What is RFID? What Does RFID Stand For?
RFID is an acronym for “radio-frequency identification” and refers to a technology whereby digital data encoded in RFID tags or smart labels (defined below) are captured by a reader via radio waves. RFID is
What is RFID? What Does RFID Stand For?
similar to barcoding 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. If you are considering implementing an RFID solution, take the next step and contact the RFID experts at AB&R® (American Barcode and RFID)

HOW DOES RFID 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 are 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

The more technical answer is that RFID transmits data through electromagnetism. Small, electrically-charged particles interact with each other, creating an electromagnetic field. This field is made up of different waves of photons; the collection of waves from lowest to highest frequency is what we call the electromagnetic spectrum.

Every day, you use several devices that rely on communicating through the generation of waves in the electromagnetic spectrum. For example, radio stations use transmitters to generate waves sending music to the receiver in your car radio. RFID uses this same principal to send information between the tag and the reader.

What uses are there for RFID?
The two broad uses for RFID are 1- Access Control, and 2- Asset Tracking. Chances are you already use RFID and didn’t know it.
  • Contactless payment and transit/toll systems use RFID to identify who you are and process your transaction or allow you through the toll gate.
  • Passive RFID tags in retail products assist in loss prevention and enable emerging business methods, like consumer self-checkout.
  • Hospitals use RFID to improve efficiency, provide better patient care and reduce the risk of spreading an infection.
  • Manufactures embed RFID tags into their products to track each stage of production and ensure quality,
                                       This is just a few real world examples, the application of RFID is near limitless

What is the maximum transmit power?

This is country specific and in some cases further regulated by the region or city. This list is by no means the full list of all of the different frequency regulations. To ensure your compliance with local regulations make sure that you review the current standards prior to purchasing your readers.

Frequency

Maximum Transmit Power

125 kHz & 134.2 kHz 72 dBμA/m
13.56 MHz 60 dBμA/m
433 MHz 0.1 Watts
860 – 960 MHz Download the GS1 Regulations Outline
2.4 – 2.483 GHz 4 W indoor
0.5 W EIRP outdoor
5.725 – 5.875 GHz 4 W USA/Canada
0.5 W Europe

What is the maximum read distance of RFID?

Generally speaking, RFID tag maximum read distances are as follows:

125 kHz and 134.2 kHz
Usually 10 cm (4 inches)
It is possible to get read distances over 30cm (1 foot), but these cases need individual assessmen

13.56 MHz
Usually under 1 meter (3 feet)
To obtain more than 1 meter (5 feet) you need a reader with output over 1 watt

433 MHz
Usually over 700 meters (2100 feet)
We’ve obtained reads over 2 kilometer (1.24 miles) away using FCC approved antennas.

860 ~ 960 MHz
Usually over 2 meters (7 feet)
Purpose built tags work over 16 meters (53 feet) away

2.45GHz
Usually 50 meters (160 feet)
An emerging standard.
Currently up to 100 meter (325 foot) maximum
NOTE: 2.45GHz RFID is not the same as WiFi enabled Internet-of-Things devices which also work on the 2.4GHz band

5.7GHz, 2.4 GHz & 433 MHz Long Range RFID Technologies

All three of these technologies use active (battery assisted) tags, which allow them to reaching distances of over 65 feet (20 meters) and can relay sensor information back along with their unique identification. This makes them ideal for situations where other technologies cannot meet the requirements. One such example would be in transit tracking of a shipment for temperature, tampering or g-force. The reader can then be integrated with GPS allowing the entire shipment to be tracked much more cost effectively than GPS tracking each container individually.

433 MHz Active RFID

433 MHz will make up the bulk of this page due to it’s significantly longer range, and more refined feature set thanks to it’s much longer lifetime.Development on 433 MHz RFID started in the early 2000’s and is fundamentally different than other RFID technologies. In RFID it is almost always a passive (or unpowered) tag that is “excited” or powered by the readers signal. This allows the tag to respond with it’s unique ID. The 433 MHz we offer does the exact oppose; The reader is powered but does not send any signal of it’s own. Instead the readers listen for the transmissions sent by the battery powered tags. This allows the reader to detect far weaker signals, sent with significantly greater strength by the battery powered tag.
Which results in distances over 2 KM (1.24 Miles) being possible with the right antenna’s

Safety & Controlled Environments

Designed for applications in Transportation, Mining, Emergency Evacuation, Supply Chain, Petrochemical, Healthcare, Manufacturing, Gated Communities, Education, and the Military. The unique characteristics of our 433 MHz technology make it suitable for environments where interferance or electro-static sensitivity prevent most other electronics such as airports or specialized chemical storages. The sealed ATEX certified tags emit such a low power signal that it is well below any regulatory guidelines, making them safe for use in static free areas where cell phones must be powered down.

The nature of the signal is also fairly unique in that it is able to pass through quite a large amout of rock, concrete, steel, or water. Making it beneficial for finding victims in mining accidents or avalanches

Active Tag Sensors & Features
Battery powered tags are excellent for situations where you also want to collect information or allow the individual to signal for help. Since they are not reliant on power from a reader to function, battery powered tags allow for duress buttons or fever monitoring in hospitals.
Protecting Assets, Saving Lives
Real-Time Location Tracking  (RTLS) accounts for nearly all active tag RFID systems. The active tag transmits its identity on a predetermined basis, and with the correct antenna placements you can determine the location of the active tag. Sensors can be added to the tags for real time temperature sensing and real time motion sensing.
Temperature sensing tags can be used to store temperature information on a timed basis and send the collected information to the active tag reader.  In addition the temperature sensing tag can be set up to set off an alarm condition should the limit be exceeded.
Motion sensing tags can be set up to transmit a signal when moved or signal until movement stops.  This is ideal for high value asset control where you want to know if an asset is moving so that you can determine if the movement is justified or an intrusion.
Patient tracking in health care facilities is also a common application for active RFID tags. Using a wrist band tag a patients movements within a certain location are known and if the patients goes oustide of the area you can have an alarm sound or have a health care giver return the patient to the controlled area
Most of our 433 MHz line of tags can be enhanced with motion and temperature sensors, tuned for your specific needs.  If you want to track assets that can be moved but also can remain stationary for a period of time, then we can equip our Industrial Tags with motion detectors so that when motion is sensed the tag beacons differently thus sending a signal to your applicaiton that motion has been detected.  When the asset stops moving the sensor again changes it’s beaconing characteristics and once again the application is aware that the asset has stopped moving.
RFID Antenna UHF 433 MHz
Antenna selection is critical to getting maximum read rate success. You need to match the antenna(s) to the specific application requirements and to the physical environment. For more information on RFID Reader Antennas you can check our product page. You can also learn more about selecting the right antenna(s) in our RFID Reader Antenna Tutorial.
Active Tag 5.7 GHz & 2.4 GHz RFID
Numerous different configurations are available for 2.4 GHz readers and active tags.  Most of the active readers can read up to 100 tags simultaneously. 2.4GHz RFID Active Tags can be configured to activate when moved, send a signal at predetermined intervals, record temperatures and more.  Active tag RFID is also ideal for Real-Time Location Tracking (RTLS) projects.
Both are promising new technologies which could add new functionality into RFID systems. We’ll continue to publish updates as this technology advances towards commercial viability.