FCC Publishes Requirements for RF Module Transmitter Certification and Host Integration Guidance

Posted on February 1, 2019 at 6:00 PM

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) of the United States publishes guidance documents for applicants (grantees) seeking certification for modular transmitters (module), and host product manufacturers seeking to use a module in their product.

Guidance for Modular Transmitter Applicants

Applicants seeking to certify a modular transmitter (module) must provide integration instructions for host product manufacturers to use when integrating a module into a host product; this is commonly in the form of an OEM instruction manual.

The following items must be included in the integration instructions/manual:

  • List of the FCC rules applicable to the module transmitter that specifically establish the bands of operation, the power, spurious emissions, and operating fundamental frequencies.
  • Summarize and describe the specific operational use conditions, including for example any limits on antennas, etc.
  • If a modular transmitter is approved as a "limited module," limited module procedures to verify that the host meets the necessary requirements to satisfy the module limiting conditions are required.
  • For transmitters with trace antenna designs, integration instructions for the following aspects should be included: layout of trace design, parts list (BOM), antenna, connectors, and isolation requirements.
  • RF exposure conditions that permit a host product manufacturer to use the module.
    • Defined application conditions for the host manufacturer (mobile, portable – xx cm from a person’s body)
    • Information needed for the host product manufacturer to provide to end users in their end-product manuals
  • A list of antennas included in the application for certification must be provided in the instructions.
  • Label and compliance information for host product manufacturers, such as advising for provision of physical or e-label stating “Contains FCC ID” with their finished product.
  • Information on test modes that take in account different operating conditions for a standalone modular transmitter in a host, as well as for multiple simultaneously transmitting modules or other transmitters in a host product.
  • A statement that the modular transmitter is only FCC authorized for the specific rule parts listed on the grant.

Not applicable items should be indicated in the manual.

Guidance for Host Products Manufacturers

  • Account for all FCC compliance requirements.
  • Review the integration instructions provided for the certified modular transmitter(s) and ensure that all the items are properly addressed.
  • Confirm that the integration instructions for RF exposure requirements are followed for the host product.
  • Obtain the required equipment authorization for any other included transmitters or devices not authorized as a certified modular transmitter.
  • Perform testing on the product with the transmitter(s) operating to confirm that the host product meets the FCC requirements.
  • Label the product appropriately.

When testing the host product, all the transmitters must be operating.

If the host product manufacturer finds that the host as a system exceeds the spurious emissions or output power limit, it is the responsibility of the host product manufacturer to ensure compliance.

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