Learn RFID Support

Performance is important when it comes to implementing and maintaining an RFID system. Here are six common factors that can negatively impact an RFID system's performance. Interference Interference from other radio-frequency (RF) emitting devices (RFI), such as other RFID readers and Wi-Fi access points, can negatively impact RFID system performance. Power Supply As with any system dependant on electronic components, RFID systems are subject to the risks of a “dirty” power supply. Such power supplies can elicit strange behavior from electronic devices (such as RFID readers) that draw…
In its most rudimentary form, an RFID system is made up of two parts; a transponder (a tag) and an interrogator (a reader). The transponder, which consists of an inlay which has a microchip, an antenna, and usually a substrate (the stuff that holds the tag’s components together) and optionally an encasing to protect the inlay from various environmental factors, is encoded with information specific to the object it is attached to or associated with, such as a serial number. The interrogator reads the transponder’s information by emitting a signal to the transponder that prompts…
The primary difference between active and passive tags is that active tags have their own power source (typically an embedded battery) and passive tags rely on the RFID reader's propagation signal to power the tag. From this primary distinction stems a variety of considerations to make when deciding between the two types of tags. This article aims to help aid you in deciding which type of tag — active or passive — is best for your business application by laying out some of the most pivotal factors you should consider.   Active Tags Passive Tags…
The frequency range of an RFID system has a significant impact on multiple performance metrics like the read range and interference susceptibility, so it's important to make sure you select the right frequency for your business application or use case.    LF/NFC HF UHF Frequency range 125 - 134.2 KHz 13.56 MHz (global) 433, 865 - 828 MHz (varies regionally) Read range < 10 cm < 1 m 1 - 100 m Tag cost Relatively expensive Varies Inexpensive (in high volumes) Reader cost Relatively…
Active Tag: A battery-powered RFID tag that powers the circuitry that transmits the signal to a reader. Active tags differ from passive tags in that they have longer read ranges, a higher price tag, and a larger size (due to the battery). Antenna: The element built into both RFID readers and tags that radiates and receives radio energy. Automatic Identification (also called automatic data capture): The ability to collect and enter data directly into computer systems without human involvement through technologies such as barcodes, biometrics, RFID, and voice recognition. Backscatter: A…
The latest standardization of the Ultra-High Frequency RFID spectrum is the GS1 UHF Gen2 protocol (ISO/IEC 18000-63), which defines the technical specifications (e.g., physical/logical interactions between devices, anti-collision algorithms, security commands, etc.) for RFID devices operating in the frequency of 860–860 MHz. The ITU designated UHF (Ultra-High Frequency) as the radio frequency range of 300 MHz to 3 GHz, while the IEEE defines UHF as only frequencies between 300 MHz and 1 GHz (the rest of the ITU–defined UHF frequency range overlaps with the IEEE's frequency…
Inlay The tag inlay consists of the integrated circuit (IC), an antenna, and a substrate to hold it all together. The inlay, on its own, is a fully functional tag; ready to be packaged into either a smart label or another casing. Integrated Chip (IC) The IC is an electronic circuit or microchip that is manufactured at a semiconductor plant. This microchip contains a memory store and a microprocessor or decision making (logic) unit. The IC is configured either as a passively powered device (powered by inductive coupling generated from another self-powered device) or as an actively powered…
There are a handful of factors that can affect RFID, NFC, or UHF tag read ranges. If you're interested in understanding the various aspects that affect RFID read range to improve your RFID application or use case, continue reading! Tag Characteristics (SOAP) SOAP is an acronym for the various factors that affect an RFID tag's performance; size, orientation, angle, and placement.  Not to be confused with Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP). S Size O Orientation A Angle P Placement Inlay Size — As a rule of thumb, the bigger…
There are many, many applications for NFC technology — from the chip embedded in your credit card to streamlining other technologies, such as Bluetooth pairing. The combination of close-range data transfer, ease of use, and versatility make NFC perfect for environments where data transactions have a requirement for location-specific access (for example, you don't want your credit card chip to be accessible from more than a few centimeters away). Below are some of the most common uses for NFC (note that this is far from an all-inclusive list). Common Use Cases Identity Validation/Access…
Although NFC is a subgroup of RFID technology, there are many varieties of NFC tags/inlays to choose from for different solution needs. This page is a summary guide showing common NFC inlay and tag type options available for many common RFID solutions and application needs. This article is a part of the series of articles intended as a practical guide to NFC serving to address many common considerations when selecting an NFC tag type for your unique application or solution.  Clarification — "NFC tag," as used in this series of articles, refers to any implementation of passive NFC…
NFC is an acronym for Near Field Communication. NFC is a somewhat recent 'labeling' for a subset of RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) for short-range, wireless protocols. While NFC type RFID can apply to low frequency (LF), high frequency (HF), and ultra-high frequency (UHF) types, it's most commonly associated with HF and used for close-range applications (hence the "near field"). NFC has some features that distinguish it from other forms of RFID, such as the capacity for bidirectional peer-to-peer communication. This article, An Introduction to NFC, is part of a series of…
Anti-metal tags are specialized RFID tags that can be read from conductive surfaces, such as metal (something that regular tags can't do). The Problem Before you understand the problem, you need to understand how RFID tags work — When an RFID reader scans a tag, it sends a radio-frequency electromagnetic field that powers the tag (passive tags) and allows the RFID reader to communicate with the tag. The problem arises when the RFID tag is fixed to a conductive surface, such a s metal. The conductive surface alters the electromagnetic field created by the RFID reader so that the RFID…