FCC Question
April 7, 2004 7:00 PM   Subscribe

So, I'm looking at the back of my wireless card, and I have an FCC rules question. [more inside]

On the back of my wireless-B network card, it says that it complies fully with part 15 of the FCC rules; specifically, "this device may not cause harmful interference" (makes sense) and "this device must accept any interference that may cause undesired operation" (doesn't make so much sense.) I'm wondering what the purpose of the second bit is.
posted by Yelling At Nothing to Law & Government (5 answers total)
I'd love to hear the explanation, too. And forget the wireless card, that kind of stuff is written on the back of my CD player. What gives?
posted by rafter at 7:17 PM on April 7, 2004

As I understand it, the second clause means that if something else is putting out any interference that screws up your device, you can't force the owner of the other device to stop emitting that interference. On the other hand, if your device emits interference, someone else could force you to stop using it, because of the first clause. (YMMV -- I am not an electromagnetic interference lawyer.)
posted by Zonker at 7:33 PM on April 7, 2004

It's a cheaper licensing and manufacturing thing. It's cheaper to make because it has very little to no RF shielding and it's cheaper to certify because the device has to accept any and all interference. They just gotta make sure it's not dumping out crap.

Here's an example. I'm using my ham radio and you're watching TV. If I transmit and your TV gets messed up I don't have to stop because your TV is a part 15 device. It must accept my interference. You can ask me to help you find a solution to the problem but anything beyond that is your problem. Thank the manufacturers for not putting adequate shielding into their devices. If your TV is dumping out garbage on the ham frequencies I can contact the FCC and they can send you a friendly note or come have a chat about your TV because it's a part 15 device and it may not interfere with any other service such as amateur radio.
posted by @homer at 7:45 PM on April 7, 2004

homer's got it. Part 15 devices have to suck it in if some other device is interfering. You can't come crying to the FCC that the neighbor's microwave is hosing your wireless LAN.
posted by majick at 7:57 PM on April 7, 2004

Or more likely don't come crying to the FCC if your local military base is hosing your wireless LAN.
posted by falconred at 1:02 AM on April 8, 2004

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