Archives: Unlicensed Operations and Emerging Technologies

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The FCC is Now Granting Program Experimental Licenses (Finally!)

The FCC has always been kind to people who tinker with radio equipment, whether teenagers blowing out their parents’ fuses (that was us) or manufacturers’ research labs (maybe you). Licenses in the Experimental Radio Service allow work with radio transmitters that don’t otherwise meet FCC standards. The problem with these experimental licenses was that most … Continue Reading

Drones for Tower Inspections? Lookout for FAA Regulations

FAA Waivers May Be Required Last summer, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued its first regulations allowing commercial flights of small unmanned aircraft (sUAS, colloquially known as drones). As we reported, those rules place a number of restrictions on flying drones for commercial use, although the agency provided the opportunity to obtain waivers of some … Continue Reading

Wi-Fi Holds its Breath as FCC OKs LTE-U

Wi-Fi is one of the great technological successes of our age. It gives fast, reliable data transmission by anyone for any purpose. No FCC license is needed. No single provider controls the technology. The equipment is inexpensive and available in a large, competitive marketplace. It almost always works. Was it too good to last? We … Continue Reading

Mobile Now Legislation, Moving Along

High-stakes spectrum lobbying gears up Last year, we reported on the proposed Mobile Now Act, the darling of U.S. Senators John Thune (R-S.D.) and Bill Nelson (D-FL), the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Commerce Committee, respectively. The bill aims to encourage broadband deployment. At that time, we noted that the Act had a … Continue Reading

FCC Names Spectrum Access Administrators

Seven companies will simultaneously control multiple users across three priority levels in the Citizens Broadband Radio Service. The FCC hopes to launch new spectrum management techniques with the Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS), in which large numbers of users will share the spectrum with each other and with incumbents through a three-tiered access model. Each … Continue Reading

The FCC’s Foray Into 5G, IoT Device Cybersecurity

Public Safety Bureau asks wide-ranging questions in NOI The Commission’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau has put out a Notice of Inquiry (NOI) seeking information about the security of communications in 5G networks and devices. The Bureau raises these questions especially in light of the expected Internet-of-Things-related proliferation of wireless devices that have the … Continue Reading

Blanket Import Waiver, Extended

FCC extends waiver of Form 740 import declarations As we’ve reported here and here, the Commission is proposing to modify some of its import declaration rules (i.e. Sections 2.1203 and 2.1205). These require, in part, that importers of RF equipment into the United States make certain certifications either electronically or on paper. The proposed rule … Continue Reading

Making Your Airport Great Again: FCC Waiver Allows Updated Body Scanners

We reported earlier this year that the FCC was seeking comment on a waiver request to allow certification of an updated, wider-band version of airport body scanners, ones that will meet new TSA standards. That waiver, which was not opposed, now has been granted, allowing L-3 Communications Security and Detection Systems to obtain equipment certification for its … Continue Reading

Some 5G Rules Take Effect Soon

(More rules recently went through public comment and are still pending)   Last July we reported on the FCC’s progress toward future wireless “5G” technologies, which promise blindingly fast data speeds. The rules adopted then are now slated to take effect on December 14, except for those on satellite earth stations in the 27.5-28.35 and … Continue Reading

FCC Approves (Very Late) Application to be a 70/80/90 GHz Database Manager

But success will be limited if the FCC approves mobile usage in the 70/80 GHz segments. The FCC rules mandate a lot of different techniques to keep radio communications from interfering with each other. One of the more unusual applies to the “nosebleed spectrum” way up at 71-76, 81-86, and 92-95 GHz – the highest … Continue Reading

Marketing Wi-Fi Gear with Changeable Country Code Draws $200,000 Penalty … and More

Novel consent decree provision requires company to “share information” with third-party software developers and others. In what might ordinarily have been a run-of-the-mill consent decree between Wi-Fi equipment manufacturer TP-Link and the FCC, the company has admitted to selling potentially overpowered Wi-Fi routers and has agreed to pay a fine of $200,000 – toward the … Continue Reading

FCC Works its Will on the WISP, Part II: Sentence Suspended, Somewhat

$202k fine reduced to $40k … but there’s a catch. Three years ago – doesn’t the time just fly? – we told you about Towerstream, a wireless Internet service provider (WISP) whose transmitters had caused interference to airport weather radars. The FCC proposed a fine of $202,000, apparently in keeping with its rumored policy of … Continue Reading

