Apple seeks permission to conduct RF tests in Cupertino, California

Apple campus
Apple Park, the company’s 175-acre campus, opened last year. (Apple)

Apple is asking the FCC for permission to conduct experimental RF tests at its Infinite Loop and Apple Park locations in Cupertino, California.

While the applications don’t go into detail on just what Apple plans to do, the company said all the experiments will be at facilities that are under Apple’s exclusive control, so interference shouldn’t be an issue.

Apple noted (PDF) that it has substantial experience managing the use of radio frequency spectrum and has received more than 500 certifications for radio frequency equipment.

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“Apple devices access spectrum in numerous licensed and unlicensed frequency bands. For example, iPhones use spectrum ranging from 13 megahertz (contactless payments via Apple Pay) to 5 gigahertz (802.11ac Wi-Fi with MIMO) and support more than 18 different LTE bands,” the application states.

According to a tweet by wireless engineering consultant Steven Crowley, the application is tied to a program the FCC adopted last year that allows parties to use a new FCC license notification system and proceed with proposed experiments if no objections are received. This type of experimental license is designed to allow greater flexibility for parties—including universities, research labs, health care facilities and manufacturers of radio frequency equipment—to develop new technologies and services while protecting incumbent services against harmful interference.  

RELATED: Apple to test millimeter wave spectrum to prepare for 5G

Last year, citing the FCC’s Spectrum Frontiers Report and Order, Apple applied for and was granted (PDF) permission to conduct 28 and 39 GHz band tests in Apple-controlled facilities in Cupertino and Milpitas, California.

The company said those tests would help it assess cellular link performance in direct path and multipath environments between base station transmitters and receivers and contribute to 5G networks. Manufacturers supplying equipment for the tests included Rohde & Schwarz, A.H. Systems and Analog Devices.

The grant for those experiments expires on Aug. 1, 2018.