What is RFID?
  • Created the 06 from December from 2017

What is RFID?

Radio Frequency Identification is a technology that allows you to identify objects using radio waves in a unique way and can capture hundreds of objects at once.

There are different frequencies within RFID technology:

  • Ultra High Frequency (UHF): with frequencies of 860 MHz - 960 MHz and a reading range that can reach more than 12 meters.
  • High Frequency (HF): with frequencies of 13.56 MHz and a reading range between 10 cm and 1m.
  • Low Frequency (LW): with frequencies of 125 KHz - 134KHz, with a short reading range, about 10cm.
  • Near Field Communication (NFC): with frequencies of 13.56 MHZ and a power of less than 15mA, so it has a short reading range, between 4 and 5 cm.

RFID benefits

The ability to identify and track individual objects or boxes of items without having to have a direct vision brings value to companies to control their products. For example, if a company uses plastic boxes to manage logistics with its customers, it can use this technology to make them unique and have them identified at all times, so that they know when their products leave or enter different facilities. This technology provides security to both logistic and productive processes.

  • RFID does not need line of sight
  • RFID tags can be read and rewritten as many times as we want.
  • RFID tags can be disposable or very resistant to reuse.
  • RFID tag data can be encrypted and locked.
  • RFID may contain more information than other types of tags.
  • RFID readers can read hundreds of tags at once.
  • RFID tags are printable.
  • RFID systems can be integrated with the ERP or other internal systems.

What are RFID systems made of?

Different hardware components are involved for the RFID system to function properly. If the RFID system is configured correctly you can reach a 100% of read rates. We are now goint to explain the different components of an RFID system:

  • RFID readers: readers are the central part of the system. They are responsible for processing the readings made by the antennas. They have different reading modes depending on the application: inventory, multiple reading, etc.
  • RFID antennas: the antennas send RF signals to activate the tags and intercept the responses of the tags. They are connected with a coaxial cable to the reader.,
  • RFID tags: they are placed on objects and emit signals when the antenna activates them. They have different memory banks and reading distances.
  • Coaxial cables: to connect readers and antennas we need connectors and coaxial cables of different lengths, temperature resistant, or low waste cables.
  • Software: some type of software is always necessary in an RFID system. Sometimes it's just a basic program, and sometimes you need a complex middleware or software to manage hundreds of readers at once.

For more information you have at your disposal the blog articles: types of RFID systems and how does an RFID system work?

RFID examples

Most of us don't realize that we are constantly interacting with RFID technology. RFID at Inditex serves to optimize logistics and make inventories in stores. MCDonals is installing RFID in its restaurants: customers sit at the table with an RFID tag, which helps workers locate them and serve the food directly on the table. Automotive companies such as Volkswagen use RFID to carry out the traceability of cars throughout the entire production chain. Spanish hospitals have identified medications and patients with RFID to obtain 100% traceability and patient control. In Banking we can find how RFID is used to inventory all types of assets in order to identify and control the location of each one in real time.

Most of these applications have appeared in recent years; technology is growing rapidly especially with the Internet of Things (IOT) and Industry 4.0. If you have doubts about what RFID is and how to apply it, you can contact us and we will help you.