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What Are the Requirements for Certifying RFID Equipment?

Posted By RFID Journal, 07.24.2013

Does every nation have its own regulations?

—Name withheld


The requirements differ by country. Each nation has a government agency that oversees telecommunications and the use of the electromagnetic (EM) spectrum. Typically, laws are passed that either establish how the EM spectrum can be used, or provide the agency with the authority to manage it. In the United States, this is handled by the Federal Communications Commission, while in Canada, it is the Canadian National Organization for the International Telecommunication Union that has such authority (the International Telecommunication Union is an international organization made up of member countries to govern the radio spectrum on a global level).

Members of the European Union (EU) have joined together to create the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), which proposes regulations for the entire EU. However, the regulations created by ETSI must be ratified by each individual member before those rules become law.

In regard to radio frequency identification, the FCC, ETSI and other bodies regulate which portion of the radio spectrum can be used by an RFID reader within a given country. In the United States, passive ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) readers must operate in the 902 MHz to 928 MHz range, while in the EU, they must stay between 865.6 MHz and 867.6 MHz. The regulations also restrict a reader's power output, in order to prevent it from interfering with other RF devices. Regulations might limit the reader's duty cycle—that is, the amount of time it can broadcast a signal. Some countries might, for example, require that an interrogator broadcast only 50 percent of the time.

As such, you would need to find out what the regulations are in the specific countries in which you plan to sell readers. You would then need to make sure the devices comply with those rules. Usually, the readers must be certified as compliant by the government agency in question.

—Mark Roberti, Founder and Editor, RFID Journal

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