NTS News Center

Latest News in Testing, Inspection and Certification

NTS News Center - Latest News in Testing, Inspection and Certification

FCC 5GHz UNII Rule Changes

Will the FCC Extend the June 2, 2016 Deadline?FCC Recognition

Our FCC certifications team has received many questions related to the FCC 5GHz rule changes implemented in FCC Report & Order 14-30, June 2014.

The FCC issued a Memorandum Opinion and Order (MO&O) – FCC 16-24 – on Wednesday March 2, 2016 that has added to the confusion.

The most often asked question: Is the FCC going to delay the June 2, 2016 deadline for all devices (new and older devices still being sold) to be approved using the new rules?

Answer:  No.  Come June 2, 2016 all 5GHz unlicensed devices still shipping must be approved using the FCC rules issued in June 2014.

The MO&O issue addressed spurious emissions limits for the 5725-5850MHz band.  This was a point of contention when the rules were updated to change the rule part under which devices using the this band were approved.  There has been an ongoing discussion between manufacturers and the FCC regarding this band.  Previously, most manufacturers approved their devices that operated in this band using the limits published in FCC §15.247.  The 5 GHz rule update made the limits more restrictive, specifically at the band-edges, and greatly impacted manufactures that used higher gain antennas intended for long distance links.

Manufactures that performed permissive changes to update to the new rules usually had to reduce power for channels at the edge of the band from their original approvals.

Under the MO&O, issued last week, the FCC is updating the rules to allow two different options for showing compliance with the spurious emission requirement for UNII devices operating in the 5725-5850MHz band (UNII-3 band).  One option is a mask that is less stringent than the current requirement.  This is the long term requirement.  The second option is a temporary option that allows manufactures to revert to the 15.247 limit in the rules prior to June 2014 for spurious emissions.  How temporary depends on the gain of the antennas used.  Devices with antennas >10dBi have until March 2, 2018 to update their approval to the mask.  If their antenna gain is <10dBi, they have until March 2, 2020 to update to the mask.

The MO&O can NOT be used for certification yet.  The updated rules need to be first published in the Federal Register and then there is a 30 day delay before TCBs can approve applications using either of the options.  When the MO&O will get published in the Federal Register is unknown.

Options for New Devices Seeking Authorization

For new devices seeking authorization, manufactures have a few choices at this time on how to test the UNII-3 band:

  1. Use the current (aka – new 5GHz rules, from 2014).
  2. Use the mask, and understand that certification will have to wait for the rules to go into effect.
  3. Use the 15.247(d) limits, knowing they will need to update their approval in the future (if still shipping), and understand that certification will have to wait for the rules to go into effect

Devices currently approved using the “old” rules, with the 5725-5850MHz band approved under the DTS/15.247 rules, still need to get updated to the new rules by June 2, 2016 or stop shipping.  The options are:

  1. Test the 5725-5850MHz band against the most stringent June 2014 UNII limit.  Reduce power, and file a Class II Permissive Change (C2PC)
  2. Test the band against the new mask.  File a C2PC once the rules go live
  3. Use the old 15.247 report (Note: we are still waiting confirmation from the FCC that this would be allowed), no testing, and file a C2PC once the rules go live.  This would give manufactures a couple of years to deal with the change.  It is likely that the FCC will require a new report with 15.407 references to be submitted.

An additional note, this does not address any of the other requirements that need to be met for the new rules (UNII-1, DFS, software security) that still need to be met by June 2, 2016. These must be included in new and C2PC filings.

For more information, please contact us at (800) 270-2516 or via email to sales@nts.com. If you would like to book your testing prior to the deadlines, please use our Request a Quote form for the quickest response.

FCC Changes Rules for Testing Facilities

FCC RecognitionAs of July 13, 2016 manufacturers looking for FCC certification for the EMC approval of products for sale in the US must utilize an FCC Recognized Accredited Laboratory.

Previously manufacturers seeking FCC certification were permitted to use laboratories which were FCC Listed or laboratories who were FCC Recognized Accredited Test Laboratories like NTS.

There are nearly 600 FCC Listed labs worldwide who must achieve accreditation as FCC Recognized accredited test laboratories before the end of the transition period. However, a condition for accreditation is that the laboratory must be physically located in a country with which the USA has a Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) or obtain accreditation from a FCC recognized laboratory accreditation body. Countries who currently have MRA’s in place are the US, Canada, EU, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Israel. Visit the FCC.gov website for the list of FCC accepted test laboratory accrediting bodies here: https://apps.fcc.gov/oetcf/mra/reports/AccreditingBodyReport.cfm .

It is anticipated that there will be an increase in demand for testing at the FCC Recognized laboratories as these changes go into effect, act today and contact NTS to discuss your program and schedule your product testing early!

Domestic Approvals Update – Industry Canada & FCC

north-america-globeIndustry Canada: After December 31, 2016, Industry Canada will no longer accept non-accredited test facility sites. Test data from non-accredited test labs will not be accepted starting January 1, 2017.

