MulteFire Alliance Certification Program Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Below are frequently asked questions regarding the MulteFire 1.9 GHz Certification Program.

Q: What is an MFA Authorized Test Lab?

MFA Authorized Test Labs (ATLs) are labs that have been approved by the MulteFire Alliance to perform certification testing. Only test results from an ATL are used by the certification program to grant certification to a device. ATLs can be approved to perform tests for one or more types of MFA certification.

 

 

 

 

Q: How Does a Lab Become an ATL?

A lab becomes at ATL by being an MFA Test Lab member in good standing and formally applying with the MulteFire Alliance to become an ATL. The MulteFire Alliance’s Certification Authority audits the lab to make sure that they have relevant experience in certification testing and have the appropriate quality systems in place. ATLs are approved for specific kinds of testing – for example, some labs may be approved for just testing UEs, while others may only perform interoperability (IOP) testing.

 

Q: Who is the Certification Authority?

The Certification Authority (CA) is an independent, unbiased and impartial referee that administers the processes and procedures of the Alliance’s certification program. They work for the MulteFire Alliance, and not for any member company, nor any lab. The CA can be reached by filling out the contact form here.

Q: Who Can Get a Device MFA Certified?

Certification is open to all MulteFire Alliance members that are in good standing.

Q: What Do I Have to Do to Maintain Certification?

The company that obtained certification is responsible for storing the records associated with the certification (test reports, etc.) for a defined period. The company also needs to notify the certification program of any changes to the device that might impact performance. The Certification Authority may require some tests to be repeated to ensure that the device is still functioning. We call this the Engineering Change Order (ECO) Process.

Q: What is the ECO Process?

The Engineering Change Order (ECO) Process is how device makers notify the certification program about changes to a certified device. The device maker provides information about the changes to the device to the Certification Authority. The CA then determines what (if any) tests need to be re-run to confirm that the device is still compliant with the MulteFire Alliance’s certification program requirements. The device maker runs those tests (at an ATL, if needed), and the CA reviews the results. If everything is approved, certification is maintained for the device.

Q: How Do I Certify Variants of an Already Certified Device?

If you have multiple versions of a certified device (e.g. aimed at different markets or regions), you do not have to certify each version. You can certify a “root” device, and then use the ECO process to extend that certification to each of the variants.

Q: Do You Certify Components?

No. We do not certify components of devices (chips, antennas, etc.) – we only certify end-product devices. This is because some of the internal interfaces are not well defined, so we don’t have a consistent way to test the components. However, we do allow for re-use of test results in new devices: If a new device seeking certification uses a component from a previously certified device, the test results from the original device can be applied to the new device. The Certification Authority is responsible for determining which results can be re-used.

Q: What Kinds of Tests Do the ATLs Perform?

Broadly speaking, the ATLs have two kinds of tests that they perform on devices – conformance testing and interoperability testing. Conformance testing is done in a lab environment using specialized test equipment to perform RF parametric and protocol testing. Interoperability testing involves testing that the device works with reference implementations in tests that represent typical use cases for those devices.

Q: What Devices Will My Device Be Tested Against in Interoperability Testing?

The Certification Program maintains a list of devices for use in interoperability testing, called the Interoperability Device List (IDL). These are “known good” implementations that are commercially available. Your device is required to pass the interoperability tests when tested against at least three devices from the IDL. The IDL changes over time, with devices being added and removed as they enter and leave the market.

Q: Doesn’t GCF LTE Testing Cover This?

MulteFire uses the 3GPP LTE specifications to define many aspects of operation, but makes changes to “standard” LTE as needed to enable MulteFire operation. We rely on the existing conformance tests from 3GPP to test core LTE functionality, and we focus our testing on where MulteFire differs from LTE.

Q: What Are the Benefits of Certification?

The primary benefit of getting your devices certified is to reduce the risk of field interoperability failures. Certification testing helps find any potential problems before the device ends up in the hands of end users. You also get to use the MulteFire Certified logo and certification mark on the device, packaging and marketing materials, indicating to end users that your product has successfully passed certification testing. You can also have your device listed on our Certified Product List on the MulteFire Alliance website.

Q: Do I Have to List My Device on the Certified Product Page?

No – you do not have to list your device on the certified product page. You can request to not be listed, to the general public and/or to the members. You can also wait to have your device listed until some later date, typically coinciding when the product is publicly announced.

Q: Where Can I Find Out More Information About the Certification Program?

The first place to look is the Program Management Document (PMD). It defines the policies and procedures used by the Certification Program. You can also ask the CA – it’s their job to answer your questions.

Q: What is the PMD?

The Program Management Document (PMD) is the primary document that describes the processes, roles and policies of the MulteFire Alliance’s Certification Program. It is published to the membership and is updated periodically as the program evolves.

Q: How Do I Get My Device Certified?

The process is straightforward:

  • Be a member of the MulteFire Alliance in good standing.
  • Fill out an Application for Certification form.
  • Fill out an ICS for your device.
  • Sign the Certification Program Participation and Trademark License agreement.
  • Send both documents to the CA for review.
  • Contact an ATL and arrange for testing of your device.
  • Provide the report to CA.
  • Pay the listing fee to MulteFire Alliance (if applicable).
Q: How Do I Perform the ECO Process?

The ECO process is pretty much the same as getting a device certified in the first place – the only difference being the agreements are already signed.

  • Be a member of the MulteFire Alliance in good standing.
  • Fill out the ECO form, describing the changes to your device.
  • Update the ICS for your device.
  • Send both documents to the CA for review.
  • CA decides which tests need to be run.
  • Contact an ATL and arrange for testing of your device.
  • Provide the report to CA.
  • Pay the ECO fee to MulteFire Alliance.
Q: How Do I Become an ATL?

The requirements for becoming an ATL are straightforward:

  • Be a Test Lab member of the MulteFire Alliance in good standing.
  • Get the equipment needed to perform the tests.
  • Add MFA testing to the scope of your lab’s International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) accreditation.
  • Fill out the form to apply to become an ATL.
  • Submit your lab for review by the MulteFire Alliance CA to ensure that you are able to perform the tests.
  • Sign the ATL agreement.
Q: Can I Run Tests Outside of Certification?

Yes – you are encouraged to run tests whenever you like. Ideally, you can acquire test systems and the IDL devices so you can perform the tests yourself. Or you can go to an ATL, or any other test lab for that matter, and have them run tests independent from the certification program.

Q: Who Do I Ask If I Have More Questions?

Ask the CA! Fill out this form, and we’ll get back to you in a few days: Certification Authority Contact