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Industry certification schemes for radio equipment

Regulatory approvals for radio equipmentNational Regulatory Authorities limit regulation to what is necessary to ensure the safety of life and to protect the radio spectrum.  Meeting only these minimum requirements tells your customers little about the quality and performance of your product.

Industry certification schemes arise from the desire of the commercial sector to generate stable technologies in widespread use that will deliver a good user experience and drive growth.  These approvals schemes go way beyond what is required to satisfy regulatory requirements.  Testing for conformance to these voluntary standards can be highly specialised and complex.

A good example of an industry certification scheme is operated by the Bluetooth Special Interest Group.  The Special Interest Group oversees the development of the Bluetooth specification and manages the qualification program.  The Bluetooth logo is protected as a trademark and may not be used unless the product has been shown to comply with the standards defined by the Special Interest Group.  Other similar schemes are operated by the WiFi Alliance and the WiMAX Forum.

Two industry certification schemes that apply to cellular communications devices are the GCF and PTCRB schemes.  These schemes were instigated by network operators in Europe and in North America respectively but membership also includes device manufacturers, test laboratories and certification bodies.  GCF and PTCRB approvals are now recognised by and supported by network operators throughout the world.  These schemes cater for the certification of 2nd, 3rd and 4th generation mobile terminals.  The certification of 2nd generation (GSM only) devices is becoming less common with some networks re-farming spectrum for more spectrally efficient 3rd generation services.

Testing can include RF conformance, protocol conformance, SIM/USIM interface testing, power interface testing, user interface testing, acoustic interface testing and over-the-air tests to verify antenna performance.  Core specifications, together with the associated conformance specifications amount to more than 16, 000 pages.  The cost for the full conformance testing of a modern smart-phone can top $1million.

Many network operators will not purchase product unless it has been certified to GCF or PTCRB requirements and may in addition require further interoperability testing to proprietary standards as well as field trials, also carried out according to proprietary standards.  Mobile network operators do this because the correct operation and performance of mobile terminal equipment is essential if they are to deliver reliable services to their customers.

We can help you to satisfy these requirements, and we can help you to ensure that having achieved the approvals you require, you have the documentation and evidence base to prove it.

You will appreciate our tenacious focus on delivery and on hitting key milestones.  Our mission is simple, to help you to succeed.

We specialise in helping businesses to bring new, innovative products to market.

  • We will help you develop and deliver an effective approvals strategy that is consistent with your product marketing objectives
  • We will help you re-engineer your product to resolve any technical issues that may present a barrier to achieving compliance

If you would like to discuss how we can drive your project forward, please contact us.