Federal Communications Commission: The FCC rules for laboratory testing of products will come into force on July 13, 2015. Per § 2.948 of FCC Rules “Equipment authorized under the Certification or Declaration of Conformity (DoC) procedure shall be tested at a laboratory that is accredited.” For products subject to Verification, it is not necessary to use an accredited laboratory but the test site must be documented showing compliance with ANSI C63.4-2014. The description may be held by the test laboratory. It is not necessary that the party responsible for Verification maintain the site description documents.

For more details on these latest changes please contact our experts at NTS International Approvals

FCC Postpones 15.37(h) 5745-5850 MHz U-NII transition requirement until Dec 2, 2015

On June 1, 2015 the FCC released a bulletin regarding the revision of Part 15 of the Commission’s Rules to Permit Unlicensed National Information Infrastructure (U-NII) Devices in the 5GHz band. You can review the bulletin the here: http://transition.fcc.gov/Daily_Releases/Daily_Business/2015/db0601/FCC-15-61A1.pdf

The FCC has postponed the 6/2/15 mandatory effective date of transition for devices using digital modulation techniques in the 5725-5850 MHz bands no longer being certified under the provisions of §15.247.  Effective 12/2/2015 such devices will now need to comply with the revised provisions of §15.407.

The FCC is likely to update the KDB documents that reference this transition provision (such as KDB 905462).

Contact NTS to update your current approvals and/or address new wireless approvals.

IEC 62368-1: The new standard for Information Technology and Audio Video equipment

By Noel Lovato, Product Safety Manager, NTS Silicon Valley

The next five years will be critical for manufacturers of Information Technology, IEC 60950-1 and Audio Video Equipment, IEC 60065-1. A new standard has been developed and is expected to be required in many countries throughout the world. That standard is IEC 62368-1, Audio/Video, information and communication technology equipment – Part 1: Safety*.

This standard is unique approach in that it is based on hazard based engineering that is intended to be adaptable to new and innovative technologies instead of constantly amending existing standards to address this.

This First Edition of this standard has been around for a few years, but has not gained worldwide acceptance. The Second edition is anticipated to be accepted on a more global basis. That is expected to be formally accepted in mid to late May, 2014. This does not mean it will be required immediately, but will be phased in anywhere from a 3-5 year period.

What does this mean for products currently certified to either IEC 60950-1 or IEC 60065-1? Initially not much as those standards will still be accepted for several years to come. However, by 2019, IEC 62368-1 is expected to be fully required in North America, EU and a few other countries around the world. As always, there will most likely be a few countries not adopting it by then, but those counties have yet to be determined. At this time, it appears that manufacturer’s will need to determine prior to 2019 if existing product need to be evaluated to the new requirements.

One critical item about the new standard that although it is a hazardous based standard, this does not mean manufacturers will have to develop risk assessments for their products like some other standards require. What this does mean is that risk analysis was used to development the specific safety requirements of the standard. The standard itself uses specific compliance and performance criteria to demonstrate compliance to the relief of manufacturers.

Please contact us for more information via email or call at 510-578-3500 for questions you may have regarding this standard and how it affects your future test programs.

*Corresponding UL/CSA/EN versions of the Standards are also in various stages of acceptance as well.

New FCC Rules for unlicensed radio equipment operating in the 5.15 – 5.85 GHz frequency bands

By David Bare, Chief Engineer, NTS Silicon Valley

The FCC recently adopted revised rules for products that operate in unlicensed frequency bands from 5 – 6 GHz per Part 15 Subpart E of the FCC Rules. The rules were published in the Federal Register of the US Government and will become effective on June 2, 2014. The main objectives of the revised rules was to consolidate the rules for the frequency band 5725 – 5850 MHz, to allow operation in more of the 5-6 GHz spectrum and to allow additional output power and outdoor operation in the 5150-5250 MHz band. All three objectives were met but the extension of operation to more frequencies was limited to just adding the 5600-5650 MHz band. The FCC is working on draft test procedures to accommodate the changes in the rules.

New products may be approved (Certified) using these new rules as soon as the test procedures are finalized after June 2, 2014. New and existing products can continue to be approved and sold under the old rules until June 2, 2015. Existing products may continue to be sold and approved with modifications until June 2, 2016. After June 2, 2016, all products sold must comply with the new rules. There is no “grandfathering” of products after this deadline.

Taking a more detailed look at the rule changes.

In the 5150-5250 MHz band, the new rules allow conducted power up to 1 watt and radiated power up to 4 watts for access points. However, the rules limit radiated power above a 30° elevation above the horizon to 0.125 watts for outdoor use. This creates a requirement for the beamwidth of the antenna(s) used with the product if your power will exceed 0.125 watts. The draft procedure provides guidance on making measurements, performing calculations or simulations to show the radiated power versus elevation angle. Fixed point to point products in this band are allowed 1 watt of conducted power and 200 watts of radiated power.

In the 5150-5250 MHz band, the new rules allow conducted power up to 250 milliwatts and radiated power up to 1 watt for mobile and portable client devices.

An increase in power over the value on the existing approval (as shown on the FCC Grant) may be done by filing a permissive change application since the rules will change to allow higher output power. It should be noted that normally, the output power of a product cannot be increased without obtaining a complete new approval.

