An essential guide to M2M device certification

RacoWireless

From a Raco Wireless Whitepaper – So you have the next innovative, connected device that’s going to give sliced bread a run for its money as the greatest thing ever. You’ve partnered with a great M2M enabler who has set you up with state-of-the-art connectivity and management tools, and your potential customers are now lining up around the block. All that stands between you and world domination is a little thing known as device certification. Don’t be intimidated, we’ll walk you through the basics and have you taking over the M2M world in no time.

What is device certification?

Glad you asked. Device certification is the process through which a wireless device receives approval for market release, network connection and commercial utilization. Prior to initial deployment, all wireless devices must undergo extensive trial testing and review programs through a regulatory or network organization. The certification demonstrates, through a series of tests, that a device operates safely and properly when connected to a wireless network.

Device certification is typically a mandatory requirement for any new module or device, as well as for modifications to an already approved device and is a requirement for bringing new devices onto existing carrier networks. If a device is not certified, it may be blocked from a network.

Why is it required?

In a rapidly evolving industry that lacks uniform standards, certification is critical to ensure compatibility and performance of devices in order to build more universal and integrated M2M systems.

The primary goal of device certification is to identify and repair issues related to quality of service and interoperability before commercial deployment. Networks are able to ensure that a device works as designed and will not cause service disruption due to rogue data consumption, interference, or other factors that could potentially jeopardize a network’s infrastructure. Also, they can verify that devices operate seamlessly across different networks to ensure global interoperability.

Certification benefits device manufacturers, as well as M2M operators and retailers because it provides a mechanism to mitigate operational issues before a device is commercially deployed. They are able to reduce costs of in-field service issues, minimize service disruption and maximize performance.

Who requires what?

There are essentially three layers of certification that are required to get a connected device to market. First, the device must receive regulatory approval from the FCC to make sure it will not conflict with other networks or emit dangerous signals. This first step has become less onerous because many pre-approved devices are available from manufacturers.

Second, a device must receive approval from an industry association – typically GCF. (Global Certification Forum) or PTCRB (PCS Type Certification Review Board) – to ensure the device will not harm the network. The GCF is an independent certification scheme for mobile phones and wireless device based out of Europe, and PTCRB is its North American equivalent.

Third, each mobile network operator may have their own set of requirements that an M2M device must meet that are specific to their respective networks. These standards will vary from network to network depending on unique operator network configuration. We recommend that you contact your MNO to obtain any operator-specific requirements.

PTCRB Certification

The PTCRB is a forum comprised of North American network operators that serves to certify devices for a certain set of networks and bands. Solution providers can be denied service for devices that do not comply with proper certification. PTCRB has empowered CTIA (Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association) to act as the administrator for PTCRB certification, and has a number of accredited testing organizations around the country.

What is required to get PTCRB certification?

The process for approving a device through PTCRB is as follows:

  1. M2M developer sets up an account on the PTCRB website and sends an email to certification@ctia.org requesting access to the PTCRB certification database
  2. Create the PTCRB test request on the PTCRB website including basic information about the device, and select an accredited testing organization and schedule a test
  3. PTCRB notifies the selected test lab to gather device samples and initiate testing
  4. Completed test results are uploaded to PTCRB database
  5. CTIA reviews the results and notifies the developer of the decision

The certification process can take about 2-3 weeks, and the cost ranges from $15-50K, depending on the complexity of the device.

How and where can I get help?

There are many experts in the M2M world that specialize in device certification. Like any other critical piece of your business, trust those that have proven experience to help you through.

Helpful Websites:
FCC: http://transition.fcc.gov/oet/ea/procedures.html
GCF:http://www.globalcertificationforum.org/
PTCRB: http://www.ptcrb.com/
PTCRB Approved Devices: http://www.ptcrb.com/vendor/complete/complete_request.cfm?tab=Certified
CTIA: http://www.ctia.org/policy-initiatives/wireless-device-certification
Global CCF: http://globalccf.org/ccf-mobile-m2m-certification

Accredited PTCRB Testing Sites:
CETECOM – http://www.cetecom.de
7Layers – http://www.7layers.com
AT4 Wireless – http://www.at4wireless.com
Bureau Veritas ADT – http://www.adt.com.tw
RFI Global – http://www.r-global.com
GS Wireless – http://www.sgs.com

Device certification should be a key piece of your project roadmap. If you could use a little advice on some steps to consider, please reach out to us at contact@racowireless.com.

Download White Paper here

 

RECENT ARTICLES

Eseye launches infinity IoT platform to solve enterprise IoT challenges

Posted on: May 20, 2022

Guildford, UK. 20 May 2022 – Eseye, an IoT connectivity solutions, announced the launch of its ‘mission control’ IoT connectivity platform, Infinity. The Eseye Infinity IoT Platform delivers a single, customisable and scalable network for both today’s and tomorrow’s global IoT deployments.

Read more

TD SYNNEX expands solution offering with Google Cloud

Posted on: May 20, 2022

19 May 2022 – TD SYNNEX announced the expansion of its cloud solution portfolio with the addition of Google Cloud offerings. Available immediately to partners, Google Cloud provides users with a suite of cloud computing services businesses can use to enhance productivity and workflow.

Read more
FEATURED IoT STORIES

9 IoT applications that will change everything

Posted on: September 1, 2021

Whether you are a future-minded CEO, tech-driven CEO or IT leader, you’ve come across the term IoT before. It’s often used alongside superlatives regarding how it will revolutionize the way you work, play, and live. But is it just another buzzword, or is it the as-promised technological holy grail? The truth is that Internet of

Read more

Which IoT Platform 2021? IoT Now Enterprise Buyers’ Guide

Posted on: August 30, 2021

There are several different parts in a complete IoT solution, all of which must work together to get the result needed, write IoT Now Enterprise Buyers’ Guide – Which IoT Platform 2021? authors Robin Duke-Woolley, the CEO and Bill Ingle, a senior analyst, at Beecham Research. Figure 1 shows these parts and, although not all

Read more

CAT-M1 vs NB-IoT – examining the real differences

Posted on: June 21, 2021

As industry players look to provide the next generation of IoT connectivity, two different standards have emerged under release 13 of 3GPP – CAT-M1 and NB-IoT.

Read more

IoT and home automation: What does the future hold?

Posted on: June 10, 2020

Once a dream, home automation using iot is slowly but steadily becoming a part of daily lives around the world. In fact, it is believed that the global market for smart home automation will reach $40 billion by 2020.

Read more

5 challenges still facing the Internet of Things

Posted on: June 3, 2020

The Internet of Things (IoT) has quickly become a huge part of how people live, communicate and do business. All around the world, web-enabled devices are turning our world into a more switched-on place to live.

Read more

What is IoT?

Posted on: July 7, 2019

What is IoT Data as a new oil IoT connectivity What is IoT video So what’s IoT? The phrase ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) is officially everywhere. It constantly shows up in my Google news feed, the weekend tech supplements are waxing lyrical about it and the volume of marketing emails I receive advertising ‘smart, connected

Read more