This is the beginners guide to the RFID system. This works best for those for which this RIFD system is new and want to learn about it. How it works? Its different types and about the necessary equipment and tags.
What is RIFD?
How it works?
Radio frequency identification (RFID) is the non-contact and wireless use of The radio frequency for the transfer of data. When you Tag items with RFID a unique id is given to these items which allow the identification of them. You can read lines without read lines and its boundary is extended up to 20 mm.
Basically these were first used in the world war 2 for the identification of Aeroplanes. After this technology continue to increase and becomes more cost effective.
Types of RFID
There are three main types of RFID:
- Low frequency
- High frequency
- Ultra-high frequency
-General Frequency range: 30-300 KHz
-Primary frequency range: 124-134 KHZ
-Average Cost per tag
Access control, Animal tracking, Car key-fob, Applications with liquid volumes and metals.
It works very good with metal and liquids I.e its global standards.
- High cost of production
- Low transmission rate of data
- Low memory quality
- Short reed range
1.Primary Frequency Range: 13.56 MHz
2Read Range: Near Contact – 30 Centimeters
3Average Cost Per Tag: $0.20 – $10.00
4.Applications: DVD Kiosks, Library Books, Personal ID Cards, Poker/Gaming Chips, NFC Applications
5.Pros: NFC Global Protocols, Larger Memory Options, Global Standards
6.Cons: Short Read Range, Low Data Transmission Rate
General Frequency Range: 300 – 3000 MHz
Primary Frequency Ranges: 433 MHz, 860 – 960 MHz
We have further two types of RFID in the ultra-high frequency range:
- Active RFID
- Passive RFID
1.Primary Frequency Range: 433 MHz, (Can use 2.45 GHz – under the Extremely High Frequency Range)
2.Read Range: 30 – 100+ Meters
3.Average Cost Per Tag: $25.00 – $50.00
4.Applications: Vehicle Tracking, Auto Manufacturing, Mining, Construction, Asset Tracking
5.Pros: Very Long Read Range, Lower Infrastructure Cost (vs. Passive RFID), Large Memory Capacity, High Data Transmission Rates
6.Cons: High Per Tag Cost, Shipping Restrictions (due to batteries), Complex Software may be Required, High Interference from Metal and Liquids; Few Global Standards
1. Primary Frequency Ranges: 860 – 960 MHz
2. Read Range: Near Contact – 25 Meters
3. Average Cost Per Tag: $0.09 – $20.00
4. Applications: Supply Chain Tracking, Manufacturing, Pharmaceuticals, Electronic Tolling, Inventory Tracking, Race Timing, Asset Tracking
5. Pros: Long Read Range, Low Cost Per Tag, Wide Variety of Tag Sizes and Shapes, Global Standards, High Data Transmission Rates
6. Cons: High Equipment Costs, Moderate Memory Capacity, High Interference from Metal and Liquids
Primary Subsets of Passive RFID
UHF passive RFID standard range is 860-960 MHz. It is further divided into 2 subsets : 865-868 MHz and 902-928 MHz.
Primary Subsets of Passive RFID
European telecommunications standards institute (ETSI) is the main body in Europe that set standards for the communication through different channels. RFID equipment s and tags are not allowed to communicate at smaller frequency rate but only at subsets of larger range from 860-960 MHz.
As ETSI sets standards for only Europe. But when we purchase or donate items from outside Europe.
902 – 928 MHz – FCC
The federal communications commission (FCC) is known as the governing body In the States of America for setting and upholding standards via multiple channels including radio waves. FCC regulations say that RFID equipment’s and tags only operate in the frequency of 902-928 MHz. Other types of communication is ranged between 860-960 MHz.
Tags which are FCC verified or are at the north-American area can be used throughout the North-American region.
ETSI and FCC are the first ever major standards to be approved. Many countries adopted one or both or created a new one which comes under the sub-range of one of them.
Argentina chose the range of 902-928 MHz. Country of Armenia has its own range of 867 frequency.
Regional regulations are regulated by FCC or ETSI, there are also other specifies which regulate the amount of radiated power. Every country has a different range and strict for its range. Licence is required to use the FCC.
Every region has its own frequency range. To know more click here.
There are endless applications of RFID. It extends from inventory chains tracking to the supply chains. It can become more specialized depending on the activity and industry. Rental item tracking, It asset tracking and track textile items.
It identifies items very quickly. Following are some of the applications of RFID running successfully:
- Race Timing
- Supply Chain Management
- Pharmaceutical Tracking
- Inventory TrackingIT Asset Tracking
- Laundry & Textile Tracking
- File Tracking
- Returnable Transit Item (RTI) Tracking
- Event & Attendee Tracking
- Access Control
- Vehicle Tracking
- Hospital Infant Tracking
- Animal Tracking
- Tool Tracking
- Jewelry Tracking
- Retail Inventory Tracking
- Pipe and Spool Tracking
- Logistics Tracking (Materials Management)
- DVD Kiosks
- Library Materials Tracking
- Marketing Campaigns
- Real-Time Location Systems
Return on investment (ROI)
When you are going to buy or invest in a new system two main points should be considered. First is when you are going to have the profit. Secondly what is the labour and fixed costs. Altogether the advantages and other points.