In the 5725-5850 MHz band, the minimum bandwidth is effectively reduced to 500 kHz as no power reduction is required unless the bandwidth is less than 500 kHz.

In the 5725-5850 MHz band, the emissions limits in the spectrum adjacent to the band are lower than those allowed by §15.247 of the old FCC rules for this band.

A new requirement for a description of the security procedures employed in the product to prevent unauthorized modifications of the RF parameters has been added.

Dynamic Frequency Selection detection bandwidth has been increased to minimum of the 99% power bandwidth from a minimum of 80% of the 99% power bandwidth. The step size used during detection bandwidth testing may be increased to 5 MHz reducing to 1 MHz as you near the edge of the detection bandwidth.

A new type 1 radar has been specified for Dynamic Frequency Selection.

Dynamic Frequency Selection channel loading requirements have been changed. A minimum channel loading of 17% must be demonstrated. Typical data shall be used instead of only using the FCC designated MPEG file or method approved by the FCC. If desired, other software to generate data can be used but must be random in nature.

To take advantage of the provisions of the new rules, you must address all of the changes. You may not mix the old and new rules. Depending on your product, complying with the new rules may only take a few measurements and security software changes or it may take full DFS, power, radiated power versus elevation, spurious emissions and SAR testing. In any situation, a permissive change application is required. Please contact your NTS representative with your product information for more details on applicable tests.


Although the FCC is changing their Rules, Industry Canada will not change their requirements in the short term to match the changes made by the FCC. Industry Canada indicated they are planning on writing a new RSS-247 that will likely be harmonized with the new FCC Rules. This affects products that are sold with a single SKU for the US and Canadian markets and you want to use the new FCC Rules.

For more information about how this change affects your products or for a price quote for services, please contact us via email or call at 510-578-3500.

UAE – Radio/Telecom Update

UAE – Radio/Telecom
The TRA (Telecommunication Regulatory Authority in the UAE, United Arabic Emirates) is now requesting samples for telecom and radio approvals. According to the authority, verifications on the sample must be done in country and soon they will start to implement in country radio testing for 2.4GHz and 5GHz devices.   However, as of this date, the commercial samples need to be provided (in marketing package as sold) for TRA type approval as well as for TRA type approval renewals. Contact us for more details.

CHINA – Radio
Radio modular approval scheme is now available in China under the SRRC approval scheme. There are two types of modular approvals: complete and operated dependently; and limited and operated dependently. Final equipment using the radio module approved under the “complete” scheme do not need any additional approval and a statement must be used on the product declaring the module is approved, much like the FCC Full Module Approval Scheme. Final equipment using the radio module approved under the “limited” scheme will need additional SRRC testing and approvals.  Contact us for more details.

If you think your product is subject to these new requirements or would like a solution to obtain international approvals, please contact NTS at svinfo@nts.com or call at 510-578-3500.

ANSI C63.10 Article and Panel Discussion

The ANSI C63.10, a standard for Testing Unlicensed Wireless Devices by the American Standards Institute (ANSI) and Accredited Standards Committee (ASC) C63® was published by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) on Sept. 10, 2009. This new standard has in one document, procedures for testing many unlicensed wireless devices for compliance with the Rules and Regulations of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Previously this information and testing procedures were scattered in various FCC rules, the FCC Knowledge database, ANSI C63.4 and various other FCC and IC publications. The FCC accepted the use of this new standard on November 25, 20090 (refer to FCC DA No. 09-2478) as an alternative to ANSI C63.4:2003.

Interference Technology recently invited a panel of experts, who were also a part of the working group on the standard, to weigh in on the implications ad the effects of the standard on testing and day to day lab operations. This group and panel included Mark Briggs, Principal Engineer at Elliott Labs, NTS Silicon Valley division. Click here to review the full article and panel discussion.

FCC Halts DFS Master Certifications

The FCC has announced that it has currently halted issuing new and any Class 2 Permissive Change certifications that require a DFS evaluation for Master devices until further notice. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) is currently investigating interference with UNII Master Devices and the FCC. Dynamic Frequency Selection (DFS), a mechanism to allow unlicensed devices to share spectrum with existing radar systems is mandated in the 5250-5350 and 5470-5725 MHz UNII bands.

Elliott Laboratories continues to test Master devices and is currently awaiting on further updates from the FCC. For more information, please contact us via email at info@elliottlabs.com or at 408-245-7800.

FCC Cracks Down On Unauthorized Radio Frequency Devices

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued a $7,000 forfeiture against Sennheiser Electronic Corporation for willful and repeated violation of Section 302(b) of the Communications Act of 1934; the apparent violation involves Sennheiser’s marketing of unauthorized radio frequency devices.

In July 2008, the Enforcement Bureau Spectrum Enforcement Division began an investigation into Sennheiser’s marketing of wireless microphones. In a letter of inquiry dated August 15, 2008, the Division instructed Sennheiser to provide specific information regarding the manufacture, marketing, and the certification status of the wireless microphone systems it sells. In its September 15, 2008, response to the letter of inquiry, Sennheiser indicates that, while preparing its response, it discovered that one of its wireless microphones did not have a valid certification.

Readers can view the FCC notice by clicking here.