The scalability and success of your IoT solutions are determined not only with the solution itself but also with the specifications and abilities of the devices. A critical point before building your business around IoT is to assure that the devices would be successfully identified and recognised in different networks, especially in Cellular and LPWAN type of networks. This short guide will help to explain, how well do your devices fit the requirements of the network, in other words, are they certified.
The connectivity providers for your IoT solutions can ensure the proper and seamless service in case if the device meets certification requirements.
What does certification of devices mean?
Certification implies that the devices meet the initial inspection requirements on many topics, especially:
• Individual Network Protocols
• TRP – Total Radiated Power
• RSE – Radiated Spurious Emissions
• Idle Mode Emissions,
• Sim Specifications
• Specific Absorption Rate, etc.
The authorised organizations are guiding the process of certifications, those are empowered by commissions, industry consortiums or sometimes by the network operators. The way how the certification process is built is different across geographies. In this article, we will clarify how that works in North America and Europe.
The Certification process in North America consists of three layers:
• General or governmental level, which ensures that the device is properly regulated in terms of the level of radiating the energy and radio frequency spectrum. The authorised body in the USA is the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). In many cases, depending on the behaviour of the devices, the FCC certification is enough to identify them in the networks of different operators, but that might be insufficient when it comes to some mobile network operators
• Operating level on mobile networks, and here is the primary certification authority is PTCRB, which has mobile network operators and related industry participants, such as Rogers Telecommunication, Bell and Telus in Canada, and T-Mobile, AT&T and Sprint in the USA.
• Certification separately by some carriers. For example, if you would like your devices to operate under the Verizon network in the USA, they need to be independently certified by this carrier. Another example is AT&T, which for some use cases might require own additional certification.
The Certification process in Europe is from the first view seems to be relatively easy. The primary two certification process in Europe is driven by the Global Certification Forum (GCF) and European Conformity (CE).
“Test once, use everywhere” is the motto of GCF, that ensures working of the devices across the different cellular networks in Europe and Worldwide, which have adopted the 3GPP Standard. Based on the use case of the M2M and IoT devices, the manufacturer can select from the different type of certifications and be compliant for it. That also affects the pricing of certification.
The CE certification ensures that the devices to be launched in European countries are compliant with the requirements of the European Commission directives. This certification is applicable to many types of devices and also for radio and telecommunications equipment. Similar to GCF certification, once the CE certification is done, the device can operate in any mobile network within Europe. Based on the different test scenarios and use cases, the manufacturer might select the certification either from CE or GCF.
Now, when we have comprehensive information about the device certification process, the rest is to be assured, which IoT connectivity technology fits your devices best and we will also write about this in our future articles.
Let’s keep always connected!