One of the most important steps in bringing your electronic device to market is completing FCC testing and gaining equipment authorization.

Equipment authorization is an Federal Communications Commission process that allows you to market your device in the United States. It confirms that your device complies with relevant FCC regulations, such as FCC Part 15, and is compatible with other devices.

Below, we’ve explained what equipment authorization is, as well as how the process of testing a device and achieving authorization works.

For more information about FCC testing and authorization, or to request a quote for testing your device, contact us online or call us at 866-540-5287.

What is Equipment Authorization?

Equipment authorization is a status granted by the FCC to devices that demonstrate compliance with regulations such as the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 47, Part 15 (FCC Part 15).

A device that receives equipment authorization has demonstrated that it complies with all of the FCC’s requirements concerning electromagnetic compatibility (EMC). 

Electromagnetic compatibility means that a device is capable of operating normally in a shared environment with other electronic devices. Devices that are electromagnetically compatible are unlikely to cause electromagnetic interference (EMI).

Electromagnetic interference occurs when radio frequency (RF) emissions from a device affect other devices from working. For example, a device that outputs RF energy could cause a TV to lose its signal, or prevent a Wi-Fi network from transferring data.

The FCC’s equipment authorization process exists to ensure that only devices with a sufficient amount of electromagnetic compatibility enter onto the market in the United States.

Devices can receive equipment authorization from the FCC through two processes. The first is FCC certification, which is an extensive, stringent process that’s required for electronic devices with a high risk of causing electromagnetic interference.

The second is a Supplier’s Declaration of Conformity (SDoC), which is a less costly process for devices with a lower risk of causing interference. 

FCC Equipment Authorization and US Market Access

By law, all electronic devices that are subject to the FCC Part 15 rules are required to complete testing and receive equipment authorization before going on sale in the United States.

Finishing the equipment authorization process allows you to affix the FCC mark to your device and its packaging. The FCC mark is a mandatory compliance mark that’s required for electrical devices.

Selling a device that has not received equipment authorization in the United States can lead to legal action from the FCC. The FCC regularly checks devices for regulatory compliance and is known to apply fines and other legal actions to companies with non-compliant products.

How to Get FCC Authorization for Your Device

If you have never brought an electronic device to market before, the FCC compliance process can easily look overwhelming. The good news is that the testing and compliance process can easily be broken down into a few key steps and handled relatively easily.

As mentioned above, there are two pathways to achieving FCC authorization for an electronic device. The first, FCC certification, is typically used for devices that contain radio modules and are most likely to cause interference.

The second, a Supplier’s Declaration of Conformity, is generally used for devices classified as unintentional radiators that do not contain radio modules. 

Both procedures involve several common steps:

  • Pre-compliance. Before completing testing, you’ll need to perform pre-compliance for your device. This involves identifying the relevant standards and, in some cases, doing early, informal tests to assess your device’s electromagnetic performance.
  • Lab testing. Both the certification and SDoC routes to authorization require you to test your device. To receive authorization from the FCC, your electronic device will need to be tested in an accredited, FCC-recognized laboratory to demonstrate its compliance.
  • Document preparation. Following testing, you’ll need to prepare documentation that shows your device is compliant. This documentation includes lab testing reports, your device’s manual, and other documents required for regulatory compliance. 

For certification, you’ll need to submit a comprehensive package to the FCC that includes lab testing results for your device, detailed technical documentation, and all relevant manuals for your device. 

An FCC-recognized Telecommunications Certification Body (TCB) will review your submission and, if appropriate, provide FCC Certification and an FCC ID for your device. 

As an FCC-recognized testing lab and TCB, we can assist you with testing your device and the FCC certification process. 

For a Supplier’s Declaration of Conformity, you’ll need to prepare a complete file of test reports for your device and publish a Declaration of Conformity confirming your device’s compliance for the FCC to verify if needed. 

Contact Us for Help With FCC Equipment Authorization

Our team can assist you with this entire process, from testing your electrical device to preparing documentation and completing all SDoC/certification procedures. Contact us online or call us at 866-540-5287 to ask our engineers a question or request a free quote for your device.