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Equipment Authorization

Smart phones, car door remote controls, Wi-Fi devices, baby monitors, personal computers, and many other types of common electronic equipment emit radio frequency energy.  The radio frequency energy is either used to communicate via radio signals (for example, smart phones) or is produced as a byproduct of some other primary non-communications function (for example, microwave oven). The FCC is responsible for governing the interference potential of equipment which emits radio frequency energy. It does this by first establishing technical regulations for transmitters and other equipment to minimize their potential for causing interference to radio services and then administering an equipment authorization program to ensure that equipment reaching the market complies with the technical requirements.  The equipment authorization program requires that equipment be tested to ensure that it complies with the technical requirements prior to marketing.  The program consists of three types of authorization schemes:

  • Verification:  For a large number of devices, once radiocommunications equipment has been tested by the manufacturer and found to comply, it may be marketed without any approval from the Commission.  The required tests measure the levels of radio frequency energy that are radiated by the device into the open air or conducted by the device onto power lines. 
  • Declaration of Conformity:  For certain equipment which includes special types of electronics, the equipment has to be tested by test facilities specially recognized by the Commission.  These devices can be marketed once the test laboratory has determined the compliance with the Commission’s technical standards.
  • Certification:  For devices which the Commission has determined may have a greater potential for interference, the FCC requires the submission of an application with technical specifications and test results from an FCC recognized  test facility which must be reviewed and approved before the equipment can be marketed.  The application for authorization can be made either directly to the Commission or, in most cases, to FCC recognized entities called Telecommunications Certification Bodies (TCBs).  A device which is authorized under this procedure receives an identifier called FCC ID.  This consists of a grantee code uniquely identifying the applicant and a product code assigned by the applicant.  Information on all approved devices is available on the FCC website at http://www.fcc.gov/oet/ea/fccid.

The equipment authorization requirements are contained in the regulations themselves, which can be found in Title 47 of the Code of Federal Regulations.  Additional details related to procedures for equipment authorization are available at  Equipment Authorization (EA)

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