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 tag to respond with the data written to its memory. At this point (or after reading several hundreds of tags), the interrogator will either store the tag’s information internally, upload it to a cloud server, or transmit it to an on-premise computer to save and process the collected data.
Image courtesy of EPC RFID
There is much more to the interworkings and variables of an RFID system. To learn more, explore the links below!
- The difference between active and passive RFID tags
- Factors that affect RFID read range
- What is NFC (near field communication)?
- What is RFID UHF (ultra high frequency)?
- The difference between the RFID frequency bands
- About anti-metal RFID tags
- Components of an RFID tag