What is RFID?

Written by Delroy Ricketts.

RFID stands for Radio Frequency Identification and a technology that can be classed as an automatic identification technology. It uses radio waves to transfer data from an electronic tag, called a RFID tag or label, attached to an object, through a reader for the purpose of identifying and tracking that object.

RFID can operate at a range of frequencies starting from low frequency (LF) operating at a range of 125 - 134 kHz, high frequency (HF) operational at 13.56MHz, ultra high frequency (UHF) works on 865-868MHz and micro wave functions at either 2.4GHz or 5GHz.

RFID works on transmit and read premise. RFID tags is comprised from two elements one a circuit chip and the other an antenna. They use two protocols for transmission to communicate. One is called Inductive coupling that uses electromagnetic coils to act as antenna that can bounce back the signal and is common in the LF and HF tags. The other method is called Backscatter that used in the (UHF) tags to provide wide cover of single.

RFID’s outstanding features include its capacity to have a huge code range of unique identifications available enough to reportedly tag every object in the world with its own electronic product code.

A salient feature of RFID is that it’s a wireless and contactless technology that does not need to be in line of sight it would only take about 10 milliseconds to read the data once located and another astonishing thing is RFID tags are capable of capturing tags simultaneously. This also makes the technology far faster than its line of sight counterparts at processing data. Which could undoubtedly reduce manual labour while speeding logistical tasks and for less on-going cost.  Based on research by University of Arkansas' RFID Research Centre, “On average, it takes 60 man-hours to scan 30,000 bar codes, whereas it takes 8 hours with RFID to accomplish the same task.” (RFID Journal, 2009)


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