Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Presenter: Dusan Stevanovic April 3, 2007

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1 Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Presenter: Dusan Stevanovic April 3, 2007

2 Introduction RFID are systems that transmit identity (in the form of a unique serial number) of an object or person wirelessly, using radio waves. RFID is a subset of Auto-ID technologies such as barcodes, optical card readers and some biometric technologies Next wave: Allows objects to be connected to the Internet

3 Introduction Basic RFID technology consists of a reader and RFID tag Reader is a device that has one or more antennas that emit radio waves and receive signals back from the tag RFID tag consists of a microchip attached to a radio antenna mounted on an underlying layer

4 Introduction Perceived Advantages of RFID: Non-line-of-sight (possibly built into or placed inside containers) Long range Many tags read out at once Robust (not as fragile as a printed bar code) Gives a path from simple identification of objects to locating objects Almost as cheap as a printed bar code! (Almost.)

5 Outline Brief history of RFID technology How RFID technology works and description of different types of RFIDs RFID Standards RFID Business Applications Privacy and Security Issues in RFID

6 History of RFID technology First application to identify planes in World War II using radar 60 s - Electronic article surveillance (EAS) used to identify whether an item has been paid or not using a 1-bit tag 80 s first automated toll payment systems

7 History of RFID technology Early 90 s IBM developed UHF RFID systems with better range (up to 20 feet under good conditions) and faster data transfer Auto-ID Center established at MIT in 1999 Developed first low-cost RFID applications Developed 2 air interface protocols and Electronic Product Code (EPC) numbering scheme EPC technology is to be adopted by retailers such as Wal-Mart and Target

8 How RFID technology works? Active vs. Passive tags 2 main categories of RFID systems: passive and active tags Active RFID systems: Active tags have their own transmitter and power source Write-once or rewritable Broadcast a signal to transmit the data stored on the microchip using a power source (battery, sunlight) Operate at 455 MHz, 2.45 GHz, or 5.8 GHz Long read range of 20 meters to 100 meters Expensive 10$ 50$ per tag Passive RFID systems: Do not have a transmitter or power source Write-once or rewritable Reflect back radio waves coming from the reader antenna Operate at LF, HF and UHF Short read range of few centimeters to 10 meters Cheap per tag

9 How RFID technology works? Semi-Passive (Active) tags Semi-Passive RFID tags Use a battery to run the chip s circuitry, but communicate by drawing power from the reader Usually sleep until they are woken up by a signal from the reader, which conserves battery life Write-once or re-writable

10 How RFID technology works? Inductive Coupling in Passive tags Used in low and high frequency tags A coil in the reader antenna and a coil in the tag antenna form an electromagnetic field Tag draws power from the field, uses power to run its circuitry and changes the electric load on the antenna Tags pass information by releasing energy from the capacitor to the tag coils in varying strengths over time, which affects the radio frequency emitted by the tag. The reader antenna senses the change in the magnetic field and converts these changes into the ones and zeros that computers understand.

11 How RFID technology works? Backscatter in Passive tags Also called Propagation coupling Used by UHF passive systems No electromagnetic field is formed Instead, the tag gathers energy from the reader antenna, and the microchip uses the energy to change the load on the antenna and reflect back an altered signal. Modulation is accomplished by varying RF input impedance between 2 different states To send data from the tag to the reader, the amplitude, phase or frequency shift keying is applied

12 How RFID technology works? Factors affecting Performance Inductive coupling has a reader field of smaller size than Backscattering method Backscattering is harder to control, because waves travel longer distances and can be received by the wrong tags Low frequency tags are ideal for applications where tag needs to be read through material or water at close range Usually operate in 124 KHz 135 KHz High and Ultra-High frequency tags offer farther read range but do not penetrate water or materials as well

13 How RFID technology works? Factors affecting Performance Detuning the antenna With backscatter, the antenna is tuned to receive waves of particular frequency When an antenna is placed on an object or product packaging that is not "RF friendly," the antenna can be detuned Signal attenuation (Path Loss) A tag s reflected signal decreases as the inverse fourth power of the distance between tag and reader In other words, the signal emitted by the reader attenuates natural with distance, and the signal reflected by a passive tag attenuates at a much faster rate.

