New US rules put IoT development and compliance in jeopardy

New US rules put IoT development and compliance in jeopardy

US FCC unveil new equipment authorisation rules that could raise the costs of compliance for Internet of Things (IoT) devices and systems.

Growth in the IoT market could be seriously stalled as the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the US has set new RF equipment authorisation rules that could critically affect the businesses of RF equipment manufacturers, importers, marketers – and also testing laboratories.

At present, applicants for all such RF equipment certification must put forward test reports prepared by either an FCC-accredited or 2.948-listed laboratory. The ‘2.948’ relates to Section 2.948 of the FCC rules that authorise use of those laboratories. An FCC-accredited laboratory has to meet general ISO/IEC requirements in accordance with FCC rules.

But new rules, slated to be introduced this year, would bar test results from non-accredited 2.948-listed labs that are currently accepted. The rules apply to labs both in the US and outside the country.

The new rules mean that RF equipment manufacturers currently using 2.948-listed testing labs in non-Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) countries will no longer be able to use the results to certify RF devices sold in the country.

The rules not only affect makers of RF-enabled IoT devices and systems, but also manufacturers that develop and make other RF devices – such as Radio Frequency Identification Devices (RFID).

The authority of 2.948-listed labs expires on 13 July this year and from 12 October, further test reports from such laboratories will not be accepted for devices tested before the 13 July deadline. This goes for both US-based and foreign manufacturers.

The result of the new rules will mean that manufacturers would have to stump up cash to relocate testing facilities in 2.948-listed laboratories in non-US, non-MRA countries. Other costly arrangements may also have to be made if IoT vendors still wish to sell products in the US.

According to Andy Eadie, content director of EMC Fast Pass, the changes will impact where IoT devices will be tested.

“Where you could previously hire a non-accredited test lab to do this work, you’ll now only be able to select from the list of accredited test labs,” he told Internet of Business.

“Labs that have the funds and resources available to go through the accreditation procedure will likely upgrade their designation to accredited. I would expect these labs to increase their prices to account for the extra overhead.”