Radiocomms licensing

Class licences

LIPD class licence

The Radiocommunications (Low Interference Potential Devices) Class Licence 2015 (the LIPD Class Licence) replaces the Radiocommunications (Low Interference Potential Devices) Class Licence 2000. The LIPD Class Licence was published in the Commonwealth Gazette on 9 September 2015, registered on the Federal Register of Legislative Instruments on 15 September 2015 and came into effect on 16 September 2015.  

The LIPD Class Licence incorporates all items in the licence it replaces and incorporates a number of new items and variations to existing items expanding coverage see IFC 60/2014 for further information about the changes. This page describes the licence, the devices it covers, and how it operates.

More information

Class licences

Class licences authorise the use of many radiocommunications devices within the conditions of the licence as well as the provisions of the Radiocommunications Act 1992 (the Act).

Under a class licence, all users share the same spectrum segment and are subject to the same conditions. A class licence governs equipment standards and the frequencies that may be used, and can specify other technical and operational parameters. You do not need to apply for a class licence and no licence fees are payable.

The Low interference potential devices (LIPD) class licence

The LIPD class licence authorises you to operate a wide range of low power radiocommunications devices in various segments of the radiofrequency spectrum. The class licence sets out the conditions under which many types of short-range devices may operate. These conditions always cover frequency bands of operation and radiated power limits. Other conditions are applied as necessary.

Examples of equipment covered by the LIPD class licence include garage door openers, home detention monitoring equipment, spread spectrum devices (see below) and personal alarms. These devices do not require individual frequency coordination for interference management.

However radio controlled models, are authorized under the Radiocommunications (Radio-controlled Models) Class Licence 2015.

Spread spectrum devices

Short-range spread spectrum devices are used in applications such as barcode readers, point-of-sale networks, wireless or radio local area networks (RLANs) and wireless private automatic branch exchanges (PABXs).

Spread spectrum devices employ direct sequence or frequency hopping spread spectrum (FHSS) modulation techniques to transmit information. Digital modulation devices may employ modulation techniques such as orthogonal frequency division multiplexing (OFDM) or direct sequence spread spectrum but do not include FHSS modulation techniques

In August 2005, the LIPD class licence was varied to authorise users to operate frequency hopping spread spectrum devices. Operation of these devices was previously authorised by the Radiocommunications (Spread Spectrum Devices) Class Licence 2002 (the Spread Spectrum class licence). As a consequence of the variation, the Spread Spectrum class licence was made redundant and was revoked.

The short range spread spectrum fact sheet has more information about frequencies and required standards for these devices.

Ultra-wideband short-range vehicle radar

The LIPD class licence was varied in July 2006 to authorise ultra-wideband short-range radar (UWB SRR).

UWB SRR uses very wide bandwidth, low radiated power radar transceivers mounted behind vehicle bumpers together with signal processing equipment inside the vehicle to allow the detection, location and tracking of movement of persons or objects up to 30m from the vehicle. UWB SRR is capable of precise object detection that can enable features such as:

  1. near collision avoidance (including Blind Spot Detection and Parking Assistance)

  2. improved airbag activation

  3. suspension systems that are more responsive to road conditions.

These features are expected to eventually become standard in many vehicles.

Ultra-wideband indoor and mobile

The LIPD Class Licence (16 September 2015) includes arrangements supporting the use of UWB devices in the bands 3.4-4.8 GHz and 6.0-8.5 GHz indoors or as mobile outdoor devices. Such devices include radiofrequency identification tags and high speed short range wireless links used between cameras and video monitors and computers.

Infrared devices

Infrared Devices transmit infrared energy for radiocommunications purposes over short ranges. The two common sources of this energy are infrared lasers and infrared light emitting diodes (LEDs).

The LIPD class licence was varied in December 2007 to authorise the use of infrared devices. These devices were previously authorised by the Radiocommunications (Infrared Devices) Class Licence 2002 (the Infrared Devices class licence). As a consequence of the variation, the Infrared Devices class licence was revoked.

The LIPD class licence provides for the operation of infrared devices in the band 187.5 to 420 terahertz, with a maximum output power of up to 125 milliwatts.

Video sender transmitters

Video sender transmitters are used to transmit signals from video appliances such as video cassette recorders to nearby television receivers.

The LIPD Class Licence was varied in December 2008 to authorize the use of video sender transmitters. These devices were previously authorized by the Radiocommunications Miscellaneous Devices Class Licence 1999 (the Miscellaneous Devices class licence). As a consequence of the variation, the Miscellaneous Devices class licence was revoked.

