What is RFID? A brief introduction. Tushar Mehta

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1 What is RFID? A brief introduction Tushar Mehta

2 A Brief Introduction to RFID What is RFID & is it better than Barcode? Radio frequency identification (RFID) is a wireless technology used to transmit information from tags attached to objects in order to automatically identify and track those objects. RFID is part of a broad category of automatic identification (Auto-ID) technologies. Auto-ID technologies include RFID, barcodes, optical character readers and some biometric technologies, such as retinal scans. Auto-ID technologies enable machines to scan, capture and "recognize" an identification for an object. Machine-readable information (information that can be read by computers, scanners, etc) can be used to automate processes and to reduce errors, thus reducing the amount of time and labor needed for humans to recognize and manually input data about an object. Some auto-id technologies, such as barcode systems, often require a person to manually scan a label or tag to capture the data. RFID is designed to enable machines called readers to capture data on tags and transmit it to a computer system without the need for a person to be involved. RFID tags consist of a microchip attached to a radio antenna mounted on a substrate. The antenna is typically attched to a microchip, although not all RFID tags use silicon chips. The chip can store data. Some chips store only a unique numeric identifier. Or chips may store data about an object (an asset, a product or a shipment) - for example, the date of manufacture, destination and product information, all of which may be written to a tag. Retrieving the data stored on an RFID tag requires a reading device called a reader or an interrogator. A typical reader is an electronic device that has one or more antennas that emit radio waves and receive signals back from the tag. The reader then passes the information in digital form to a computer system. (http://www.rfidtribe.com/) RFID stands for Radio-Frequency IDentification. The acronym refers to small electronic devices that consist of a small chip and an antenna. The chip typically is capable of carrying 2,000 bytes of data or less. The RFID device serves the same purpose as a bar code or a magnetic strip on the back of a credit card or ATM card; it provides a unique identifier for that object. And, just as a bar code or magnetic strip must be scanned to get the information, the RFID device must be scanned to retrieve the identifying information. (http://www.technovelgy.com) Mehta Information Technology Consultancy and Services Page 2

3 What is RFID & is it better than Barcode? Advantages of RFID versus Barcodes RFID tags and barcodes both carry information about products. However, there are important differences between these two technologies: Barcode readers require a direct line of sight to the printed barcode; RFID readers do not require a direct line of sight to either active RFID tags or passive RFID tags. RFID tags can be read at much greater distances; an RFID reader can pull information from a tag at distances up to 300 feet. The range to read a barcode is much less, typically no more than fifteen feet. RFID readers can interrogate, or read, RFID tags much faster; read rates of forty or more tags per second are possible. Reading barcodes is much more time-consuming; due to the fact that a direct line of sight is required, if the items are not properly oriented to the reader it may take seconds to read an individual tag. Barcode readers usually take a half-second or more to successfully complete a read. Line of sight requirements also limit the ruggedness of barcodes as well as the reusability of barcodes. (Since line of sight is required for barcodes, the printed barcode must be exposed on the outside of the product, where it is subject to greater wear and tear.) RFID tags are typically more rugged, since the electronic components are better protected in a plastic cover. RFID tags can also be implanted within the product itself, guaranteeing greater ruggedness and reusability. Barcodes have no read/write capability; that is, you cannot add to the information written on a printed barcode. RFID tags, however, can be read/write devices; the RFID reader can communicate with the tag, and alter as much of the information as the tag design will allow. RFID tags are typically more expensive than barcodes, in some cases, much more so. (http://www.technovelgy.com) Mehta Information Technology Consultancy and Services Page 3

4 RFID Devices and Tags: What is RFID & is it better than Barcode? Mehta Information Technology Consultancy and Services Page 4

5 What is RFID & is it better than Barcode? Tags Mehta Information Technology Consultancy and Services Page 5

6 RFID Architecture What is RFID & is it better than Barcode? Would you like to know more about RFID technology and you want to know how we can help you in implementing your environment? Please contact us. Mehta Information Technology Consultancy and Services Page 6

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