Independent RF Testing of Smart Phones Reveals Potential Noncompliance with FCC Requirements

Independent testing of several popular smart phone models shows varying results regarding their compliance with the radio frequency (RF) requirements of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC), including instances of potential noncompliance with established FCC emissions limits.

Funded by the Chicago Tribune news organization and conducted by RF Exposure Lab in San Marco, CA, the testing of samples of the Apple iPhone 7, the Samsung Galaxy S8 and several other smart phone models revealed significant discrepancies between the actual testing results and manufacturers claims regarding the RF emissions limits generated by their devices. The testing results were shared with FCC officials, who have reportedly said that they would conduct their own testing of the devices over the next few months.

Current FCC regulations permit the testing of mobile phone for RF emissions at distances of up to 25 millimeters (about 1 inch) from the body. Many manufacturers actually test their phones at shorter distances to better simulate real world use. In addition, many devices are equipped with proximity sensors, which are intended to reduce the power generated by the phone when touching a person, thereby reducing the RF threat.

However, the testing conducted for the Tribune revealed discrepancies in manufacturers’ stated emissions limits, as well as proximity sensors that failed to reduce power output.

Device manufacturers contacted by the Tribune following its testing generally reasserted that their devices meet all applicable FCC requirements, with some claiming that the testing performed by RF Exposure Lab was inconsistent with that prescribed by the FCC or with their own more rigorous testing setups.

Read the Chicago Tribune’s report of its radiofrequency testing of mobile phones.

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