DAB in-store repeaters

Digital audio broadcasting (DAB) repeaters are transmitters in the 174–230 MHz band that have a maximum equivalent isotropically radiated power (EIRP) of 10 uW. They provide coverage that might not otherwise be available in heavily shielded rooms such as shopping centres, where DAB receivers are likely to be sold. The use of DAB repeaters is necessary in part because of restrictions on DAB power levels in some areas, in order to protect analog television services.The operation of DAB in-store repeaters was added to the LIPD class licence in June 2009.

Wireless audio transmitters

Arrangements for wireless audio transmitters including wireless microphones were updated in May 2013 to exclude the digital dividend band after 31 December 2014 and adding provisions for digital wireless microphone equipment in the UHF band 520–694 MHz and new wireless microphone arrangements in the 1790–1800 MHz band.

Other devices

In December 2008, the following device types were added under the LIPD class licence:

  1. data communications transmitters used indoors in the 57-66 GHz band. This addition supports the operation of wireless personal area networks (WPANs) in indoor environments.

  2. an 'all transmitter' class in the 5.725 to 5.875 GHz band. The addition enables the operation of short range low power transmitters using analogue modulation techniques in the 5.8 GHz industrial, scientific and medical (ISM) band.

Conditions of operation

Managing interference

Devices under the LIPD class licence operate on an uncoordinated basis - they share the spectrum with other devices. The potential for interference between devices has been managed by placing limits on the operating parameters of devices (such as the type of device, radiated power levels, and areas and frequencies of operation).

Although LIPDs can be used for radio applications with commercial or safety-of-life implications, users of such applications are encouraged to pay particular regard to the suitability of operating under this class licence for their radiocommunications needs.

If interference occurs, the onus is on the user of a LIPD to take measures to resolve that interference, for example by retuning or ceasing to operate the device. Some LIPDs have the capacity to be retuned in order to assist the user in avoiding local interference.

ISM precedence

LIPDs operating in bands designated for industrial, scientific and medical (ISM) applications are not protected from interference caused by ISM applications (e.g. microwave ovens). The ISM bands are:

  1. 13553-13567 kHz

  2. 26957-27283 kHz

  3. 40.66-40.70 MHz

  4. 918-926 MHz

  5. 2400-2500 MHz

  6. 5725-5875 MHz

  7. 24-24.25 GHz

Exclusion zones

To protect radio astronomy stations, exclusion zones have been established for some devices covered by the LIPD class licence:

  1. within 10km of Parkes Observatory near Parkes, NSW

  2. within 10km or Paul Wild Observatory near Narrabri, NSW

  3. within 3 km of the Canberra Deep Space Communications Complex in the ACT

  4. within 10 km of the Radio Astronomy Park in WA.

To protect space research service earth stations, exclusion zones have been established for some UWB devices covered by the LIPD class licence within:

  1. 2 km of the Perth facility, WA
  2. 5 km of the New Norcia facility, WA
  3. 5 km of the Canberra Deep Space Communications Complex in the ACT.

Radio Quiet Zone in central Western Australia

The LIPD class licence imposes conditions on the use of LIPDs in central Western Australia to protect the Murchison Radioastronomy Observatory. There is an exclusion zone of 70 km about the observatory added to the licence in July 2011.

Operating frequencies

The LIPD class licence authorises any person to operate a device that uses a frequency:

  1. on or within a range of frequencies, mentioned in column 3 of Schedule 1 of the LIPD class licence;

  2. at a radiated power that does not exceed the maximum EIRP mentioned in column 4 of Schedule 1 of the LIPD class licence;

  3. within any of the limitations mentioned in column 5 of Schedule 1 of the LIPD class licence.

Compliance with standards

Devices operating under the LIPD class licence that were manufactured, imported, or modified after 26 September 2001 must comply with all relevant radiocommunications standards. 'Standard' in this context means a standard made under section 162 of the Act.

Transmitters operated under the class licence including spread spectrum devices must meet the requirements of the Radiocommunications (Short Range Devices) Standard 2014 (the SRD standard) where applicable or any standard mentioned in the limitations for those devices in the class licence.

From 22 November 2000, devices covered by the LIPD class licence, such as cellular mobile telecommunications handsets and cordless telephones and cradles that are capable of operating in the frequency range 800 MHz to 2.5 GHz, must also comply with ACMA electromagnetic energy (EME) arrangements.

Breaches of licence conditions

Users of class licensed devices must comply with all conditions in the class licence. Subsection 132(3) of the Act states:

'Operation of a radio-communications device is not authorised by a class licence if it is not in accordance with the conditions of the licence.'

If you breach any condition of the class licence (for example, operating on a frequency not mentioned in the class licence) you are no longer authorised under the class licence and may be liable for prosecution.

Further information

If you have any additional queries relating to the LIPD class licence, please contact the ACMA’s frequency planning enquiries.

Last updated: 18 May 2016

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