Here we provide access to information about the FCC authorization methods, excerpts of FCC rules that cover marketing of devices in the United States as well as general terms and definitions used in within the FCC authorization scheme. To file an application for certification at any time, please click the “Service Quote” link above or contact us today.
Telecommunication Certification Bodies (TCBs) have been appointed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to approve equipment as required under Title 47, Part 2 of the Code of Federal Regulation (CFR).
In essence, this gives you, the manufacturer or responsible party, additional options for product approvals by allowing you to choose from one of many TCBs.
Information presented here is derived from FCC CFR Title 47. Please see the FCC CFR web page for access to the official rules or vist Title 47 at e-CFR.
FCC certification process
The process for obtaining authorization from the FCC begins as soon as you are ready to mass produce your products. During the testing stage, you will examine your products to determine if they cause interference with other equipment and whether they broadcast in a suitable frequency range. You will also test your product against other telecommunication requirements under regulatory codes. The FCC classifies devices into two categories:
- Class A testing: Covers devices in industrial, commercial, and engineering settings.
- Class B testing: Covers consumer devices and often features more stringent testing requirements.
The FCC certification process typically involves the following steps:
1. Select your radio frequency
Begin the certification process by researching which frequencies are open legally to you and your equipment. As you choose your radio frequency and design equipment, consider factors such as range and power consumption.
2. Test during development
As you develop your product, you can perform pre-compliance tests at your facility. While these tests are not required, they help you avoid any unexpected issues later on as you develop and test your product.
3. Register your company with the FCC
To certify and authorize your radio spectrum devices, you must obtain an FCC registration number (FRN). You must have an FCC registration number before you can present your device for an FCC grant.
4. Complete compliance testing
After obtaining your FRN and grantee code, you are ready to give a production-ready prototype and all technical designations to Compatible Electronics for further evaluation and FCC certification testing.
5. Recieve your report
Once Compatible Electronics completes testing, we will compile an FCC report to show your device passed our testing procedures and meets FCC standards.
6. Compile documentation
After we generate our report, your company will provide our team with all of the necessary documentation for an FCC filing. We will then forward the FCC test report and other necessary documentation to the Telecommunications Certification Body (TCB).
7. Receive certification and file
You must submit all documents through a certified Telecommunication Certification Body (TCB) to receive certification. During the final stage of the certification process, Compatible Electronics will send you a Grant of Equipment Authorization. With this grant, you can legally sell and market your product.
FCC label requirements
All approved products must have an FCC ID directly on the product. Finished products with an approved transmitter, such as a Wi-Fi or Bluetooth module, must display the FCC ID of the approved transmitter.
If a finished product contains an unapproved transmitter and the manufacturer performs the certification on the finished product, the FCC will only issue a grant for the completed item. For example, the finished item may need an FCC ID label on its exterior.
2.901 Basis and Purpose. –
In order to carry out its responsibilities under the Communications Act and the various treaties and international regulations, and in order to promote efficient use of the radio spectrum, see ‘RF energy definition’, the Commission has developed technical standards for radio frequency equipment and parts or components thereof. The technical standards applicable to individual types of equipment are found in that part of the rules governing the service wherein the equipment is to be operated. In addition to the technical standards provided, the rules governing the service may require that such equipment be authorized under Supplier’s Declaration of Conformity or receive a grant of certification from a Telecommunication Certification Body.
FCC CFR, Title 47, Part 2, Subpart J
Certification is an equipment authorization issued by the Commission, based on representations and test data submitted by the applicant(As defined in Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), title 47 Part 2.907)
Supplier’s Declaration of Conformity
Supplier’s Declaration of Conformity (SDoC) is a procedure where the responsible party, as defined in §2.909, makes measurements or completes other procedures found acceptable to the Commission to ensure that the equipment complies with the appropriate technical standards. Submittal to the Commission of a sample unit or representative data demonstrating compliance is not required unless specifically requested pursuant to §2.945.CFR Title 47 part 2.906 –See also FCC SDoC Authorization Guide
For intentional radiators:
Intentional radiators operated as carrier current systems, devices operated under the provisions of §§15.211, 15.213, and 15.221, and devices operating below 490 kHz in which all emissions are at least 40 dB below the limits in §15.209 are subject to Suppliers Declaration of Conformity pursuant to the procedures in subpart J of part 2 of this chapter prior to marketing.
