Evaluation Methodology

The scope of the report is on communication models that strike a suitable trade-off between electromagnetic accuracy and simplicity for performance evaluation and optimization; channel models that include path-loss and multipath propagation effects, as well as the impact of interference for application to different frequency bands; channel estimation, including reference scenarios, estimation methods, and system designs; and key performance indicators and evaluation methodology of RIS for application to wireless communications, including the coexistence between different network operators, and for fairly comparing different transmission techniques, communication protocols, and network deployments.

Further information on the ISG RIS terms of reference, work program, planned group reports, and other documentation are available through the ISG portal.

Editor’s Note: A study item related to RIS has been proposed by the industry in Release 18 (2022) and will be discussed for future plans in Release 19. The results have not yet been released.


In conclusion, although ESIT may appear a pure theoretical subject, it is an essential tool for modeling, understanding, analyzing, and optimizing emerging communications technologies.

While implementation may be premature at this time, ESIT will surely be used to guide essential technology specifications in standards development organizations (SDO’s).



Electromagnetic Signal and Information Theory: From Fundamentals to Standardization-Part I.




ETSI releases first Report on Reconfigurable Intelligent Surfaces communication and channel models

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