Good practices for FCC and ISED certifications

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) of the United States regulates all products containing radio transmitters - such as telecommunications, satellite and cable communication devices - guaranteeing the correct application of the Radio Communication Act. For the Canadian market, however, 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.

This procedure requires the company responsible for the product to obtain a from the FCC identifier called Grantee Code. This identifier is required only once and will constitute the first characters of all FCC ID codes that will be assigned to the various products of that company.

Furthermore, the nomination of is requested an FCC US Agent, responsible for representing the manufacturer or importer in all interactions with the FCC regarding the certification and authorization of their equipment. The agent must have based in the United States and be authorized to receive legal notifications and other official documents on behalf of the manufacturer or importer.

FCC and ISED certifications: the products involved

The regulatory framework referred to above concerns the band from 9 KHz to 3,000 GHz and involves three types of equipment. Let's talk about the intentional emitters (which, as the name suggests, intentionally transmit radio frequency), of unintentional emitters (in which electromagnetic energy is generated, but not radiated) and the incidental emitters which generate disturbances as a side effect of their functioning.

The placing of these types of devices on the US 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 conformity assessment and certification phases of a product, it is useful to emphasize some focal aspects during the development phase. Below is a series of considerations and "good practices" for designing effectively, ensuring greater linearity in the certification processes.

Design considering the Regulations

The ideal design of a product - in addition to 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.

It is therefore appropriate in the development phase find all the information on regulations and legislation and plan, ideally, preliminary tests (pre-compliance testing) at a competent laboratory. The documentation will need to be prepared at this stage to make the design efficient; it is therefore highly recommended to contact a laboratory with adequate expertise in FCC/ISED certifications.

Consider future prospects

In the design phase, a key approach is that relating to flexibility concept. Making a device easily modifiable to adapt it to the new conditions of a future market is a winning approach. From this perspective it will be appropriate to make choices safe and flexible technologies and identify components of well-positioned and reliable brands, to guarantee prolonged solidity.

Choose the suitable 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. In the light of obtain an FCC or ISED certification, one aspect that needs to be evaluated is the choice between a radio module that already has certification and a radio module that needs to be certified from scratch.

In the first case, in fact, you will be able to benefit from a simpler product certification path, reducing costs, although it will still be worth the obligation to evaluate the conformity of the radio module within the final application. If the radio module requires certification, however, it will be necessary to carry out one series of tests which will make the entire process longer, more expensive and more complex. Where possible, opting for an already certified radio module is a good simplification strategy.

Technical documentation and labelling

There technical documentation has a primary role inobtaining FCC and ISED certifications and should be carried out alongside the design phases and laboratory tests and with the same priority consideration. The label will then have to be adapted to the specific requirements relating to the country in which the device will be marketed, taking into account the mandatory wording and the hypothetical needs of packaging for small-sized products.

We remind you that for the US market, based on the type of radio equipment, there are two possible approval procedures: the Supplier's Declaration of Conformity (where the responsible party carries out measurements and tests to ensure that the product complies with standards) and the Certification, required for approval of any wireless device.

For devices that include both radio transmitters and digital circuits are both procedures are necessary. Alternatively, only the Certification may be used to demonstrate the conformity of the complete combined product.

Sicom Testing offers its customers a full service FCC marking for all the cases indicated above, included company registration with FCC (Grantee Code) and the function of responsible representative agent. Similar services are also offered for Canada in accordance with specific regulations.

To request further information on this topic, write to info@sicomtesting.com
or call +39 0481 778931.

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