In this article, we’re taking a deep dive into RF regulatory compliance. Proving compliance with government regulations for wireless devices using RF energy is an incredibly important and necessary part of manufacturing these devices. In fact, proving compliance with RF regulatory guidelines determines whether or not products are safe to be sold and used by consumers. Keep reading to learn all about RF energy, what has gone into setting FCC and international guidelines, and how this affects manufacturers of these products.
What is RF Energy?
According to the FCC’s “RF Safety FAQ”, RF energy, or radiofrequency energy, is electromagnetic radiation made up of waves of both “electric and magnetic energy moving together through space at the speed of light.” There are many forms of electromagnetic energy, but all together, they’re known as the electromagnetic spectrum.
One of these many forms is radio waves, or microwaves, which are transmitted by antennas. These radio and microwaves are what we know as RF energy. Electromagnetic waves in this part of the spectrum have frequencies ranging from 3 kilohertz (kHz) to 300 gigahertz (GHz)
How is RF Energy Used?
RF energy is used in many ways, but its most important use is for telecommunications services. These frequencies’ telecommunication uses include, but are not limited to, radio and television broadcasting, cell phones, personal communications services, pagers, cordless phones, business radio, radio communications for police and fire departments, amateur radio, and satellite communications. RF energy has non-telecommunication uses as well, such as when microwave ovens are operated.
Development of RF Regulatory Guidelines
Exposure to very high levels of RF energy has been known to cause biological effects due to heating of tissue known as thermal effects. Because of this, many organizations and governments have set forth standards for RF exposure.
Standards vary across countries, but in the United States, the RF regulatory compliance guidelines have been set forth and recognized by the FCC since 1985. A variety of federal health and safety agencies have been involved in monitoring issues related to the safety of RF exposure levels, including the EPA, FDA, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
The FCC developed its RF regulatory compliance guidelines based on recommendations from two expert organizations known as the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements (NCRP) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). The recommendations from these organizations were developed by scientists and engineers following extensive reviews of scientific literature related to the biological effects caused by RF exposure. Following this research and these recommendations, the FCC’s RF regulatory compliance guidelines are based on known thresholds for adverse effects and incorporate appropriate margins of safety.
When developing current guidelines, the FCC consulted with and obtained approval from the EPA, FDA, OSHA, and NIOSH to ensure the safety of these regulations.
RF Regulatory Compliance Testing
Now that we’ve discussed RF regulatory compliance guidelines and how the FCC developed them, it’s time to discuss the importance of RF compliance testing. This testing proves that any wireless devices manufactured for sale comply with national and international regulations. It is also mandatory for any electronic product able to oscillate above 9 kHz. Failing to prove RF regulatory compliance means that your product will not be allowed for sale on the market, along with other issues.
Testing to prove compliance should be completed as early as possible during your product’s development to avoid costly redesigns, reduce your time to market, and avoid any other issues that may arise from compliance failure.
RF Exposure Lab Can Help With RF Regulatory Compliance Testing Needs
Demand for wireless devices that use RF energy is ever increasing and the need for manufacturers to prove RF regulatory compliance is increasing at the same rate. It’s imperative that manufacturers work with expert SAR testing labs to prove safety and compliance with FCC regulations and other international regulations. Fortunately, RF Exposure Lab and our expert staff are here to help you. We’re always working to stay up to date on the latest developments in RF regulatory compliance so that you don’t have to.
As part of this dedication to staying up to date, we now provide millimeter wave device testing equipment and near field charging device equipment in our lab. Meeting the needs of our clients as technology advances and changes is important to us. In addition to this, we offer SAR testing services for a variety of wireless devices including cell phones, laptops and tablets, medical products, survey equipment, wireless modems, and more. If you’re looking for SAR testing help that is provided with expertise, speed, accuracy, and integrity, contact us to get a quote for our services.