"Packets" - Regulatory Updates for the Wireless Industry

Issue 14

ACB Certification and Regulatory News

Providing information and fielding questions for wireless manufacturers are some of the many activities that we perform at ACB. Packets provides an overview of just a small portion of the communiqués that run in and out of our office.

In this issue...


FCC freezes certification on Part 74 devices in the frequency range 698-806 MHz.

From the FCC:

“Effective Wednesday, August 20, 2008, as announced in Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Order FCC 08-188 and the associated press release, the FCC imposes a freeze on granting any equipment authorization requests for low power auxiliary station devices that would operate in any of the 700 MHz Band frequencies. This freeze applies to Part 74 devices in the frequency range 698-806 MHz. Applications for these devices may be filed with the FCC but will not be acted upon until the conclusion of the proceeding.”
FCC 08-188 may be found online at:


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Questions and Answers:

QUESTION: Can you apply the FCC and IC modular approval routes to WiMax products, or must they certified as end products only? And for the FCC, are there different requirements for the frequency bands 2.6GHz, 3.5GHz and 5.8GHz.

ANSWER: The specific frequencies mentioned in the question are in the licensed rule parts. Licensed Modular Transmitters are not subject to DA001407 commonly known as the FCC Modular Approval Route. However, in the bands listed, A WiMax can be certified as a modular transmitter for FCC. If the WiMAx is certified under part 15, then the modular approval route for unlicensed devices can be done. For FCC there are specific wordings that apply to the host device which have to be observed. However for FCC, all WiMax devices are on the permit but ask list. As to the particular frequency bands, you have to determine which rule part is involved and file accordingly. Some bands are in part 27, some in part 90 and some in part 15. If the device operated in all of the bands, it would be a composite where each band requires that appropriate testing and certification process to the particular rule part would apply.

Industry Canada seems to take a similar approach as the FCC in that their Modular approval stated in RSSGEN applies to license exempt devices and not licensed devices. It is incorrect to use the term “Certified” for any EU transmitter under the RTTED. An Apparatus, which may be a modular transmitter, can be CE marked for the EU. Care should be taken here however so that any and all Country-specific restrictions are addressed. back to top...

QUESTION: Does a Part15D DECT phone need to consider SAR?

ANSWER: Part 2.1093 mandates that Unlicensed PCS (DECT phones) SAR testing regardless of power under 15D. A DECT can operate under part 15 as long as the frequency of operation is correct. back to top...

QUESTION: If mobile phone is not sold in the the USA but uses roaming service in the USA, does it still require FCC certification? If yes, what is the related rule or requirement?

ANSWER: The short answer is no - if a phone is purchased overseas and then brought into USA as "personal property", then there is no requirement for applying FCC ID. The equipment authorization system only applies to devices which are distributed or sold in America. back to top...

QUESTION: Are there conditions or restrictions under which a WLAN device with an external antenna connector is certified?

ANSWER: All antenna connections and highest gain antenna of each type must be tested with a part 15 transmitter. The only way you can leave the antenna connection is to disable it some how or show how it would never be used. If there is any possibility that the connector could or would be used, then it must be tested. Testing would necessarily include the expected cable lengh and highest gain antenna to be used. The external antenna connector must also follow the requirements for Part 15.203 for antenna(s). back to top...

QUESTION: For the EU, How is conformity shown for a device that has multiple sources for Critical Components? E.g. RF parts such as the PA have different manufacturers but they use the same encapsulation? What kind of product change for CE needs to involve an NB?

ANSWER: There isn’t a rule or strict requirement on this for Europe as there are no filings, no regulatory certifications, no permissive change, etc

The manufacturer needs to look at the changes he has made and make a decision regarding how confident he is in the continued compliance of the device. If he has just changed the manufacturer of some small component that will not affect the performance of the device, then his decision maybe to do nothing.

However, if the component is critical, such as a filter or PA part of a radio, then he may need to get confidence in the device compliance from other means. If he does not and his product is found to be failing, then he will be asked to show proof of compliance. At some point with critical component changes, he has to decide if the device he is now selling is no longer the device he had tested and reviewed.

If he performs some measurements on the device and finds the profile looks similar then he may decide to keep the results of his investigations on file (in case someone requests evidence) and continue selling the device. However, if a critical component has changed and he feels he has changed the device’s performance thus he no longer has the confidence to make a decision on compliance, then a safe recommendation would always be to have some tests performed and get a new opinion from a Notified Body. The important thing to remember in any CE Marking of products placed on the EU market is the decision of compliance is always 100% up to the manufacturer or his designated agent.” It is also the responsibility of the manufacturer or his designated agent to keep such information in the Technical Construction File for reference when needed.

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Please note that the above represents, in most cases, technical opinions with justification in regulatory agency requirements, the particulars of the product must be considered. Thus, we welcome a call or email if you have any special needs or questions.