Update: Effective Date Set for Recent Revisions to Citizens Broadband Service Rules

For some time now we’ve been following the FCC’s efforts to establish the Citizens Broadband Service in the 3550-3650 MHz band. Most recently, back in May, the Commission disposed of several petitions for reconsideration of its April 2015 Report and Order. (We reported on those petitions last September.) In so doing, the Commission put the … Continue Reading

Last (?) Regulatory Hurdle to Experimental Licenses Now Overcome

But no, the licenses aren’t yet available. The FCC’s roll-out of its three new types of experimental licenses – “program licenses” for large-scale innovators, “medical testing licenses” for clinical trials, and “compliance testing licenses” for compliance test labs – has been frustratingly slow. The original order authorizing these categories came out early in 2013, followed … Continue Reading

10+ GHz for 5G: FCC Expands Spectrum Frontiers for Fifth Generation Connectivity

U.S. aims to get ahead of the rest of the world in advanced wireless technology. As we’ve reported, the FCC has been hard at work on the regulatory regime for future wireless “5G” technologies, which promise blindingly fast data speeds. Would-be 5G wireless providers and device manufacturers particularly want wide swaths of millimeter wave (mmWave) … Continue Reading

FCC Forfeiture Limits Increased Across the Board

Keeping up with the cost-of-living … If you happened to feel a vague, somewhat disturbing, shudder recently, don’t worry: it was just the upper limit of potential FCC fines being raised across the board. By Order effective July 1, 2016 (or maybe August 1 – we’ll get to that), the Commission followed up on a … Continue Reading

FCC Un-Restricts Restricted Bands for More Experimental Licenses

Sensitive frequencies now available to companies developing medical devices. A small fraction of frequency bands need extraordinary protection from radio interference. Some, like those used for radio astronomy, depend on extremely sensitive receivers. Others carry signals essential to safety, like search-and rescue bands and GPS, which helps to land airplanes as well as to find … Continue Reading

Revised FCC Procedures for Accrediting Overseas Test Labs Take Effect July 29

Same action grants extra time for recognizing non-accredited labs. Of course you remember our recent post about the FCC’s change to its procedures for accrediting overseas test labs, and its grant of extra time for recognizing non-accredited labs. And of course you’ve been on tenterhooks (whatever they are) waiting for these changes to take effect. … Continue Reading

More Time, More Guidance for Test Lab Accrediting Bodies Seeking FCC Recognition

Action paves way for continued equipment approvals in China, elsewhere As we’ve reported, about 18 months ago the Commission issued new rules modifying its equipment authorization procedures. Those procedures, of course, have long relied in large measure on independent labs that test devices and certify their compliance with FCC standards. In a key change, in … Continue Reading

Update: Effective Date Set for More of the New Rules Governing Wireless Mics, White Space Devices

Effective date of a Wireless Medical Telemetry Service rule is still pending. Last August we reported on a number of changes in the rules governing wireless mics and white space devices, and last November we reported that the effective date of some, but not all, of those rule changes had been set. The rules not … Continue Reading

Having Re-Thought its 5.8 GHz Wi-Fi Technical Rules, FCC Has to Think Again

In petitions for reconsideration, wireless Internet service providers and car manufacturers go head to head over out-of-band emissions limits. This was supposed to be a simple rule fix. Why are we still talking about it? An unlicensed band at 5.8 GHz is heavily used for Wi-Fi, among other things. It is a particular favorite of … Continue Reading

DSRC vs. Wi-Fi – Let the Games Begin!

This summer, many competition-hungry spectators will flock to Rio for the Olympics. But others may prefer to stay home and watch a different competition unfold: the Spectrum Olympics, pitting Dedicated Short Range Communications (DSRC) against Wi-Fi. The prize? Determining how best to share the 5.850-5.925 GHz band (also referred to as the “U-NII-4 band”). Two … Continue Reading

Stakeholders Reach Consensus on “Best Practices” for Commercial UAS

Year-long multistakeholder process convened by NTIA produces voluntary standards for protecting privacy in drone use. As we reported last year, at the request of the President, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has been overseeing a multistakeholder process looking toward the development of a set of “best practices” for the commercial and private use … Continue Reading
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