Q: What is type approval and why is it needed?

Type approval is a confirmation that a piece of radio equipment brought to market has been tested and found to conform to published performance specification levels. In Europe, the European Telecommunications Standard Institute (ETSI) sets transmitter and receiver parameter limits that a new piece of equipment must meet before it can be marketed. In North America, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has the same function. In Australia, the Australian Communications and Media Authority issue type approvals for radio equipment to be used there.

It is primarily transmitter circuitry that has to meet set performance levels although some receiver types also have defined performance levels. A poorly designed transmitter design has the potential to cause wide-spread disruption to many users and with the type approval process, any poor designs are prevented from reaching market.

An example type approval number is ETS 300-113. This is a performance level associated with industrial grade radio modems with complex waveforms comprising phase and amplitude components. E.g. the Wood & Douglas ORION radio data modem:


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