TRANSMITTER MODULE EQUIPMENT AUTHORIZATION GUIDE
I. INTRODUCTION A transmitter with a modular or limited modular grant1 can be installed in different end-use products (referred to as a host, host product, or host device) by the grantee or other equipment manufacturer, then the host product may not require additional testing or equipment authorization for the transmitter function provided by that specific module or limited module device.
Modular approvals are for tangible, clearly-delineated devices that operate when installed within, or attached to, a host product in one of the following four physical configurations (i.e., modular type):
Single-modular transmitter:2 A complete RF transmission sub-assembly,3 designed to be incorporated into another device, that must demonstrate compliance with FCC rules and policies independent of any host; Limited single-modular transmitter: A single-modular transmitter that complies with the § 15.212(a)(1) modular rules, only when constrained to specific operating host(s) and/or associated grants condition(s);
Split-modular transmitter: An RF transmission system that complies with the requirements for a singlemodular transmitter, that is separated into a radio front-end section and a control-element section, and can demonstrate compliance for a range of similar type hosts;
Limited split-modular transmitter: A split-modular transmitter that complies with the definition and technical rules for split modules only when constrained to specific operating host(s), and/or associated grant condition(s).
A host product itself is required to comply with all other applicable FCC equipment authorization regulations, requirements, and equipment functions that are not associated with the transmitter module portion. For example, compliance must be demonstrated: to regulations for other transmitter components within a host product; to requirements for unintentional radiators (Part 15 Subpart B), such as digital devices, computer peripherals, radio receivers, etc.; and to additional authorization requirements for the non-transmitter functions on the transmitter module (i.e., Verification or Declaration of Conformity) as appropriate (e.g., Bluetooth and Wi-Fi transmitter modules may also contain digital logic functions).
To ensure compliance for all non-transmitter functions, a host product manufacturer is responsible for ensuring compliance with the module(s) installed and fully operational. For example, if a host product was previously authorized as an unintentional radiator under the Declaration of Conformity procedure without containing a certified transmitter module, then a module is added, the host manufacturer is responsible for ensuring that the host continues to be compliant with the Part 15 subpart B unintentional radiator requirements after the module is installed and operational. Because this may depend on the details of how the module is integrated within the host, the module grantee (the party responsible for the module grant) shall provide guidance to the host manufacturer for ensuring compliance with the Part 15 Subpart B requirements.
Single or limited-single modules, and the RF front-end section of a split or limited split-module, must be a separate physical assembly that can be installed into (or attached to) a host as a separate subassembly (e.g., daughter-board subassembly). The method used for input and output electrical connections5 to the host may be soldered, cabled, wired, or use plug-in connectors.6 A module cannot solely be the implementation of a design specification. Only the control-element section of a split-module device may comprise software, which is certified as companion code to a specific RF front-end (section).
A host product using a component that has been authorized as a module, subject to the requirements described below and the conditions of the grant, may be: (1) marketed and sold with the module built inside that does not have to be end-user accessible/replaceable, or (2) marketed with the module being end-user plug-and-play replaceable.
A modular grant is obtained by requesting certification for equipment as a modular device, or requesting a permissive change to convert an equipment certification from a non-modular to a modular device grant; the FCC Form 731 application procedures (§ 2.1033, etc.) are used in both cases. An applicant for a modular filing must indicate on the Form 731.
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