The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) of the United States regulates all products containing radio transmitters – such as telecommunications equipment, satellite and cable communication – ensuring the correct application of the Radio Communication Act. For the Canadian market, instead, the same products are regulated by Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED).
The key function of these two bodies is to define the minimum requirements to ensure that electronic equipment does not produce risky radio emissions for human health and telecommunications.
FCC and ISED Certifications: the products involved
The above regulatory framework concerns the band from 9 KHz a 3.000 GHz and involves three types of equipment. Let's talk about the intentional emitters (that, as the name suggests, intentionally transmit radio frequency), from unintentional emitters (in which electromagnetic energy is generated, but not irradiated) and incidental emitters that generate disturbances as a side effect of their functioning.
Placing these types of devices on the U.S. and Canadian markets requires compliance with specific legislative compliance requirements, as well as the drafting of the correct technical documentation.
To streamline and facilitate the phases of conformity assessment and certification of a product, it is useful to emphasize some focal aspects in the development phase. Below is a series of considerations, of "good practices" to design effectively, ensuring greater linearity in certification processes.
Designing considering the Regulations
The ideal design of a product – as well as considering technical requirements, costs and so on – should not ignore the consideration of target markets and the legislation that will be applied to that product.
In the development phase it is therefore appropriate find all the information on regulations and legislations and plan, ideally, of the preliminary tests (pre-compliance testing) at a competent laboratory. The documentation will be prepared at this stage to make the design efficient; it is therefore very advisable to contact a laboratory in possession of the appropriate skills on FCC / ISED certifications.
Considering future prospects
In the design phase a key approach is that related to the concept of flexibility. Making a device easily modifiable to adapt it to the new conditions of a future market is a winning approach. In this perspective it will be appropriate to adopt choices safe and flexible technology and identify well-positioned and reliable brand components, to ensure a prolonged solidity.
Choosing the right radio module
Before equipping yourself with a radio module it would be advisable to make sure that the bands used, the radio module itself, Are compatible with the markets where you want to market the device. With a view to obtain an FCC or ISED certification, an aspect that needs to be evaluated is the choice between a radio module that already has a certification and a radio module that needs to be certified from scratch.
In the first case, indeed, you will benefit from a easier product certification path, reducing costs, although the obligation to assess the conformity of the radio module within the final application will still apply. In case the radio module needs certification, instead, you will need to make a test series which will make the whole process longer, expensive and complex. Where possible, opting for an already certified radio module is a good simplification strategy.
Technical documentation and labelling
The technical documentation has a role of primary importance in the’obtaining FCCe ISED Certifications and should be carried out hand in hand with the design phases and laboratory tests and with the same priority consideration. The label, then, will be adapted to the specific requirements relating to the country in which to market the device, Whereas mandatory entries and the hypothetical needs of Packaging for small products.
Recall that for the US market, according to the type of radio equipment, there are two possible approval procedures: the Supplier's Declaration of Conformity (where the responsible party performs measurements and tests to ensure that the product complies with the standards) it is to Certification, required for approval of any wireless device.
For devices that include both radio transmitters and digital circuits are both procedures required. Alternatively, only the Certification can be used to demonstrate the conformity of the complete combined product.
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