RFID Technology

Contribution: Poojashree, Dharani

What is RIFD?

RFID is an acronym for “radio-frequency identification” and refers to a technology whereby digital data encoded in RFID tags or smart labels are captured by a reader via radio waves. RFID is similar to bar coding in that data from a tag or label are captured by a device that stores the data in a database. RFID, however, has several advantages over systems that use barcode asset tracking software. The most notable is that RFID tag data can be read outside the line-of-sight, whereas barcodes must be aligned with an optical scanner. Radio-frequency identification (RFID) uses electromagnetic fields to automatically identify and track tags attached to objects. The tags contain electronically-stored information.

RFID tags are used in many industries, for example, an RFID tag attached to an automobile during production can be used to track its progress through the assembly line; RFID-tagged pharmaceuticals can be tracked through warehouses; and implanting RFID microchips in livestock and pets allows for positive identification of animals.

How does it work?

RFID belongs to a group of technologies referred to as Automatic Identification and Data Capture (AIDC). AIDC methods automatically identify objects, collect data about them, and enter those data directly into computer systems with little or no human intervention. RFID methods utilize radio waves to accomplish this. At a simple level, RFID systems consist of three components: an RFID tag or smart label, an RFID reader, and an antenna. RFID tags contain an integrated circuit and an antenna, which is used to transmit data to the RFID reader (also called an interrogator). The reader then converts the radio waves to a more usable form of data. Information collected from the tags is then transferred through a communications interface to a host computer system, where the data can be stored in a database and analyzed at a later time.

Types of RFID tags and Smart labels

As stated above, an RFID tag consists of an integrated circuit and an antenna. The tag is also composed of a protective material that holds the pieces together and shields them from various environmental conditions. The protective material depends on the application. For example, employee ID badges containing RFID tags are typically made from durable plastic, and the tag is embedded between the layers of plastic. RFID tags come in a variety of shapes and sizes and are either passive or active. Passive tags are the most widely used, as they are smaller and less expensive to implement. Passive tags must be “powered up” by the RFID reader before they can transmit data. Unlike passive tags, active RFID tags have an on-board power supply (e.g., a battery), thereby enabling them to transmit data at all times.

Smart labels differ from RFID tags in that they incorporate both RFID and barcode technologies. They’re made of an adhesive label embedded with an RFID tag inlay, and they may also feature a barcode and/or other printed information. Smart labels can be encoded and printed on-demand using desktop label printers, whereas programming RFID tags is more time consuming and requires more advanced equipment.

Passive RFID Tag
Active RFID Tag

RFID applications

· Inventory management

· Asset tracking

· Personnel tracking

· Controlling access to restricted areas

· ID badging

· Supply chain management

· Counterfeit prevention (e.g. in the pharmaceutical industry)



The LF band covers frequencies from 30 KHz to 300 KHz. Regularly LF RFID systems work at 125 KHz, in spite of the fact that there are some that work at 134 KHz. This recurrence band gives a short read scope of 10 cm, and has slower perused speed than the higher frequencies, yet is not exceptionally delicate to radio wave impedance. LF RFID applications incorporate access control and domesticated animals following.


The HF band ranges from 3 to 30 MHz. Most HF RFID systems operate at 13.56 MHz with read ranges between 10 cm and 1 m. HF systems experience moderate sensitivity to interference. HF RFID is commonly used for ticketing, payment, and data transfer applications.

There are several HF RFID standards in place, such as the ISO 15693 standard for tracking items, and the ECMA-340 and ISO/IEC 18092 standards for Near Field Communication (NFC), a short range technology that is commonly used for data exchange between devices. Other HF standards include the ISO/IEC 14443 A and ISO/IEC 14443 standards for MIFARE technology, which used in smart cards and proximity cards, and the JIS X 6319-4 for FeliCa, which is a smart card system commonly used in electronic money cards.


The UHF recurrence band covers the reach from 300 MHz to 3 GHz. Systems consenting to the UHF Gen2 standard for RFID utilize the 860 to 960 MHz band. While there is some fluctuation in recurrence from area to locale, UHF Gen2 RFID systems in many nations work somewhere around 900 and 915 MHz.

The read scope of detached UHF systems can be the length of 12 m, and UHF RFID has a speedier information exchange rate than LF or HF. UHF RFID is the most touchy to impedance, however numerous UHF item producers have discovered methods for planning labels, antennas, and readers to keep execution high even in troublesome situations. Inactive UHF labels are simpler and less expensive to make than LF and HF labels.

UHF RFID is utilized as a part of a wide assortment of applications, extending from retail stock administration, to pharmaceutical hostile to forging, to wireless device design. The heft of new RFID tasks are utilizing UHF contradicted to LF or HF, making UHF the quickest developing section of the RFID market. The UHF recurrence band is managed by a solitary worldwide standard called the ECPglobal Gen2 (ISO 18000-6C) UHF standard.


In active RFID systems, every tag has its own particular transmitter and power source. In most of the cases, the power source is a battery. Active tags show their own sign to transmit the data put away on their microchips.

Active RFID systems regularly work in the ultra-high recurrence (UHF) band and offer a scope of up to 100 m. By and large, active tags are utilized on expansive items, for example, rail autos, enormous reusable holders, and different resources that should be followed over long separations.

There are two fundamental sorts of active tags: transponders and reference points. Transponders are “woken up” when they get a radio sign from a reader, and after that power on and react by transmitting a sign back. Since transponders don’t effectively emanate radio waves until they get a reader signal, they moderate battery life.

Reference points are utilized as a part of most ongoing finding systems (RTLS), so as to track the exact area of an advantage persistently. Not at all like transponders, reference points are not fueled on by the reader’s sign. Rather, they discharge signals at pre-set interims. Contingent upon the level of finding exactness required, reference points can be set to transmit flags at regular intervals, or once per day. Every reference point’s sign is gotten by reader antennas that are situated around the border of the region being checked, and imparts the tag’s ID data and position.


In passive RFID systems, the reader and reader antenna send a radio sign to the tag. The RFID tag then uses the transmitted sign to control on, and reflect vitality back to the reader. Aloof RFID systems can work in the low recurrence (LF), high recurrence (HF) or ultra-high recurrence (UHF) radio groups. As passive system extents are restricted by the power of the tag’s backscatter (the radio sign reflected from the tag back to the reader), they are normally under 10 m. Since latent tags don’t require a power source or transmitter, and just require a tag chip and antenna, they are less expensive, littler, and simpler to produce than active tags.

Aloof tags can be bundled in a wide range of routes, contingent upon the particular RFID application necessities. Case in point, they might be mounted on a substrate, or sandwiched between a cement layer and a paper mark to make keen RFID names. Latent tags may likewise be implanted in an assortment of devices or bundles to make the tag impervious to great temperatures or cruel chemicals.

Aloof RFID arrangements are valuable for some applications, and are usually sent to track merchandise in the store network, to stock resources in the retail business, to validate items, for example, pharmaceuticals, and to insert RFID capacity in an assortment of devices. Detached RFID can even be utilized as a part of stockrooms and dispersion focuses, notwithstanding its shorter extent, by setting up readers at stifle focuses to screen resource development.


A Battery-Assisted Passive RFID tag is a kind of inactive tag that joins a urgent active tag highlight. While most latent RFID tags utilize the vitality from the UHF RFID reader’s sign to control on the tag’s chip and backscatter to the reader, BAP tags utilize a coordinated power source (more often than not a battery) to control on the chip, so the greater part of the caught vitality from the reader can be utilized for backscatter. Not at all like transponders, BAP tags do not consist of their own transmitters.

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