What is RFID and How do They Work?
RFID is a form of wireless communication that uses a combination of electromagnetic or electrostatic coupling in the radio frequency portion of the electromagnetic spectrum to uniquely identify objects, animals, or people.
How does RFID work?
Every RFID system consists of three components: a scanning antenna, a transceiver, and a transponder. When a scanning antenna and transceiver are combined, they are called an RFID reader or interrogator. There are two types of RFID readers-stationary readers and mobile readers.
An RFID reader is a network-connected device that can be portable or permanently connected. It uses radio waves to transmit a signal that activates the tag. When activated, the tag sends echoes to the antenna, where it is converted into data.
The transponder is located in the RFID tag itself. The read range of an RFID tag varies depending on factors such as tag type, reader type, RFID frequency, and interference from the surrounding environment or other RFID tags and readers. Tags with stronger power supplies also have longer read ranges.
What types of RFID systems are there?
There are three main types of RFID systems: low frequency (LF), high frequency (HF), and ultra-high frequency (UHF). Microwave RFID is also available. Frequency varies by country and region.
Low-frequency RFID system. These range from 30KHz to 500KHz, but the typical frequency is 125KHz. The transmission range of LF RFID is very short, usually ranging from a few inches to less than six feet.
High-Frequency RFID System. These range from 3 MHz to 30MHz, with a typical HF frequency of 13.56MHz. Standards range from a few inches to a few feet.
UHF RFID system. These range from 300MHz to 960MHz, with a typical frequency of 433MHz, and can usually be read from a distance of more than 25 feet.
Microwave RFID system. These run at 2.45 GHz and can be read from over 30 feet away.
The frequency used depends on the RFID application, and the actual distance obtained is sometimes different than expected. For example, when the U.S. State Department announced it would issue e-passports with RFID chips, it said those chips could only be read from about 4 inches away. However, the U.S. State Department soon received evidence that RFID readers could read information from RFID tags well beyond 4 inches—sometimes more than 33 feet.
If a longer read range is required, using a tag with extra power can increase the read range to over 300 feet.
RFID applications and use cases
RFID dates back to the 1940s; however, it was used more frequently in the 1970s. The high cost of tags and readers has long prevented widespread commercial use. As hardware costs have fallen, so has RFID adoption.
Some common uses of RFID applications include:
Pet and livestock tracking
Asset tracking and equipment tracking
Cargo and supply chain logistics
Customer service and loss control
Improved supply chain visibility and distribution
Retail sales and tap credit card payments
The above introduces the working principle and types of RFID, etc. If you have any questions or plan to buy an RFID reader, you can contact us.
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