What is an RFID system

What is an RFID system?

An RFID (Radio Frequency Identification Device) system is similar to how bar codes work, by tracking and capturing information on products, assets and inventory. However RFID tags use radio wave lengths to send and receive data, these RFID tags have been embedded with microchips, or integrated circuit (IC), and antennas.


Advantages of RFID systems:

  • RFID tags don't need to be on on the surface of the object to be read
  • RFID tags can be read quickly; less than 100 milliseconds
  • A large number of RFID tags can be read at once

Types of frequencies RFID system operate on

RFID systems use radio frequencies that can communicate between each of the RFID system components. These RFID systems are able to operate on low frequency (LF), high frequency (HF) and ultra-high frequency (UHF) bands. RFID systems operate more on UHF bands, UHF is ideally used for item tagging; active and passive tags reside within the UHF bands.

RFID system is made of three parts the scanning antenna, transceiver with a decoder to interpret the data sent from the tag and the RDIF tag that's been programmed with data. There are two types of RFID tags, active tags and passive tags.

What is the difference between an active RFID and passive RFID security system?

The passive RFID tag uses power supplied by the reader, there's no need for batteries. In passive RFID systems, the reader and reader antenna send radio waves to the tag. The RFID tags sends the encoded information from the tag's memory and decodes the information to reflect on the reader.

Active RFID tags require batteries or a complete power source to work. The batteries or power source are needed for the tag's circuitry and antenna.

Advantages of active RFID (Radio Frequency Identification Device)

  • Active tags can be read from long distances; a hundred feet or more
  • Electricity power can provide power to the sensors the active tags may have
  • Active tags have the highest data bandwidth

Disadvantages of active RFID

  • Active tags can't function without batteries or some other power source
  • Active tags are larger compared to passive tags which may limit use
  • Active tags require long term maintenance if batteries are replaces

Advantages of passive RFID

  • Passive tags can function without batteries; longer lifespan of twenty or more years
  • Passive tags are less expensive to manufacture
  • Passive tags have a wide variety of sizes and shapes; tags are much smaller for unlimited using consumer goods and other areas

Disadvantages of passive RFID

  • Passive tags can be read at very short distances, limits device for other uses
  • Passive tags can't include sensors that use electricity as a power source
  • Passive tags remain readable, even after item has been sold and no longer being tracked

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