Last Post: July 1, 2018:
Does anyone have experience with the topic of a WLAN device, AP and Client functionality, under a single part number, that would be allowed in multiple countries with multiple regulatory approvals? The idea would be to have a single part number with a selection for the end user to pick what country they will be using the device in, IE, USA, Mexico, Germany etc and based on that selection the channels, transmit power etc would be restricted based on that regulatory domain. I have seen some products on the market that have this but have also been told this is not allowed (specifically in the USA with the FCC). Looking for any feedback that you may have regarding this topic.
American users blew it. Too many users changed the country code to Uruguay or Paraguay, which don't have any restrictions in Wi-Fi bands. Then these users used unauthorized channels and power levels in the U.S. interfering with important legitimate users. Finally the FCC banned any devices that could be set up violating the regulations. This forced the manufacturers to produce U.S. specific devices which the FCC would approve. There is no point in approving those devices for other markets, since there has to be sister products tailored for those markets as well. This is how we got into this mess. Now everyone (manufacturers, distributors, dealers, users) has to keep track which devices are good for what markets and stock them separately. Yes, it will drive up the prices, slow the evolution of the products, hinder global adaptation and so forth.
This has been a problem for quite some time now.
The FCC rules you're talking about, only made things worse for manufacturers (by a factor of ten), and the consumer's pocketbooks.
It is unbelievably expensive for a manufacturer in the US, to get Compliance certification for a product. Even before that particular ruling it could cost over $350k for one model of a product, and in less than two dozen countries to be certified. This is in addition to all of the other costs incurred in coming out with a new product.
What if you have five new products, three different models of each one, your company goals are to launch new products every three years, and your sales team wants to start selling in five new countries ?
Too often, your own compliance department starts making disastrous decisions, at least from a Wi-Fi performance standpoint, so that they can come within budget. Part of the problem, IMO, comes from outdated funding objectives within a company. For example instead of having compliance provide the budget for the new countries, make sales fund it - or product management. Sure, when it gets down to it the company as a whole is paying for it, but the Compliance groups budget is the one taking the hits. And because they have so much power within a company, it will be the companies products, if not reputation, that suffer.
Imagine the naivete of having ALL of your products, from ten ounce handheld units, to 70 pound monsters using the same antenna, the same ioT or Wi-Fi features, and even the same radio. One device may work perfectly fine at 1 or 2 Mbps, while another may require /ac rates. Add to this the fact that some of your devices wholesale for $500, and your bigger ones at $8k. Something is going to suffer if you have to standardize on one inexpensive radio or one antenna, or one silly connector.
Another complication, is that some Asian and South American countries have learned that they can make money, by requiring their own compliance testing labs be used, even if they only are meeting some other bodies standards exactly.
Thanks everyone for the input. That was what I was looking to find out!