What is RF Compliance Testing and Why is it Important?

What is RF Compliance Testing and Why is it Important?

RF compliance testing is an important and necessary part of producing devices that emit radiofrequency energy. This testing is what will determine whether or not your product can be sold. Wondering what this entails and how you can be sure that your product meets these requirements? Keep reading to find out.

What is RF Compliance Testing?

The “RF” in RF compliance testing stands for Radiofrequency. This testing assures that any wireless devices you’ve produced comply with international regulatory requirements, and it is mandatory for any electronic product that can oscillate above 9kHz. There are some exceptions to this, but they are few. Not only is RF compliance testing required to sell your products, but it also proves that your wireless products are safe for consumer use. If you fail to gain this certification, your products will not be allowed on the market.

RF compliance testing is also important to demonstrate that any radio and telecommunications products are efficiently using the radio spectrum and are not interfering with other products that use this spectrum. This is done by simulating the performance of the wireless device and it ensures that your device isn’t disrupted by electromagnetic emissions in the area around it.

Testing should be completed sometime during the early stages of your product’s development to avoid product redesigns or any issues that may arise from finding out that your product failed testing after mass production has started. Ensuring that your product meets RF testing requirements early in the process will reduce your time to market and avoid costly redesigns.

What Steps Are Involved in RF Compliance Testing?

The process of RF compliance testing involves multiple steps. Being familiar with these steps before beginning testing can help you through the process.

Precompliance testing: This is the process of testing a product during the development phase as well as working with a SAR testing lab to get guidance on the product’s design. This can help you quickly identify and correct product issues.

Know which standard(s) apply to your product: It’s important to know which standards apply to your product to ensure that accurate testing is done. At RF Exposure Lab, we have the expertise to let you know what testing applies to your product based on the type of device it is and the countries where this product will be sold.

Lab testing: This is the process of RF lab testing and involves measuring a device’s RF emissions and whether or not it is disrupted by nearby electromagnetic emissions.

Documentation: After passing testing, the testing lab you’re working with will provide you with documentation and reports detailing the device’s performance. This is what will be used to prove compliance with regulatory bodies such as the FCC.

Common RF Standards

Around the world, there are a variety of governing bodies that determine RF compliance testing standards. Depending on where your product will be marketed, it will have to comply with all of these differing standards. The following are some of the most common standards.

Federal Communications Commission (FCC): The FCC oversees regulation for SAR and RF testing in the United States, and many other countries look to the US for guidance. FCC RF standards are detailed in FCC Part 15, FCC Part 18, FCC Part 90, and more. You can find more details about FCC testing standards below.

European Conformity (CE)/ European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI): In the European Union, manufacturers must comply with regulations such as the Radio Equipment Directive (RED), set forth by ETSI.

Innovation, Science, & Economic Development Canada (ISED): ISED oversees RF compliance testing regulation in Canada. Products sold here will need to comply with ISED regulations.

FCC Testing Standards

While it is the responsibility of manufacturers to be sure that your wireless products don’t interfere with other products or put consumers at risk, it’s a fairly complicated process to go through.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) enforces RF compliance under Title 47 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). Compliance is proven only after your product completes testing and receives certification from the FCC.

Part 15 of Title 47 is a very important part of RF compliance testing. This section of Title 47 explains how much electromagnetic interference is allowed to be emitted by wireless devices along with administrative requirements, technical specifications, and how FCC Part 15 products can be marketed. It also describes the rules that allow radiators of RF energy to be operated without requiring an individual license. Three types of RF radiators are specified: intentional, unintentional, and incidental. Intentional radiators require authorization.

Intentional radiators include smartphones and other devices that emit RF energy as part of their operation, whether through induction or radiation. Unintentional radiators use RF energy and may even send RF signals through conduction, but they aren’t designed to intentionally emit this energy. Because of this, they do not require authorization. You should understand which of these categories your product falls into before undergoing any RF compliance testing.

Get RF Compliance Testing Help From RF Exposure Lab

As you can see, the FCC’s RF compliance testing requirements and regulations are complicated and can be difficult to navigate. It can be confusing and time-consuming to figure out which requirements and tests apply to your product. It’s possible to be wrong about what is required for your product, which can lead to fines, recalls, and other repercussions. It’s risky to maneuver through the maze of RF compliance testing without help from experts.

RF Exposure Lab has considerable experience and expertise in RF compliance testing for global markets. Jay Moulton, Chief Engineer, was even involved in creating the testing and methodology that has been used to establish today’s FCC requirements. We also remain up-to-date on the latest regulation changes to ensure we only perform relevant tests.

We are the only standalone SAR testing lab in the United States and apart from offering testing services for client products, we also provide design suggestions for manufacturers to guarantee that they meet all RF compliance standards before completing the design process. 

With help from RF Exposure Lab, you can avoid costly compliance failures and product redesigns, which will allow you to save money and get your product on the market as quickly as possible. For RF compliance testing provided with speed, expertise, accuracy, and integrity, contact us today.