RFID is an auto identification technology which is used for tracking items with a tag on it which sends data to readers through radio waves. These tags make the item speak about its identity, activity, location and data stored inside through readers and finally to the application software to make the information useful.
The tag is made up of a microchip with the unique identification number and the antenna to be able to transmit this data to the reader wirelessly. RFID tags have high data capacity and can include manufacturer, batch no., ownership, destination, history etc. depending on the application needs. The amount of storage available on the tag ranges from 16 bits to as high as several thousand bits. There are three types of encoding available in tags i.e. Read only, write once, and re-writable tags.
Active and Passive tags
Passive tags are battery less and transmit data only when energized by the reader. Active tags are able to transmit data using their own battery power. Read ranges are more for active tags than for passive tags but are costlier for their extra capability. Therefore active tags are used for high value items and for longer reading distance.
The RFID Reader, which is also widely known as interrogator, sends RF signals to request a tag for transmitting information within the chip. The response received from the tag is then translated into digital form and sent to the application software. Different types of readers are fixed readers, handheld readers, network readers, readers embedded in other mobile devices etc.
The antenna transmits an electromagnetic field, which activates the tag. The antenna also receives the data from the tag and sends it to the reader. RFID tag also has an antenna, which receives the required power from the electromagnetic field, and transmits the data. Tags also require an antenna to transmit the information to the reader and to receive information from the reader if it is a rewritable tag.
It is enterprise software which finally uses the data captured by the readers and uses the information to provide real-time visibility to the process. In some cases RFID middleware is developed which lies between the hardware infrastructure and the software application as a common interface which manages data flow between the two and manages the hardware infrastructure.
- No line of sight
- Improved read range
- Ability to write data
- High data storage capacity
- Can read multiple item
- Suitable for harsh environment
- No human intervention