RFID Technology RFID Technology

RFID Technology

Radio Frequency Identification or RFID technology records and identifies individual targets through radio frequency waves. But that's not all; it enables readers (RFID readers) to transfer data from RFID tags, also known as chips to the antenna or any other object.

In simple words, it's an automatic technology that identifies barcodes, systems, and attached objects using wireless communication.

What is RFID

Part of a group of technologies called AIDC (Automatic Identification and Data Capture), RFID is a rather popular technology. AIDC technology enables identifying objects, collecting data from those objects, and storing them in necessary systems, automatically. What RFID does is utilizes Radio Frequency to accomplish the same.

How Does RFID technology work?

For the record, RFID identifies every subject based on the tag attached to them. And this is all done through AIDC. In an active RFID system, the tag receives the data sent by the reader, and it then resends the information to its memory.

This is where readers receive the data, and then it's further processed through its microcontroller interfaces.

RFID utilizes radio waves to achieve this objective. The entire process revolves around the three pieces - RFID tags or smart labels, RFID readers, and antennas. These tags absorbed energy to power up and convert the data by the reader to a readable format. Nowadays, this technology is everywhere and is used for many different industries.

The revolutionary growth and popularity of RFIDs in recent years are valid for many reasons. RFID finds its way through different industries as it offers scalable and secure logistics, supply management, and inventory tracking. It is even used in hospitals for inventory tracking, staff, and patients tracking, etc.

RFID Tracking: Safer, More Accountable, More Efficient

RFID provides a secure and more efficient supply chain that works best for most industries working with inventory management. The growth of connected healthcare and other institutions has sparked a lot of interest in RFID technology. Although there are a lot of early challenges still the benefits of RFID overpower other barriers. RFID helps in preventing unauthorized access in hospitals or any warehouse.

At present, RFID technology is predominantly used for asset management and identification, warehouse management, and IoT applications. However, the accuracy of RFID technology depends on certain factors such as the strength of the emitters, the shape and size of the RFID tag, environmental interferences, etc.

While these factors need to be kept in mind while using RFID tracking, it doesn't stop the business sector from utilizing them. You've probably made use of it without even noticing.

RFIDs have a read range of around 20-100 meters (60 to 300 feet) and function at 2.45-5.8 GHz. RFID tracking has been able to fill in the gaps barcode technology couldn't, a few being supporting geographical positioning data, being more resistant to abrasive environments than barcodes, and RFID trackers having a much larger range than barcoding machines. Some of the only drawbacks RFID faces are its much larger setup and usage cost compared to barcodes, the need for specialized operators, and regular maintenance of RFID tracking systems.

Different Types of RFID tags

RFID UHF tags are also known as UHF - Ultra High-Frequency tags. You can easily compare these tags to barcodes, but there's more to that. They are generally lower priced and are efficient for distribution purposes and are also known as asset-specific RFID tags; they reduce the labor of manual inventory and helps in tracking specific high-value assets such as jewelry assets.

Walmart and Target also provide these Innova tags for metallic surfaces and high durability. The battery in these tags can boost signal strength for smart labels. Here are some of the RFID tags available at Bar Code India.

LF RFIDs are less susceptible to interference by liquids and metals and have slower read rates and then UHF. That's the reason why they have a longer wavelength. Additionally, LF RFIDs arealso used in apps where RFID labels are connected with metals.

The last one is BCI that also provides RFID portals. These portals can easily detect the in and out movement of your employees and other people. Above all, it offers all the data you require for efficient management of your warehouses.

Popular applications of RFID

  • Inventory management
  • Warehouse Management
  • Asset tracking
  • Personnel tracking
  • Vehicle Tracking
  • ID Badging
  • Counterfeit prevention (e.g., in the pharmaceutical industry)

RFID security and privacy:

Compared to barcode scanning technology, whose purpose is the same as the RFID, there are many advantages to going with RFID as it doesn't have to be in sight for scanning purposes.

RFID uses radio frequencies to communicate with the objects or receivers. These objects encode digital information such as unique identification numbers using smart RFID tags or smart labels.

However, in the case of RFID, you also have to ensure the best security and privacy practices which are as follows:

A. Energy Consumption: Whenever passwords of any RFID devices are updated or an incorrect attempt is made, the energy consumption changes. Intruders can exploit this vulnerability by analyzing power consumption levels.

B. Replay attacks: In this type of attack, hackers copy the entire signal from an RFID device and transmit the same signal again. As a result, this poses a great security issue as hackers can get information if they imitate being another RFID device.

C. Financial data leak: RFID chips on credit or debit cards store financial and personal information of the owner, and it is at higher risk of misuse as not every POS is in safe hands.

D. Eavesdropping attacks: This type of attack particularly happens when RFID devices are registered on a network with weak security protocols. Any person with malicious intent can use a sniffing device or software to capture network packets during the communication to gain confidential information. The protection can be ensured by leveraging strong network protocols, VPNs, firewalls, etc.

E. Identity theft: As RFID tags store information about the owner, any other unauthorized person could use their debit or credit cards to access the same information and make fraud transactions.

RFID Standards:

Every technology, be it artificial intelligence or RFID, requires standards to operate. This ensures a consistent experience for the consumers. On the other hand, technology providers strive for QoS and deliver flawless and safe operations.

In the case of RFID, you should better understand its various standards so that you can make an informed decision to pick the right technology for your business. These are the guidelines or specifications set to provide how RFID systems will work and at what frequency they'll operate, data is transferred and how the communication between the reader and the tag will work.

Also, provided guidelines help the company to develop complementary products such as tags, readers, or other accessories. Additionally, these standards help broaden the market and increase the competition, which helps standardize RFID products' prices.

ISO (international standards organization) and EPCglobal (Electronics Product Global Incorporated) are the two main bodies that govern and maintain RFID standards.

Here are some important RFID standards:

  • ISO/IEC 18000
  • ISO/IEC 18000-2
  • ISO/IEC 18000-3
  • ISO/IEC 18000-4
  • ISO/IEC 18000-6
  • ISO/IEC 18000-7
  • ISO 14443
  • ISO 15693

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