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 is varied on a regular basis after public consultation on any proposed changes (see ACMA Consultations). Therefore it is necessary to check the version is that currently in force.
This page describes the licence, some of the devices it covers, and how it operates.
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 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.
The LIPD Class Licence includes arrangements supporting the use of general 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. The LIPD Class Licence also includes arrangements supporting the use of specific application UWB devices including UWB vehicular radar, in-ground UWB sensors and building material analysis 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 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.
Wireless audio transmitters
Arrangements for wireless audio transmitters including wireless microphones were updated in May 2013 to exclude the digital dividend band (694-820 MHz) after 31 December 2014. New provisions for digital wireless microphone equipment and indoor wireless microphone use in the UHF band 520–694 MHz and new wireless microphone arrangements in the 1785–1800 MHz band have been added.
The LIPD Class Licence contains arrangements across a number of different bands for non-specific applications as well as for specific applications such as biomedical telemetry and radiofrequency identification (RFID). The LIPD Class Licence also covers industrial radar sensors, WiFi and Bluetooth devices operating in specified industrial, scientific and medical (ISM) bands.
Conditions of operation
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.
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:
To protect radio astronomy stations, exclusion zones have been established for some devices covered by the LIPD class licence:
within 10km of Parkes Observatory near Parkes, NSW
within 10km or Paul Wild Observatory near Narrabri, NSW
within 3 km of the Canberra Deep Space Communications Complex in the ACT
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:
- 2 km of the Perth facility, WA
- 5 km of the New Norcia facility, WA
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.
The LIPD class licence authorises any person to operate a device that uses a frequency:
on or within a range of frequencies, mentioned in column 3 of Schedule 1 of the LIPD class licence;
at a radiated power that does not exceed the maximum EIRP mentioned in column 4 of Schedule 1 of the LIPD class licence;
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.
Devices covered by the class licence, must also comply with ACMA electromagnetic energy (EME) arrangements.
Some devices that can be operated under the LIPD Class Licence are also subject to requirements of other government bodies such State government electrical authorities or the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration.
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.
If you have any additional queries relating to the LIPD class licence, please contact the ACMA’s frequency planning enquiries.