Except as otherwise exempted in paragraph (c) of this section and in §15.23, all intentional radiators operating under the provisions of this part shall be certified by the Telecommunication Certification Bodies pursuant to the procedures in subpart J of part 2 of this chapter prior to marketing.
-Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), title 47 Part 15.201(a)&(b)
For unintentional radiators:
Except as otherwise exempted in CFR Title 47 Parts 15.23, 15.103 and 15.113, unintentional radiators shall be authorized prior to the initiation of marketing, as follows:
|Type of device||Equipment authorization required|
|TV broadcast receiver||SDoC or Certification|
|FM broadcast receiver||SDoC or Certification|
|CB receiver||SDoC or Certification|
|Super regenerative receiver||SDoC or Certification|
|All other receivers subject to Part 15||SDoC or Certification|
|TV interface device||SDoC or Certification|
|Cable system terminal device (CSTD)||SDoC or Certification|
|Stand-alone cable input selector switch||SDoC or Certification|
|Class B personal computers and peripherals||SDoC or Certification|
|CPU boards and internal power supplies used with Class B personal computers||SDoC or Certification|
|Class B personal computers assembled using authorized CPU boards or power supplies||SDoC or Certification|
|Class B external switching power supplies||SDoC or Certification|
|Other Class B digital devices and peripherals||SDoC or Certification|
|Class A digital devices, peripherals and external switching power supplies||SDoC or Certification|
|Access Broadband over Power Line (Access BPL)||Certification|
|All other devices||SDoC or Certification|
Note to table: Where the above table indicates more than one category of authorization for a device, the party responsible for compliance has the option to select the type of authorization.
Marketing Radio Frequency Devices:
This section contains excerpts from CFR Title 47, Part 2.803. Other exceptions and details can be obtained from the original text at the www.access.gpo.gov web site.
Marketing of radio frequency devices prior to equipment authorization:
(a) Marketing, as used in this section, includes sale or lease, or offering for sale or lease, including advertising for sale or lease, or importation, shipment, or distribution for the purpose of selling or leasing or offering for sale or lease.
(b) General rule. No person may market a radio frequency device unless:
- For devices subject to authorization under certification, the device has been authorized in accordance with the rules in subpart J of this chapter and is properly identified and labeled as required by §2.925 and other relevant sections in this chapter; or
- For devices subject to authorization under Supplier’s Declaration of Conformity in accordance with the rules in subpart J of this part, the device complies with all applicable technical, labeling, identification and administrative requirements; or
- For devices that do not require a grant of equipment authorization under subpart J of this chapter but must comply with the specified technical standards prior to use, the device complies with all applicable, technical, labeling, identification and administrative requirements.
CFR Title 47, Part 2.803 paragraphs (a) & (b)
Here you’ll find common terms and definitions used in the context of the FCC approvals system
- Cable system terminal device (CSTD)
A TV interface device that serves, as its primary function, to connect a cable system operated under Part 76 of CFR Title 47 to a TV broadcast receiver or other subscriber premise equipment. Any device which functions as a CSTD in one of its operating modes must comply with the technical requirements for such devices when operating in that mode(As defined in Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), title 47 Part 15.3(e).)
- Carrier current systems
A system, or part of a system, that transmits radio frequency energy by conduction over the electric power lines. A carrier current system can be designed such that the signals are received by conduction directly from connection to the electric power lines (unintentional radiator) or the signals are received over-the-air due to radiation of the radio frequency signals from the electric power lines (intentional radiators)(As defined in Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), title 47 Part 15.3(f).)
- CB receiver
Any receiver that operates in the Personal Radio Service on frequencies allocated for Citizens Band (CB) Radio Service stations as well as any receiver provided with a separate band specifically designed to receive the transmissions of CB stations in the Personal Radio Services. This includes the following (1) a CB receiver sold as a separate unit of equipment (2) the receiver section of a CB transceiver (3) a converter to be used with any receiver for the purpose of receiving CB transmissions and (4) a multiband receiver that includes a band labeled “CB” or “11-meter” in which such band can be separately selected, except that an Amateur Radio Services receiver that was manufactured prior to January 1, 1960, and which includes an 11-meter band shall not be considered to be a CB receiver(As defined in Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), title 47 Part 15.3(g).)