Application and cost feasibility should be checked before RFID implementation system.
It refers to the whole process of determining the use or application with RFID system. RFID also has its limitations. Reed range limitations, asset material composition and environmental constraints tells how a RFID is applicable to the different aspects. Feasibility report and project is the application feasibility report. RFID is the right fitting of the application.
For monetary prospective cost feasibility is the point. It just not include the current numbers but the investment cost with the returning amount of money. These systems can be expensive. Initial spun out cost is required for testing out new materials and equipment. Deployment cost begins after testing. After a proper setup one can see a return on investment.
Fixed Vs recurring costs
Recurring cost is very important if you want to get a clear picture of the yearly expenses and the overhead costs.
One time cost of getting started is known as the fixed costs. Antennas,readers and cables is broadly termed in the fixed cost and all the hardware. It doesn’t mean that cost is for one time. Basically its not a one-time application cost. If you want to set your system afterwards initial cost still counts. RFID tags are one time tags which can be used again in the system. These are assigned and redistributed to the employees.
These are items which are only used once and discarded during the application or process. RFID label or inlay is a common type item used in the recurring costs. As these tags are low cost these can be used for lifetime. In case of RFID printer then the printer ribbon is known as the recurring cost. If a factored licence is renewed through a software or as a SaaS (Software as a service) which is considered a recurring fact.
The RFID systems are susceptible to the certain environmental factors and materials that cause well diminished ranges and affect the overall accuracy. For interference of RFID applications metals and liquids are most common sources. But for the equipment and planning proper RFID tags are needed.
RFID becomes more common with the liquid filled or metallic items. Many new items are released for reducing this problem. New techniques are developed for the mitigation of these item effects. Tag placement and spacer are working with these items.
What is this system?
Following are the four components of every RFID system:
What is an RFID tags?
RFID tag is a very simple one and is comprised of two parts:
Antenna for receiving and transmitting signals.
RFID chip which is used to store tag’s ID and other information. RFID tags are placed on the items in order to track them. RFID readers and antenna are used in it.
On every chip there are four types of memory banks:
Every memory bank specifies the item which is tagged or in the which bank.
Many different types and shapes of RFID tags are available with a lot of features and options for operating. Every tag is specific to the surface materials,environments and applications.
Types of RFID tags
For a large variety of RFID applications it comes in many different types. Its types are hard and inlays tags. Inlays are cheaper than hard tags. It ranges from $0.09 to $1.75 depending on features of tags. Hard tags are more resistant which vary between $1.00 to $2.00
Form Factor – Inlay, Label, Card, Badge, Hard Tag
Frequency Type– LF, NFC, HF, UHF Passive (902 – 928 MHz, 865 – 868 MHz, or 865 – 960 MHz), BAP, Active
Environmental Factors– Water resistant, Rugged, Temperature resistant, Chemical resistant
Customizable– Shape, Size, Text, Encoding
Specific Features/Applications– Laundry Tags, Sensor Tags, Embeddable Tags, Autoclavable Tags, Vehicle Tags, High Memory Tags
Specific Surface Materials– Metal mount tags, Glass mount tags, Tags for Liquid-filled items
Type and quantity of tags determine its price. Prices of both types of tags are already mentioned. For higher level of customization more expensive tags will be used when compared to off-shelf tags.
Selecting an RFID tag
1.Type of surface for tagging e.g metal,wood and plastic
2.Reed range for your desire.
4.Excessive environment conditions to consider e.g extreme heat or cold.
Testing a lot of items and tags will result in the final selection. RFID tag samples determine the amount and type of tag used.
What is RFID reader
RFID reader is brain for any system and is necessary for a system to work. Readers are also known as interrogate which are used to transmit signals for communicating with the tags. There are two types of RFID types
- Fixed RFID readers
- Mobile RFID readers
Former ones stay in a fixed location and are mounted on the walls, desks or some stationary position. Integrated reader is a common subset. Integrated RFID reader is a one-built antenna with an external antenna as well. Integrated readers are pleasing and without a high traffic of the tagged items.
Mobile readers are handheld devices which allow flexibility with a host computer or smart device. There are two mobile RFID readers categories:
1.Mobile computing devices-readers with an on-board computer
2.Secondly, for readers which use a Bluetooth or auxiliary connection.
These devices are called sleds. Fixed RFID readers stay still at one point I.e one antenna and connect to eight different other points. With a multiplexer One can go up to 32 RFID antennas. Area of coverage determine the number of antennas. Desktop applications require only small area of coverage and one antenna works well in this case. Other applications require larger area of coverage. For the coverage area many antennas are used.
Types of RFID readers
For RFID categorization we term them as mobile or fixed ones. Other RFID categories include connectivity, available utilities, features, processing capabilities, power options, antenna ports, etc.
