Updates Part 15 of the Technical Rules
Technological advances lead to more changes to
As part of its biennial
review, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has adopted
changes to Parts 2 and 15 of the technical rules. On June 25, 2003,
under ET Docket 01-278, FCC made the changes to reflect technological
changes such as the advent of software-defined radio and increased
Internet use by the general public. The review, under Notice of
Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) 01-278, also dealt with some minor cleanup
in Parts 2 and 18 of the rules. One issue was addressed in Part
90. This report was the second Report and Order (R&O) and Memorandum
Opinion and Order issued as part of this proceeding.
The First R&O
The first R&O, which
was released in 2002, addressed the requirements for radar detectors
and emissions above 1 GHz for these devices. Before the release
of this R&O, radar detectors were covered under receiver specifications,
and these devices were not required to be tested or to be certified
if operating above 960 MHz. However, due to the increased interference
from the radar detectors' local oscillators to some satellite service
receivers, FCC ruled that these devices needed to meet the FCC Class
B limits in the 11.7 to 12.2 GHz band. FCC further required that
after October 27, 2003, radar detectors not meeting the emissions
limits for this band could no longer be marketed or sold. This deadline
was extended by a request for a 30-day waiver. Additional issues
addressed in the original NPRM were, for the most part, dealt with
in the second R&O.
The Second R&O
In the second R&O,
FCC removed some of the frequencies in the bands above 38.6 GHz
from the restricted band table. Several parts of the spectrum above
38.6 GHz were removed. These bands were mainly the second and third
harmonics for those systems operating in the 24.0 to 24.5 GHz band.
FCC also decided not to address any changes in the Part 15 emissions
limits over 2 GHz.
The R&O also removes
the restriction prohibiting transmission of voice or data for devices
operating under Part 15.231. Under the original Part 15 regulations,
only those devices that met the requirements under section (e) of
Part 15.231 could transmit voice or data. The new regulations will
allow systems operating under the other sections of Part 15.231
to transmit voice or data as well. The commission did not, however,
accept the proposed changes to duty-cycle averaging under this proposal.
|Radio relay system
position modulated by 36-voice-channel baseband: pulse
width at half amplitude 0.4 µs; Bn
= 8 x
106 Hz = 8
(bandwidth independent of
number of voice channels)
|Composite transmission digital modulation
using DSB-AM (microwave radio relay system)
modulation used to send 5 Mb/sec by use of amplitude
modulation of the main carrier with four signaling states
= 5 x
106 bps; K = 1;
= 4; Bn = 5 MHz
|Binary frequency shift keying
= 3.86D + 0.27R
= 2.4D + 1.0R
modulation used to send 1 Mb/sec by frequency shift
keying with two signaling states and 0.75 MHz peak deviation
of the carrier.
= 1 x
= 0.75 x
= 2.8 MHz
|Multilevel frequency shift keying
= (R/log2S) + 2DK
modulation used to send 10 Mb/sec by use of frequency
shift keying with four signaling states and 2 MHz peak
deviation of the main carrier.
= 10 x
= 2 MHz; K=1;
= 4; Bn = 10 MHz
|Phase shift keying
modulation used to send 10 Mb/sec by use of phase shift
keying with four signaling states
= 10 x
106 bps; K = 1;
= 4; Bn = 10 MHz
|Quadrature amplitude modulation (QAM)
QAM used to send 135 Mb/sec has the same necessary bandwidth
as 64-PSK used to send 135 Mb/sec;
= 135 x
= 64; Bn = 45 MHz
|Minimum shift keying
modulation used to send 2 Mb/sec using 2-ary minimum
= 2.36 x
|Table I. FCC bandwidth modifications
to Part 2.202.
Also addressed in this
R&O were modifications to rules for radio-frequency identification
(RFID) systems. FCC had proposed adoption of different limits for
operation in the 13.553 and 13.567 MHz bands. The proposal increases
the maximum power from 10,000 to 15,848 µVm at 30 m in the
13.410- 13.553 MHz band. It also increases maximum power from 30
to 334 µVm at 30 m for the 13.710-14.010 MHz band. In the
restricted 13.36-13.41 MHz band, the new rules will also permit
emissions (other than just spurious emissions) for RFID.
The R&O also addressed
modifications to the Declaration of Conformity (DoC) labels for
products. For Class B products, FCC has eliminated the requirement
for manufacturers to add the phrase "for home and office use"
to the DoC. Devices assembled with certified components must still
keep the label. In addition, the warning information required under
Part 15.19 is still required on the label.
The R&O also addressed
appropriate formats for the FCC warnings and information needs to
be provided to end-users. If the device comes with a paper or CD
manual, the information must be included in those formats. If the
manuals are available only via the Internet, or if the device does
not have the capability of reading a CD or connecting to the Internet,
then information, including RF safety information, can be provided
to the end-user over the Internet.
FCC agreed to drop the
requirements for certification of intentional radiators operating
below 490 KHz. The device's emissions must be at least 40 dB below
the applicable Part 15 limits. which can be demonstrated either
by measurement or by calculation.
Also modified were the
Part 2 testing requirements for Part 95 family radio services. This
change allows these devices to test over the frequency range 462-468
MHz and at a temperature range of -20° to +50°C instead
of -30° to +50°C. These new parameters test systems over
a range that is more typical for these devices. The FCC changes
should help reduce vendor costs for these parts.
In addressing test requirements
for Part 15.31 of the technical rules, FCC has adopted ANSI C63.4-2001
as the replacement for the 1992 version. FCC also clarified the
requirements for testing below 30 MHz and now stipulates that only
a loop antenna may be used for measuring for Part 15 compliance.
Note that FCC still allows measurements from 27 to 30 MHz to be
made with a biconical antenna provided that the antenna has been
calibrated below 30 MHz. This further clarification should relieve
both FCC and the telecommunications certification bodies (TCBs)
from the occasional headache of requiring a retest of systems below
30 MHz when done with a rod antenna.
FCC also adopted ANSI
C63.17 for testing unlicensed personal communications system (PCS)
devices under Subpart D. This standard was developed specifically
for testing these types of devices.
To streamline the process
for accrediting labs, FCC removed the requirement for them to file
their normalized site attenuation (NSA) curves and information.
However, the accreditation agency must provide FCC with the information
on the lab's accreditation. The R&O also addresses some modifications
to the bandwidth in Part 2.202 (see Table I). As part of this R&O,
FCC also made some minor corrections to other sections of Parts
2 and 18.
Several issues must still
be clarified under this R&O. Some issues are still open under
the Part 15 biennial review NPRM 02-312.Technically, NPRM 02-312
was disposed of in late 2002, so the remaining issues will likely
turn up as comments filed in other rule makings. Among these issues
is a request to eliminate Part 15.203, which addresses unique connectors
for Part 15.247 and Part 15.407 devices. Another lingering issue
is the removal of the integrated antenna requirement for Part 15.407(a)
devices. Also requested is a better definition of professional
installer under Part 15.203. The process continues. Filings
will likely request clarification of some of the changes covered
in ET Docket 01-278.
David A. Case, NCE, NCT, is senior regulatory engineer
for Cisco Systems Corporate Compliance EMC Standards and Operations.
He can be reached via e-mail at