Certification is an equipment authorization issued by the Commission, based on representations and test data submitted by the applicant(As defined in Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), title 47 Part 2.907)
- Class A digital device
A digital device that is marketed for use in a commercial, industrial or business environment, exclusive of a device which is marketed for use by the general public or is intended to be used in the home(As defined in Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), title 47 Part 15.3(h).)
- Class B digital device
A digital device that is marketed for use in a residential environment notwithstanding use in commercial, business and industrial environments. Examples of such devices include, but are not limited to, personal computers, calculators, and similar electronic devices that are marketed for use by the general public(As defined in Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), title 47 Part 15.3(i).)
- CPU board
A circuit board that contains a microprocessor, or frequency determining circuitry for the microprocessor, the primary function of which is to execute user-provided programming, but not including
- 1. A circuit board that contains only a microprocessor intended to operate under the primary control or instruction of a microprocessor external to such a circuit board; or
- 2. A circuit board that is a dedicated controller for a storage or input/output device
(As defined in Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), title 47 Part 15.3(bb).)
A Declaration of Conformity is a procedure where the responsible party, as defined in Part 2.909, makes measurements or takes other necessary steps to ensure that the equipment complies with the appropriate technical standards. Submittal of a sample unit or representative data to the Commission demonstrating compliance is not required unless specifically requested pursuant to Part 2.1076(As defined in Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), title 47 Part 2.906)
- FCC Part 15
FCC part 15 sets out the regulations under which an intentional, unintentional, or incidental radiator may be operated without an individual license. FCC part 15 also contains the technical specifications, administrative requirements and other conditions relating to the marketing of Part 15 devices.link to part 15
- Intentional Radiator
An intentional radiator is any device that intentionally generates and emits radio frequency energy by radiation or induction(As defined in Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), title 47 Part 15.3(o)
- Peripheral device
An input/output unit of a system that feeds data into and/or receives data from the central processing unit of a digital device. Peripherals to a digital device include any device that is connected external to the digital device, any device internal to the digital device that connects the digital device to an external device by wire or cable, and any circuit board designed for interchangeable mounting, internally or externally, that increases the operating or processing speed of a digital device, e.g., “turbo” cards and “enhancement” boards. Examples of peripheral devices include terminals, printers, external floppy disk drives and other data storage devices, video monitors, keyboards, interface boards, external memory expansion cards, and other input/output devices that may or may not contain digital circuitry. This definition does not include CPU boards, as defined in paragraph (bb) of CFR Title 47 Part 15.3, even though a CPU board may connect to an external keyboard or other components.(As defined in Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), title 47 Part 15.3(r).)
- Personal computer
An electronic computer that is marketed for use in the home, notwithstanding business applications. Such computers are considered Class B digital devices. Computers which use a standard TV receiver as a display device or meet all of the following conditions are considered examples of personal computers
- 1. Marketed through a retail outlet or direct mail order catalog
- 2. Notices of sale or advertisements are distributed or directed to the general public or hobbyist users rather than restricted to commercial users
3. Operates on a battery or 120 volt electrical supply.If the responsible party can demonstrate that because of price or performance the computer is not suitable for residential or hobbyist use, it may request that the computer be considered to fall outside of the scope of this definition for personal computers.(As defined in Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), title 47 Part 15.3(s).)
- Radar detector
A receiver designed to signal the presence of radio signals used for determining the speed of motor vehicles. This definition does not encompass the receiver incorporated within a radar transceiver certified under the Commission’s rules.(As defined in Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), title 47 Part 15.3(ee).)
- Radio Frequency Device (RF Device)
A radio frequency device is any device, which in its operation is capable of emitting radio frequency energy by radiation, conduction, or other means. Radio frequency devices include, but are not limited to
- a. The various types of radio communication transmitting devices described throughout CFR Title 47
- b. The incidental, unintentional and intentional radiators defined in CFR Title 47, Part 15
- c. The industrial, scientific and medical equipment described in CFR Title 47, Part 18
- d. Any part or component thereof, which in use emits radio frequency energy by radiation, conduction, or other means
(As defined in Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), title 47 Part 2.801)
- Radio Frequency (RF) energy
Electromagnetic energy at any frequency in the radio spectrum between 9 kHz and 3,000,000 MHz(As defined in Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), title 47 Part 15.3(u).)
