Understanding RFID before RFID Implementation is KEY!
RFID: A brief history and how it works
RFID origins go back to early radio frequency (RF) transponder technology, in World War II, which enabled radio waves to energize a resonator over air at a distance. In the 1970’s, passive radio transponders were introduced that paved the road for many RFID uses today.
RFID is the use of an object embedded into a product, or person with the intention of sending or receiving identification data by utilizing wireless radio waves. It was initially developed for short-range product identification, normally in the 2.5cm to 2m range. RFID tags come in two different types: passive or active. Passive tags that don’t have a power source and are only useful in short range applications. This type of tag is compelling option because it is less expensive and lasts longer than active tags. Active tags have a power source that enables data to be stored to the tags, although this very aspect reduces the tag’s life cycle and raises costs. Active tags are capable of being read and writable or read-only. Read-only tags release a signal with a unique number only to that tag. Read and writable tags permits many different types of data to be saved, read, and altered on the tag.
How RFID works
An RFID system is comprised of a small electronic tag with a radio antenna and chip to be attached on an item. Tags feature a unique 64- or 96-bit EPC identifier programmed into the chip. They can be attached during an item’s production or placed at any point later on.
When an item with an RFID tag is scanned, a radio frequency reader will check the tag’s EPC if it’s an active tag. If it appeared to be a passive tag, the reader will emit radio frequency waves to stimulate a current in the antenna of a passive tag. The EPC is read and sent to a database containing a fixed asset’s record. The record can be updated with information such as:
The type of the fixed asset and its date of manufacture;
Where the fixed asset came from and where it’s going;
The times at which the fixed asset was moved;
Who was responsible for moving the fixed assets
What’s most appealing is that there is no need for a direct line of sight to read the EPC, as in the case of traditional barcode labels. That enables items to be identified as they move through an RFID reader’s radio frequency field without the need to expos