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Don’t Let ETSI & FCC Certifications Stall Your Bluetooth-Connected IoT/Wireless Design Project

Guest post by Dave Burleton of LSR

Wireless regulations and certification processes can be challenging even for companies with significant experience in wireless products, but that level of complexity is multiplied for companies who are designing their first IoT/M2M products to tap into the growing market for “smart” products. Their traditional products have never been connected in the past. But new products that utilize wireless technology like Bluetooth to transmit and receive data wirelessly must be certified by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) and/or the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the United States, otherwise those products cannot be brought to market in that given region. That means that every engineer who is working on an IoT/M2M product design needs to have a strategy for ETSI and/or FCC compliance.

To keep this blog post a bit more succinct, let’s focus specifically on the FCC. But it should be noted that this guidance also holds true for ETSI certification of IoT/M2M products. FCC certification is complex, and there’s no way around it. (To learn more, read this LSR white paper that outlines FCC certification requirements for IoT products in detail.) Some of the requirements include:

  • Understanding and meeting certification requirements of all the countries into which your product will be sold (e.g. ETSI and a number of other agencies in Europe. the FCC in the U.S., and Industry Canada in Canada).
  • Determining and complying with the correct level of certification for the type of wireless technology being utilized.
  • Properly conducting both General Emissions testing and Intentional Radiation testing to adhere to comply with both aspects of wireless testing that the FCC requires.

Without the proper certification in place, your wireless product cannot be sold in the U.S., Canada, Europe and other areas where FCC and FCC-equivalent compliance is a must. The question is how to design the product in a way that gives you the shortest, quickest, least painful path to compliance and certification. The do-it-yourself approach (which would involve discrete circuit design) would require a lengthy and tricky review process with high risk of delays that could slow completion of the product significantly—especially for companies who are first-timers in seeking FCC certification for a wireless design.

The alternative is to use a pre-certified RF module like the SaBLE-x Bluetooth Smart module from LSR, available through EBV, which enables design teams to check the FCC certification box on the to-do list without having to become experts in those challenging government regulations. SaBLE-x is a certified Bluetooth® Smart module that dramatically simplifies the process of adding Bluetooth wireless capabilities to a product while also delivering built-in FCC, ETSI, IC, Giteki (Japan), RCM (Australia/New Zealand) certification in the process.

Sable

SaBLE-x Bluetooth Smart module from LSR

This module is ideal for IoT/M2M product designs for a number of reasons:

  • It can deliver more than twice the signal range of previous generation Bluetooth low energy technology, and can operate at nearly 1/3 the average power for a 1 second connection interval when compared to previous Bluetooth low energy modules. This industry-best power efficiency is significant, as battery life is the critical specification for many IoT applications.
  • Based on the new TI SimpleLink™ Bluetooth® Smart CC2640 wireless microcontroller (MCU), this self-contained module provides unmatched integration, including an ARM Cortex-M3 application processor, an ARM Cortex-M0 processor for the RF core, separate Sensor Processor Engine, FLASH memory, and both high- and low-speed clocks.
  • It fully supports the single mode Bluetooth Low Energy operation, and the output power can support class 2.
  • It enables engineers to either put their entire application into the integrated ARM Cortex M3 microcontroller, or use the module in Network Processor mode in conjunction with the microcontroller of your choice.
  • LSR’s new Developer Tool Suite makes it even easier to add Bluetooth connectivity to your existing product, with its powerful Serial-to-BLE API and development tools. You can learn more about Serial-to-BLE and download the Developer Tool Suite for free here: https://www.lsr.com/embedded-wireless-modules/bluetooth-module/sable-x-ble-module#product-software.

For many companies, the faster time to market, simplified certification and lower non-recurring engineering (NRE) costs of their product development efforts makes the use of a certified RF module the optimal strategy. For more information about the SaBLE-x Bluetooth Smart module from LSR, read the full brochure here: https://www.lsr.com/downloads/products/337-0147.pdf.


About the Author:

Dave BurletonDave Burleton is a Vice President at LSR. With over 12 years of experience in product management, strategic marketing, field sales, and sales operations, he approaches new product development from a broad array of perspectives, while maintaining a singular focus on demonstrating value to the customer. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering and Mathematics from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. You can learn more about LSR’s certified modules at www.lsr.com/embedded-wireless-modules.

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