1.Frequency Range- 902 – 928 MHz US, 865 – 868 MHz EU, Etc.*
2.Mobility– Fixed Readers, Integrated Readers; Mobile Readers
3.Connectivity Options– Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, LAN, Serial, USB, Auxiliary Port
4.Available Utilities– HDMI, GPS, USB, Camera, GPS, GPIO, 1D/2D Barcode, Cellular Capabilities
5.Processing Capabilities– OnBoard Processing, No OnBoard Processing
6.Power Options– Power Adapter, PoE, Battery, In-Vehicle, USB
7.Available Antenna Ports– No External Ports, 1-Port, 2-Port, 4-Port, 8-Port, 16-Port
It is the most expensive part of an RFID system. It varies from $400 to $3000 based on the capabilities and features. USB readers are of only $300. They have a very short range and are mostly used for the applications of desktop. Fixed and handheld readers vary in pricing depending on the features.
Selecting an RFID reader
1.What is the reed range for your application
2.Any excessive environments to consider?
3.Will reader be added to the network?
4.Where will you place reader?
5.Does your reader need to be mobile?
6.How many read zones do you need?
7.How many tags are needed at a time?
8.How quickly does a tag move through a reader?
These are necessarily elements required for converting RFID readers signal into RF waves which are then picked by the RFID tags. Without an antenna one cannot receive or send signals.
These are slow devices as compared to RFID readers and take signals from the power.With the energy signals are transmitted to RFID tags in the vicinity. When a signal is generated in a specific direction it determines the efficiency of the antenna. For a more powerful gain the higher will be the RF field.
Efficiency of a system is determined by its polarity. Antenna polarity should be aligned with the RFID tag. If they reduce the read range will be reduced. Vertically-linear polarized antenna and a horizontally-linearly polarized antenna wont work together.
Circularly polarized will generate waves that generate waves in all directions. Enhanced flexibility of an application is produced in this way. RFID tags are read in the multiple directions. The energy is divided into two planes which will make one area less powerful than the other.
Types of Antennas
They can also be divided into different categories based on the applications.There are a few factors for dividing it two main points are considered Antennas are polarity (circular vs linear) and ruggedness (indoor vs. outdoor).
1.Frequency Range– 902 – 928 MHz, 865 – 868 MHz, 860 – 960 MHz
2.Polarity– Circular, Linear
3.Ruggedness– Indoor IP Rated, Outdoor IP Rated
4.Read Range– Proximity (Near-Field), Far-Field
5.Mounting Type– Shelf Antenna, Ground Antenna, Panel Antenna, Portal Antenna
RFID antennas vary from $30 to $300 per antenna. Some of them vary due to additional points like application-specific factors, such as ground/mat antennas. They have specialized applications like race timing, people, bikes and other stuff. They should be rugged enough to survive and perform well. Functioning and a non-functioning system is determined through the specialized antennas. They are also considered an investment.
Selecting an RFID Antenna
1.What is the read range?
2.Excessive environmental conditions to consider?
3.Will you mount antenna indoor or outdoor?
4.What is the exact size you want?
5.What is the orientation of the tag relative to the position in your application needs for the application?
Kits and additional items
RFID developmental kit is used for all the collection and assigning of the information in the RFID tag. They are needed for writing and reading RFID tags. This is recommended as it allows people to use it right away. These kits are made from the manufacturers of reader so tags and recommended antenna is needed with them. There is also a sample program inside it for writing and reading RFID kits or SDK.
SDK contains the documents, API codes and software about writing so that the developer can start writing his own program about the application.
These cables help in communication between RFID reader and RFID antenna. Without it reader is unable to send signals to the antenna and power it. Choosing a cable seems easier than other parts but every cable comes with a specification. Basically a RFID wire varies in three different forms:
So before purchasing always keep in mind these three things. To choose a right connector for any end of the cable choose it wisely. E.g if RFID reader has an RP-TNC female connector then one side of your cable should have RP-TNC male and vice versa. For more information regarding our cable look at RFID cable guide.
Insulation rating of cable basically its length and thickness varies according to your specific task. If your cable is long more power will be lost obviously in the transmission. RFID reader and antenna distance determines how far your cable should be?
To minimize this power loss use a more insulated cable which will be more thicker. The longer length will increase the efficiency of a cable and minimize its power loss. Wit more insulation rating your cable will be more thick and rigid. It will make it difficult to bend and hence no bending when working around its corners.
Other Equipment & Accessories
There are many other equipment s present to enhance the system capacity. They will all help in the supplement of your system. Some of them are:
4.RF power mappers
5.Antenna mounting brackets
Even though this whole article is filled with RFID, it is a very small part of all the information related to RFID. We have a lot of other ways to learn about this technology:
It is a RFID blog which will keep you updated about all the new trends and advancements in this field. It doesn’t matter if you are a new comer or an expert we cover all topics so everyone can take benefit from it.
AtlasRFIDchannel is our you tube channel with all the information ,tutorials and interviews of this Technology. We are looking for a radio frequency along with other applications for the advancement of our technology.
Ebooks and resources
We have a lot of guide similar to this one which shows the main components of RFID system, RFID applications and even information needed for the system deployment. In our RFID resource section we also have Info graphics, customer profiles and white papers for our users. For any new information fee free to contact us.