Standards and Certifications
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- What does the term "certification" refer to
when used in reference to PC products?
- What is FCC certification?
- What is DoC?
- What is the UL Mark?
- What is CE certification?
- What are Safety Regulations MPR II and TCO?
- What is the CSA certification?
- What are the ISO standards referred to by PC
- What is ISO 9000?
- What is ISO 9001?
- What is ISO 9002?
- What is ISO 9003?
- What is ISO 9004?
- What does the Designed for Windows NT and
Windows 95 Logo mean?
- What is PC 97?
- Explain operating system certifications.
What does the term "certification" refer to when used in
reference to PC products?
The term "certification", when used to describe PC hardware refers to a
system or component’s ability to meet a formal set of safety or performance
standards. Standards for safe operation are maintained by governmental and
private organizations that are recognized as authorities in the area of product
safety; for instance, the FCC is a government organization that tests, or rates,
devices for radiation emissions, and the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) is a
private, non-profit organization that is recognized as an authority in product
safety. Both of these organizations offer product testing that leads to formal
certifications, which the market, business and consumer, view as an indication
of the product’s safety.
Performance standards are typically maintained by operating system makers,
and refer to a hardware device’s ability to run their operating system at a
reasonable level of performance. For instance, Microsoft® certifies PC systems
as Windows® NT compatible if the system passes a series of tests specified by
Manufacturers use the certification process to assure customers of the
quality of their product. After a product has passed the certification tests of
a particular standards authority, the manufacturer is allowed to label it with a
distinguishing mark as proof the product was tested and rated by the standards
authority. For instance, when a product has received UL certification, it can
carry the UL Mark, which is a symbol consumer’s look for when determining the
quality of a product. In the case of operating system certifications, the
software companies authorize makers of compatible hardware to label the hardware
with special logos that indicate the hardware is certified to run with their
operating systems. Consumers rely heavily on certifications to determine the
quality of products, and, therefore, PC hardware manufacturers are willing to
invest millions of dollars in the process of having their products certified by
the world’s major product safety authorities and operating system companies.
What is FCC certification?
FCC is the abbreviation for the Federal Communications Commission. The FCC is
responsible for rating personal computers and other equipment as either Class A
or Class B. The ratings indicate how much radiation a personal computer emits:
this rating process is often referred to as "certification." Almost all personal
computers satisfy Class A requirements, which means they are suitable for office
use. Class B machines, which are suitable for anywhere, including the home, must
pass more stringent tests. Class B indicates that the machine’s radio frequency
(RF) emissions are so low that they do not interfere with other devices such as
radios and TVs.
The FCC should rate computer components and systems before they are released
for sale. The rating process is usually the responsibility of the manufacturer.
For instance, before AOpen releases a new PC system for sale, the entire system
is submitted to the FCC for rating. FCC rating (Class A or Class B) should be
listed on the specification sheet or box of each product a manufacturer sells.
Many customers, especially large corporate customers, will only accept FCC rated
What is DoC?
The Federal Communications Commission had adopted new rules to relax the
equipment authorization requirements for personal computers and personal
computer peripherals from FCC certification to new self-authorization process
based on a manufacturer’s or supplier’s Declaration of Conformity with FCC
standards for limiting radio frequency (RF) emissions. The new rules permit
manufacturers and suppliers of personal computers and personal computer
peripherals to put a product on the market after testing it to ensure compliance
and including a "Declaration of Conformity" (DoC) in the literature furnished
with the equipment without having to submit an application for equipment
authorization and await FCC approval.
What is the UL Mark?
UL is the abbreviation for Underwriters Laboratories, which is the leading
third-party certification organization in the United States and the largest in
North America. As a not for profit product safety organization, UL has been
evaluating products in the interest of public safety since 1894. Manufacturers
of PC equipment submit their products to UL for testing against UL safety
standards. When a product meets the standards for safe operation set by UL, the
product is rated as UL Listed, meaning it is one of the products listed as
meeting UL’s standards. UL allows manufacturers whose products are UL Listed to
label their products with the UL Mark, which is a distinctive mark that
identifies the product bearing it as one that has meet UL’s rigorous standards
for safe operation.
To determine if a product has been certified by UL, check for the UL Mark on
the product itself, not the packaging or store display. Only products that have
been evaluated by UL and found to meet their safety standards are eligible to
carry the UL Mark.
What is CE certification?