14 RFID Standards Several RFID standards exist: Identification, coding of unique item identifiers, or other data on the RF tag Data and system protocols, effectively the middleware of an RFID system The air interface, that is, the wireless communication between the reader and the tag Defines anti-collision schemes between a reader and tags such as pure and slotted ALOHA Defines network layers in RFID systems Application support, which provides advice about how to implement the technology Examples: ISO (for contact-less systems), ISO (for vicinity systems, such as ID badges), and ISO (to specify the air interface for a variety of RFID applications). EPCglobal has developed widely accepted standards and one of them is EPC standard, used for product identification

15 RFID Standards

16 RFID Standards EPC Standard A serial, EPC code, created by the Auto-ID Center, which will complement barcodes EPCglobal has developed a Object Naming Service (ONS) system that is similar to the Domain Name Service (DNS) used on the Internet. ONS acts as a directory service for organizations wishing to look up product numbers (also known as EPC numbers) on the Internet. EPC has digits to identify the manufacturer, product category and the individual item. Generation 1 EPC tags protected by an 8-bit password and no key-management, pure ALOHA Generation 2 EPC tags require longer passwords and uses slotted ALOHA

17 RFID Standards EPC Radio-Frequency Identity Protocols Class-1 Generation-2 UHF RFID January 2005 Protocol for Communications at 860 MHz 960 MHz Physical layer Defines modulation between the reader and tag and vice versa Defines which shift keying modulation should tags and readers support Tag-identification layer 3 operations: Select, Inventory, Access Select selection of a specific Tag population Inventory identification of tags in a particular tag population Access communication with (reading from and/or writing to) a Tag after Inventory command Protocol (MAC) parameters for R->T and T->R Data encoding Data rates Frame synchronization for Slotted-ALOHA Frequency-hopping spread-spectrum in multiple reader environments Channel width 500 khz Tag memory reserved, EPC, TID memory to identify which commands tag supports and user (rewritable) memory defines formats of kill password, access password, EPC code

18 RFID Business Applications RFID Network RFID networks are usually deployed on top of Enterprise networks Enterprise network: application servers, databases, switches, clients RFID network: RFID readers, RFID client applications and middleware Network-centric design RFID middleware between RFID readers and Enterprise/RFID applications Middleware Manages readers hardware Process/Filters data from the readers Between client applications and readers Providing enterprise wide APIs on which end-users can build software applications

19 RFID Business Applications RFID Network Piggyback Design RFID network connected directly to available ports on edge switches Pros: low-cost Drawbacks: scalability limited, vulnerable to high traffic load Dedicated Design RFID readers connected to the dedicated switches Separated from enterprise network Pros: greater scalability and resiliency, traffic load handled by M/W Drawbacks: more expensive

20 RFID Business Applications Supply chain management RFID tags are used to track products throughout the supply chain Replacement for the bar code scanners Efficiency line-of-sight access to read the tag no longer necessary Simultaneous reading of multiple RFID tags Read range of RFID is larger Smart shelves Placing RFID readers on store shelves Automated just-in-time product shipments

21 RFID Business Applications Mobile RFID Mobile phone as RFID reader Integration of RFID and wireless sensor network infrastructure with mobile communication and wireless internet Uses: Making a reservation as simple as holding the phone close to advertising billboard Purchasing movie tickets Privacy/Security concerns

22 Privacy and Security Issues in RFID Unauthorized and anonymous readings of tags Privacy concerns including location tracking and customer buying habits Solutions: kill switches, sleeping tags, tag passwords, encryption and tag blocking Security concerns including credit card and other ID information theft Solutions: authenticate readers using ID numbers stored in tags memory

23 References 1. Roberti. Mark, What is RFID? [online]. Available from: [March 17th 2007]. 2. Roberti. Mark, The History of RFID Technology? [online]. Available from: [March 17th 2007]. 3. Roberti. Mark, The Basics of RFID Technology? [online]. Available from: [March 17th 2007]. 4. Landt, J The History of RFID. IEEE POTENTIALS Weinstein, R., RFID: A Technical Overview and Its Application to the Enterprise. IT Pro Roussos, G., Enabling RFID in Retail. The 31st IEEE Conference on Local Computer Networks, Tampa, Florida November 14-17, IEEE Computer Society Phillips, T., Karygiannis, T., Kuhn, R., Security Standards for the RFID Market. Emerging Standards. IEEE Computer Society Lee, H., Kim, J., Privacy threats and issues in mobile RFID. Proceedings of the First International Conference on Availability, Reliability and Security. Vienna, Austria April 20-22, IEEE Computer Society. 9. Zhao, Y.Z., Gan, O.P., Distributed Design of RFID Network for Large-Scale RFID Deployment. International IEEE Conference on Industrial Informatics. Singapore August 16-18, IEEE EPC Radio-Frequency Identity Protocols. Class-1 Generation-2 UHF RFID Protocol for Communications at 860 MHz 960 MHz Version [online]. Available from: f

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