FCC certification is a mandatory US EMC certification, especially for wireless communication equipment and systems, including radio interference limits and measurement methods, as well as certification systems and organizational management systems.
The main difference: CE certification is for the EU, and FCC certification is for the US.
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What are the products that must have the FCC certificate?
This certification requires that any radio frequency emission electronic device being sold, produced, or distributed in the United States undergo compliance testing before being approved. Because these goods were made overseas and then exported to the United States, the said electronic devices must be labeled with an FCC mark or FCC logo. This is a mark of identity for all products that have passed the FCC approval process.
These products include:
- Electronic pieces of equipment,
- Electromagnetic compatibility products,
- Power adapters
- IT Gadgets (e.g personal computers)
- Terminal devices for telecommunications and radio,
- Bluetooth electronic devices,
- Wireless local area networking (LAN) devices,
- Transmitters that use radio waves to transmit medical information wirelessly,
- Garage doors and openers,
- Handheld remote controls,
- Transmitters for mobile radio are often referred to as land mobile radio transmitters.,
- Proprietary equipment and protective gear are designed to be utilized in explosive environments.
- Wireless devices for medical telemetry transmitters
Overall, devices that must be certified by the FCC are classified into two categories:
- Intentional radiators of radiofrequency energy (such as a smartphone) – such devices must emit radiofrequency energy as part of their function.
- Unintentional radiofrequency radiation radiators (e.g., digital cameras) – As a result of their operation, these goods can generate and broadcast radio signals as an unintended consequence.
What is the FCC certification process?
The following are the steps that summarise the FCC certification process:
Step 1: Radiofrequency selection
Electrical goods producers must ensure that the radio frequency they use is within the correct legal limits. The FCC regulations on radio spectrum allocation may be used as a guideline. Consideration should be given to range, energy consumption, radio wave propagation, and optimization.
Step 2: During the product development, pre-compliance testing is required.
Manufacturers have to perform as much in-house compliance testing as possible to ensure that their devices meet the legal requirements. The success of these compliance testing will allow them to avoid any costly last-minute issues before the certification process.
Step 3: FCC registration
The electrical goods that use radio waves must first be certified with an FCC Registration Number (FRN). Manufacturers can acquire an FRN from the CORES program. They need to provide their company address and contact information in order to obtain a number from the federal communications commission.
Step 4: Certification testing in an approved testing facility
All external testing must be done by a licensed FCC-registered testing facility, and all necessary tests must be completed. Then, a product sample is required for analysis. Testing can take from a few days to several weeks depending on the product’s intricacy.
Step 5: Certification and filing
After successful product tests, the federal communications commission will receive and review test reports from the TCB (Telecommunication Certification Body), after which the agency will give approval on behalf of the federal communications commission.
The TCB will submit details about the product to the FCC database, along with a Grant of Equipment Authorization (GEA). The GEA permits a product to be lawfully marketed and distributed in the United States after undergoing a complete FCC certification process.
The advantage of having FCC certification
The main reason to obtain this certification is that this level of certification is quite well-known internationally, thus we want to open up the global market.
For example, in the USA obtaining FCC certificates and in the EU obtaining CE is required. In any case, foreign consumers have very stringent product standards, and the criteria for their evaluation is whether we have the corresponding certificates.
How long will it take to get the FCC certification?
The time it takes to complete the FCC approval process will depend on several factors. In general, complex products will take longer to get approved than simpler products.
The entire process from start to finish can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months. However, the vast majority of approvals are completed within 3 weeks.
There are a few things businesses can do to speed up the process, such as:
- Submit all required documentation upfront
- Use an experienced and reputable testing laboratory
- Work with an experienced certification company
The FCC testing requirements
Some of the documents required for FCC certification testing include:
- A copy of the user manual
- A block diagram of the product’s internal circuitry
- Internal and external photos of the product
- The schematics for the product
- A list of all external components used in the product
- The bill of materials (BOM) for the product
- The results of any self-tests conducted on the product
- Declaration of Conformity (DOC)
After the product has been tested, the FCC certification company will compile all of the results and submit them for review. The federal communications commission will then issue a certificate of compliance, which businesses can use to show that their products meet all FCC requirements.