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Prepare your products for successful wireless device testing: Part 1 of 3

Greg Kiemel
By Engaged Expert Greg Kiemel Product Qualification Testing

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As the wireless device industry moves forward the FCC keeps pace by implementing new programs such as the Telecommunications Certification Body (TCB) program. The goal of this program, established in June 2000, is to keep up with the rapid success and growth of wireless applications, therefore, it is now under the authority of the FCC to certify wireless products for TCB.  In December 2014, the FCC Report and Order (FCC 14-208) made TCBs the singular route to FCC certification.

With the growing selection of radio applications such as RFID, WiFi, and Bluetooth, it is sometimes challenging to obtain regulatory approvals for your products. 
This three-part series will discuss frequent wireless testing scenarios we encounter, address potential problems, and what it means for your products and regulatory approvals.

Scenario 1: Radio that's ubiquitous, yet unique

When it comes to product design, every radio application is unique. That means as a product engineer your testing strategy will almost never be one size fits all. In this scenario, an engineer’s new product design includes a radio that’s previously been certified as a module, but is now integrated into the host device. At this point it is easy to assume that because the radio module has already been tested and certified, it won’t require much in the way of additional testing in your products.

However, this is not typically the case, says Element’s Engaged Expert in wireless testing, Greg Kiemel. “In the case of FCC certification, the Grant of Equipment authorization frequently places limits on the use of the module,” says Kiemel. “Prohibition against co-location with other radios and / or simultaneous transmission may require additional testing and equipment authorization to permit use of the module for a particular implementation.” Published guidance from the EU recommends that new combinations of modular radios and host devices need to be re-assessed for EMC compliance. The regulatory requirements for each unique implementation of a radio module need to be assessed by experts. Distributors and sales representatives of radio modules are not always reliable resources for product compliance.  In some cases, radio modules may have been tested but not certified, so due diligence in assuring certification is an absolute requirement. Unless the FCC ID number is visible on the module, certification is not complete.

When it comes to securing proper certification and approvals for your products we know precision and certainty are priorities in your testing.  That is why it is important to make sure your previously-certified radio modules receive any additional testing and certification that may be required.

Engage with an Expert at Element today for more information about wireless testing.

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