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WHAT IS RFID Technology, HOW DOES IT WORK AND?

RFID is one of the most frequent and important technologies in the field of IoT (Internet of Things) . This technology is transforming various industries and in Pakistan it is already a reality. Here we tell you how it works, its main advantages and what it is used for.

What is RFID?

RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) can be defined as a form of wireless communication that uses electromagnetic or electrostatic communication in the high-frequency range of the electromagnetic spectrum to uniquely identify an object, animal or person.

How does RFID work?

Each RFID system consists of three components: a scanning antenna, a transceiver and a transponder. When the scanning antenna and the transceiver are combined, they are called RFID readers or interrogators. There are two types of RFID readers: fixed and mobile. An RFID reader is a device that is connected to a network and can be portable or stationary. It uses radio waves to transmit a signal that activates the tag. Once activated, the tag sends a wave to an antenna, which is converted into data.

The transponder is in the RFID tag itself. The read range of RFID tags depends on the type of tag, the type of reader, the frequency of the RFID and factors such as the environment or interference from other RFID tags and readers. Tags with a stronger power supply also have a longer read range.

How is the RFID transponder built?

Basically, RFID transponders can be provided in virtually all shapes, materials, sizes, and colors. Their specific construction depends on the way they are used. The common feature within all the different RFID transponders is that there are two components. Inside, each RFID transponder consists of at least one microchip and a printed, attached, or recorded antenna.

The chip and the antenna (also called the inlay) are very sensitive, which means that their resistance to mechanical, thermal and chemical impacts is limited. Consequently, an application specific “package” for these electronic components is required. The simplest form of packaging is the RFID tag. That is sufficient for many applications.

RFID Stock

WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF RFID?

RFID technology can be described primarily as a very flexible and “fault tolerant” identification technology. Identifying an object requires neither a precise laser line nor consideration of depth of field.

  1. Omnidirectional Reading
    Using RFID technology, it is possible to identify objects without a direct line of sight from the  RFID read/write device to the transponder. Items packaged, located in a shipping box, or installed on another item can be identified.
    Furthermore, the orientation of the object, e.g. on a conveyor belt, is not a decisive factor, as is the case with optical identification systems. The object can also be identified when the transponder is placed opposite the RFID reader.
    This lack of dependence on the alignment of the  RFID transponder  and the  RFID reader provides more flexibility on how the transponder can be attached to the object and how the object is aligned with the RFID reader.
  2. Rewritable Information
    With RFID technology, the information on a  transponder can  not only be read, but also modified or rewritten. This occurs directly within the process and allows additional (process) information to be stored directly on the chip of the object being identified.
  3. Long Distance Identification
    RFID technology enables reliable identification of objects both over short and long distances (up to 10 m).
  4. With RFID data, large amounts of data (up to 64,000 bits) can be transmitted and stored in the transponder.
  5. Mass Reading
    The size of the reading field can be flexibly adapted to specific requirements through software configuration.

DISADVANTAGES OF RFID

RFID currently faces two great challenges:

  • Reader collision. Reader collision, when a signal from one RFID reader interferes with a second reader, can be prevented by using an anti-collision protocol to make the RFID tags take turns transmitting to their appropriate reader.
  • Label collision.Tag collisions occur when many tags send data at the same time and confuse the RFID reader. This problem can be avoided by choosing a reader that captures information from the tags one at a time.

RFID APPLICATIONS AND USE CASES

The beginnings of RFID date back to 1940; however, it was used more frequently in the 1970s. For a long time, the high cost of labels and readers prohibited widespread commercial use. As hardware costs have decreased, the adoption of RFID has also increased.

Where is RFID used?

The application of RFID tags can be found in different industries, for example:

  • Pet and livestock tracking
  • Inventory management
  • Asset tracking and equipment tracking
  • Freight logistics and supply chain
  • Vehicle tracking
  • Customer service and loss control
  • Better visibility and distribution in the supply chain
  • Access control in security situations
  • Shipment
  • Health care
  • Manufacturing
  • Retail sales
  • Tap-and-go credit card payments

DIFFERENCES BETWEEN RFID AND NFC

Near Field Communication (NFC) enables data exchange between devices using short-range, high-frequency wireless communication technology. NFC combines the interface of a smart card and a reader in a single device.

An NFC system has a detection range of only a few centimeters , that is to say, very short. Therefore, NFC systems are suitable for secure applications, for example, access control or contactless payment.

The key difference with is that an NFC device can act not only as a reader but also as a tag (card emulation mode).

DIFFERENCES BETWEEN RFID AND BARCODE

Faced with some limitations of the Bar Codes, Itis becoming increasingly important. And these are their main differences:

  1. RFID can identify objects without a direct line of sight, on the other hand the barcode requires the maximum closeness to the object to scan it.
  2. With RFID the data can be updated in real time, however with the other solution the data cannot be modified.
  3. The barcode does not require a power source and RFID does.
  4. The time it takes to read an RFID tag (100 milliseconds) is longer than that of the code (half a second).
  5. RFID They contain a sensor connected to an antenna, often contained in a plastic cover and is more expensive than barcodes. Although the code tends to wear out more easily.

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