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Clarification on FCC Requirements
We have been investigating the exact requirements (as of now) for the Part 15 radios used in WISP deployments. To try to clear things up some, I decided to try to summarize what we have learned over the past year or so and try to help others to understand exactly what is required and expected. That said, I am not a lawyer and my general disclaimer would be to use this information as a guide and not as the final word. The final word, as always, resides with the FCC in the USA and other regulatory organizations in other countries.
To spell it out:
DISCLAIMER: THIS INFORMATION IS INTENDED AS A GUIDE AND FOR DISCUSSION PURPOSES ONLY. THIS IS ONLY MY OPINION AND ANY INTERPRETATION IS ULTIMATELY UP TO THE FCC ONLY!
All that said, FCC certification can really be broken down into two parts: Subpart B and Subpart C certifications.
Let's take a look at what each of those is:
Now that we know what the two parts of certification, we can talk about what the requirements for each are. There are two types of devices on the market today (that I'm aware of at least): complete systems and certified modules.
There are some exceptions to these rules. For antennas, any antenna of the same type and lesser gain may be used with either a certified system or a certified module. By same type and lesser gain, it means that if the certification has a 12dbi Omni, other omnis that are <=12dbi may be used by the installer. Also, different lengths of coax can be used with certified systems and modules.
So what does this really mean for the WISP? It ultimately means that the device you are using must either:
The easiest way for a WISP to tell if a system is FCC certified is by the required label on the device. For #1 above, there should be a label on the outside of the device that says “Contains FCC ID: XXXXX” and have the Declaration of Conformity on the label as well or in the manual. For #2 above, there should be a label on the outside of the devices that says “FCC ID: XXXXX” and have the Declaration of Conformity on the label as well or in the manual.
My final comments are on changes and what it means for the certification. I have created a matrix that covers complete systems and certified modules as well as some common changes:
As I said before, this is to be used as a guideline. If you have specific questions or concerns, you can ask the FCC lab directly at this link:
This site contains the FAQs for most of the items covered above as well as a link to Submit An Inquiry on the left nav. I encourage all of you to read through this information and ask questions if you have them.
To search for FCC grants, you can use this site:
I hope this information helps to give you a better idea of the FCC certification requirements!