What is RFID?
RFID stands for Radio Frequency IDentification and describes a ranges of frequency which are split up into Low frequency (LF), high Frequency (HF) and Ultra High Frequency (UHF). By using these frequencies, with the right equipment, you can identify people and objects. Each frequency has its own strengths and weaknesses thus allowing multiple application with RFID solution depending on the requirements and the right frequency.
Is barcode obsolete?
Not at all. RFID and barcode have similar functionality in tracking and tracking objects. Barcodes work by using infra-red scan onto the barcodes to read the white gaps which represent a number. The limitations of barcode is that it requires line of sight to the barcode and cannot be obscured, the speed of barcode reading is limited to singular reads at one time and the information is non-reprogrammable once printed. RFID on the other hand offers much more flexibility; the range can be up to 10 metre, as it communicates via wireless signals it does not require a line of sight to the RFID tag. Furthermore, RFID can allow for multiple tag reads, capable of hundreds of tags in a couple of seconds and the RFID tag information can be re-programmed.
What is the difference between LF, HF and UHF?
LF operates at 125 KHz or 134.2 KHz and at this frequency range the wavelength is not vulnerable to interference and can be used around metallic objects and high water content objects or environments. LF tags can only be read one at a time.
HF operates at 13.56 MHz and is slightly more vulnerable to interference around metal but still suffers rad range reduction.
UHF operates at a range of frequencies depending on the country it’s used in but they fall within 860 -960 MHz. UHF products are the most vulnerable to interference from metallic and high water content objects. As a result you will need to carefully analyse the whole process to see what the options are and use special mount on metal tags.
For more detailed information please follow this link to our eBook which covers RFID and the different frequency ranges in detail.
Is RFID expensive, how much does it cost?
It’s difficult to pinpoint an exact price for RFID as there are so many factors which can determine the price of individual products. Typically, with RFID labels and tags, the higher the volume the lower the price per unit, however, its far more important to analyse the process in place and the application to see if there is a valid business case for a ROI.
Is RFID a recent technological development?
No, the first concept of how RFID come to be was in World War 2 where planes where tagged to identify them on the radar as allies. Since then technology has exponential evolved to the systems we have today.
How does RFID work?
RFID works by tagging an object, you wish to keep track of, with an RFID tag. The RFID tag consists of a small microchip which stores information, the antenna design to propagate the signal and the material the tag and antenna is housed in. A RFID reader tuned to read the same frequencies as the RFID tag is then used to send an electromagnetic signal out, the RFID tag receives this signal and uses the energy to power itself, and send back a signal containing the message.
How will RFID benefit my company/organisation?
In many ways RFID can make your processes more efficient saving you money and time. A common example of RFID working in retail is to save time from doing end of day, week, month or annual stock count. Typically several staff members would have to go around and manually count the stock but with RFID they can drastically reduce this time, the staff can focus on selling and increasing revenue and for some organisation they will not have to close down for their stock check.