CE certification refers to a product’s eligibility to be sold in the EU,
which is short for European Union. The trading region defined by the EU is
called the European Economic Area (EEA). If a PC manufacturer wants to sell
their products to any of the countries in the European Economic Area they must
obtain CE certification: this law has been in effect since January 1996. CE
certified products are identified by the CE Mark. A product bearing the CE Mark
has been tested to all of the relevant standards that the EU demands. The
purpose of CE certification is to form one body of product safety regulations
that can be used to protect all the citizens living and working within the EEA.
This harmonization of regulations allows manufacturers to sell products to all
of the countries in the EEA with the only limitation being the requirement that
each product carry the CE Mark.
What are Safety Regulations MPR II and TCO?
MPR II is the standard originally proposed by the Swedish Department of
Labor, which set maximum levels of electromagnetic radiation emitted by
monitors, and which has now been adopted as a world standard. MPR II defines
maximum permitted electrostatic, magnetic and electric field levels measured at
a distance of 50cm from the center of the monitor.
The Swedish Tjanstemannens Central Organizations set TCO in 1991. This
standard is even more severe than MPR II, especially for alternating electric
field (AEF). The TCO standard is double severe since not only are the permitted
field levels reduced compared with MPR II, but so too is the measuring distance.
What is CSA certification?
CSA is the abbreviation for the Canadian Standards Association, which is
Canada’s largest standards development and certification organization. CSA was
established in 1919 and is an independent, non-government, not for profit
association with headquarters in Toronto. CSA standards are developed and
written by volunteer committees representing a combination of government,
industry, academia, special interest groups, consumer groups and the public.
CSA certification indicates a product has been evaluated under the CSA’s
formal system and that it complies with applicable standards. Products are
labeled as CSA certified with the CSA Mark: only products that have been
certified by the CSA are allowed to carry the mark.
What are the ISO standards referred to by PC manufacturers?
ISO is short for International Standards Organization. Founded in 1946, ISO
is an international organization composed of national standards bodies from over
75 countries. For example, ANSI (American National Standards Institute) is a
member of ISO. ISO has defined a number of important computer standards, the
most significant of which is perhaps OSI (Open Systems Interconnection), a
standardized architecture for designing networks. The ISO also developed
standards for ensuring the quality of manufactured goods; computer manufacturers
as indications of the quality of their products often cite compliance with these
standards. These standards are quality models, which can be used by customers to
evaluate the capability of a supplier to consistently deliver quality products
and services. The ISO standards most often cited by computer manufacturers as
indications of the quality of the processes are listed below.
What is ISO 9000?
This term is used to represent the ISO family of standards. ISO 9000 provides
guidelines and documents describing the process and the various ISO standards.
What is ISO 9001?
ISO 9001 is the most comprehensive level of certification. Companies that are
ISO 9001 certified develop, manufacture, install, and service their products to
What is ISO 9002?
This is a subset of the ISO 9001 standard. This standard defines
manufacturing quality standards but does not define engineering standards.
What is ISO 9003?
This is the quality system model for final inspection and testing of
products. A company that functions solely as an inspector of products would
apply for this standard.
What is ISO 9004?
This only provides guidelines and documents on the standard level you should
What does the Designed for Windows® NT and Windows® 95 Logo
For hardware, it means that a system or peripheral has been tested for
compatibility with the Microsoft Windows® family of operating systems – Windows®
NT and/or Windows® 95.
What is PC 97?
PC 97 Hardware Design Guide is a Microsoft® document that provides the
design guidelines for PC systems that are optimized to run Windows® 95 and
Windows® NT 4.0 and future versions of these operating systems.
Explain operating system certifications.
Novell® and Microsoft® both sponsor a testing system for certifying hardware
products compatible with their operating systems. The certification process
usually involves Hardware Compatibility Tests (HCT) run on a specified
configuration of hardware. HCT is a set of programs that generated a series of
reports after they are run, and it is fairly simple to determine whether
hardware has passed the tests. To minimize the effect of system configuration
issues, the configuration of hardware used to run the tests is also certified.
Since so many factors must be controlled during the testing process to ensure
the integrity of the results, both Microsoft® and Novell® require the
certification tests to be performed by certified testing lab. Normally, a
manufacturer first runs the HCT test on their own and then, when they are
confident their product will pass the tests, sends the products to a qualified
Microsoft® offers certification for Windows® 95 and Windows® NT. For
Microsoft’s® and Novell’s® network operating systems, certification is divided
into two categories: server applications and workstation applications.