The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is an independent agency of the United States government that was created to regulate all forms of telecommunications inside of the US including radio, television, satellite, wireless devices and a large range of radio frequency (RF) electronics. The FCC was formed by the Communications Act of 1934 to replace the radio regulation functions of the Federal Radio Commission.
Products that emit any type of radio frequency energy must be tested and certified before being marketed or sold in the United States. Standards were created by the FCC for products that may contribute to electromagnetic interference to reduce the level of radio frequency between electronic devices. Manufacturers planning to sell electronic equipment must ensure that their products will not electromagnetically interfere with other products nor cause risk to the public. Most electronic devices with the ability to oscillate above 9 kHz must get an FCC Certification.
All devices must be tested and meet emission rules, to comply with current regulations before receiving FCC Certification. Products that need certification are either intentional or unintentional radiators of radio frequency energy. Intentional radiators are devices like a smartphone, that must broadcast radio energy as part of their operation. Unintentional radiators are electronics, like a digital camera that can create radio signals and broadcast them through space or power lines as an unintentional byproduct of their operation.
Example of intentional / unintentional devices that require certification:
- Power adapters
- Remote control transmitters
- Baby monitors
- Bluetooth devices
- Cordless phones
- Wireless medical transmitters
- Garage door / openers
- Head sets
The Federal Communications Commission put standards in place for testing devices based on the type of radio frequency that is emitted. Categories were created to identify and test the products for obtaining certified authorization. Testing is divided by product type and named by the following: FCC Part 11, FCC Part 15, FCC Part 18, FCC Part 22, FCC Part 24, FCC Part 90 and FCC Part 95. The FCC will determine what method of screening your device will need to go through depending on the type of device you are manufacturing.
The FCC Declaration of Conformity
Also known as the FCC label or the FCC mark, it is a certification mark employed on electronic products manufactured or sold in the United States which certifies that the electromagnetic interference from the device is under limits approved by the Federal Communications Commission. By the regulation, the FCC DoC certification mark is mandatory for devices classified under Part 15 (IT equipment like computers, switched-mode power supplies, monitors etc., television receivers, cable system devices, low-power transmitters, unlicensed personal communication devices) and Part 18 (industrial, scientific and medical (ISM) devices that emit RF radiation) of the FCC regulations.
FCC Acceptance in Latin America and Caribbean Countries
Contrary to popular belief, FCC approval does not cover the requirements for Latin America and the Caribbean. Every country in those regions have their own Regulatory Body with their own set of regulations and restrictions. In some cases, we can use existing test reports (FCC, CE) for the homologation process to avoid in-country testing, but FCC or CE approval on its own does not fulfill the requirements.