Products with wireless functions are becoming more and more common due to the integration of wireless modules like Bluetooth, WiFi, and Zigbee, among others. Entering the Chinese market with a wireless product requires the mandatory certification: SRRC, and an NAL certification for telecom equipment.
The SRRC is the certification body responsible for the mandatory SRRC certificate. Unlike China Compulsory Certification (CCC), there is no product category for SRRC; therefore all types of products, whether industrial or residential, must be SRRC-approved if they have radio transmitter function. In addition, SRRC is type approval, meaning each model needs to be tested and certified. (One exception to this is module approval, which allows for application as a product series.)
In order to obtain SRRC certification, manufacturers must:
Testing generally lasts one week if there are no product issues, and the review process lasts approximately four weeks. SRRC approval does not require a factory inspection, but the manufacturer must have an ISO9001 quality control system or similar procedures to ensure quality standards are met. Once testing has been completed successfully, the SRRC will issue the certificate with CMIIT ID, which must be added to the product nameplate to show compliance.
Conducted emissions will be tested during the SRRC approval process, so the manufacturer must prepare samples with conductive terminals to connect to the testing equipment. If the RF module does not function continuously during testing, the manufacturer must configure the sample to force the module to work under different modes, such as modulation mode at different frequencies with different transmission speeds, carrier wave only, etc.
Frequencies are controlled by the Chinese government, so manufacturer must design or choose the proper frequencies to use. In order to gain approval, the transmit power, bandwidth, stray radiation, and more must meet the requirements of that specific frequency. In addition, some frequencies are not open to the public, so manufacturers must ensure their frequency is appropriate before applying.
For example, take general micro power (short range) wireless RF devices. There are seven types of devices with different frequency ranges, as shown in the table below:
As of January 2, 2014, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) announced module approval for transmission modules, which can be embedded into non-radio end products (e.g. ITE, household products, etc.) as accessories or peripherals. The “module” here refers to a device, which cannot work independently unless being embedded in an end-product to transmit radio signals.
There are two types of modules under this category:
Full Module: Radio Type Approval is required for the module. The end product does not need to apply for the SRRC certificate, but it must indicate the following information on the label or in the user manual: “ This product uses SRRC approved Radio modular. CMIIT ID : XXXXYYZZZZ”
Limited module: Manufacturers can apply for SRRC approval separately, and there will be an “M” mark after the CMIIT ID number. Modular manufactures should clearly indicate the conditions of use and detailed configuration instructions in the technical manual. The following declaration must be included: “Modular approval does not mean end product can meet Radio management regulation or standard. End product manufacture is responsible for the technical compliance of standard and regulation for final use”.
End products embedded with “Limited module” should also apply for SRRC approval but only need to undergo radiated emission testing. The end-product certificate will indicate the modular approval number(s); when the end product needs to add or exchange the “Limited module,” the modular approval number in the end product certificate will be updated while the end product can still use the original approval number. In addition, multi-listing is allowed for series models using the same “limited module”.
NAL certification is issued by MIIT for telecom devices that aim to access the public telecom network, such as cell phones, modems, telecom communication terminals, ethernet switches, and more. If the device includes RF function, the manufacturer is required to obtain SRRC certification, as well as the NAL license.
The NAL certification scope includes a product category list for manufacturers to choose the proper type; if the product is new and does not fit within the category, the manufacturer can apply for NAL as a new product and obtain a probation certificate. This probation certificate is valid for up to one year, while normal NAL certification is valid for three years.
The NAL certification process is similar to SRRC certification. The applicant must submit an application to the MIIT certification center and send samples to an accredited test lab in China, which will release the test report to the applicant and certification center. After reviewing the report and other required documentation, if the product successfully completed testing, MIIT will issue the NAL certificate.
After receiving the NAL certificate, the manufacturer must apply for the NAL stickers to attach to the certified product. For certain products, such as wireless terminals, the applicant should submit IMEI numbers to the certification center regularly to obtain new stickers.
No factory inspection is required for NAL certification, but the factory must have the ISO9001 certificate or ISO9001 system evaluation report and the hard copy of the certificate must be submitted to the certification body for review.
Manufacturers can send samples to the test lab if the factory has an ISO9001 certificate to cover the product. If not, the certification center will send auditors to the factory to select samples. The NAL testing process includes conductive emission testing, so the manufacturer should be prepared with conductive samples.
The manufacturer will generally need to send someone to the test lab to configure the product for testing. The test board can be used if the RF module cannot be configured in the normal working condition.
General requirements for NAL certification include:
SRRC and NAL are both mandatory certifications in China. The SRRC certification is only for wireless products, while NAL is for any device that connects to a telecom network, whether wireless or non-wireless.
Here is a look at the similarities and differences between SRRC and NAL certification:
G&M Compliance has operations in the U.S. and China to ensure your wireless product utilizes the right application, the right testing process, and moves through the certification process in a timely manner. Our compliance experts understand the regulations and technical requirements necessary to minimize the risk of test failure and rejection, and we stay updated on ever-changing regulations and requirements.