- Responsible party
Please see FCC CFR Title 47, Part 2.909 for the complete definition of responsible party – NOTE For equipment subject to Supplier’s Declaration of Conformity the party responsible for the compliance of the equipment must be located in the United States.CFR Title 47 part 2.909
- Scanning receiver
This is a receiver that automatically switches among two or more frequencies in the range of 30 to 960 MHz and that is capable of stopping at and receiving a radio signal detected on a frequency. Receivers designed solely for the reception of the broadcast signals under Part 73 of CFR Title 47, for the reception of NOAA broadcast weather band signals, or for operation as part of a licensed service are not included in this definition.(As defined in Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), title 47 Part 15.3(v).)
- Supplier’s Declaration of Conformity
Supplier’s Declaration of Conformity (SDoC) is a procedure where the responsible party, as defined in §2.909, makes measurements or completes other procedures found acceptable to the Commission to ensure that the equipment complies with the appropriate technical standards. Submittal to the Commission of a sample unit or representative data demonstrating compliance is not required unless specifically requested pursuant to §2.945.CFR Title 47 part 2.906 –
See also FCC SDoC Authorization Guide
- Telecommunication Certification Bodies (TCB)
The FCC may designate Telecommunication Certification Bodies (TCBs) to approve equipment as required under part 2. Certification of equipment by a TCB shall be based on an application with all the information specified in part 2. The TCB shall process the application to determine whether the product meets the Commission’s requirements and shall issue a written grant of equipment authorization. The grant shall identify the TCB and the source of authority for issuing it(see CFR Title 47 part 2.960 for more information)
- Television (TV) broadcast receiver
A device designed to receive television pictures that are broadcast simultaneously with sound on the television channels authorized under Part 73 of CFR Title 47(As defined in Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), title 47 Part 15.3(w).)
- TV interface device
An unintentional radiator that produces or translates in frequency a radio frequency carrier modulated by a video signal derived from an external or internal signal source, and which feeds the modulated radio frequency energy by conduction to the antenna terminals or other non-baseband input connections of a television broadcast receiver. A TV interface device may include a stand-alone RF modulator, or a composite device consisting of an RF modulator, video source and other components devices. Examples of TV interface devices are video cassette recorders and terminal devices attached to a cable system or used with a Master Antenna (including those used for central distribution video devices in apartment or office buildings)(As defined in Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), title 47 Part 15.3(y).)
- Unintentional Radiator
An unintentional radiator is any device that intentionally generates radio frequency energy for use within the device, or that sends radio frequency signals by conduction to associated equipment via connecting wiring, but which is not intended to emit RF energy by radiation or induction(As defined in Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), title 47 Part 15.3(z).)
Verification is a procedure where the manufacturer makes measurements or takes the necessary steps to ensure that the equipment complies with the appropriate technical standards. Submittal of a sample unit or representative data to the Commission demonstrating compliance is not required unless specifically requested by the Commission pursuant to Part 2.957(As defined in Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), title 47 Part 2.902) –>
- Access Broadband over Power Line (Access BPL)
A carrier current system installed and operated on an electric utility service as an unintentional radiator that sends radio frequency energy on frequencies between 1.705 MHz and 80 MHz over medium voltage lines or over low voltage lines to provide broadband communications and is located on the supply side of the utility service’s points of interconnection with customer premises. Access BPL does not include power line carrier systems as defined in §15.3(t) or In-House BPL as defined in §15.3(gg)(As defined in Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), title 47 Part 15.3(ff).)
Contact us to learn more about our FCC certification services
Compatible Electronics is an industry leader committed to helping clients throughout the FCC certification process. Our experts have a thorough understanding of all regulations required and will ensure the process is as smooth as possible. Fill out and submit our contact form now, or call our offices in Lake Forest (949-587-0400), Brea (714-579-0500) or Newbury Park (805-480-4044) to learn more!