Antenna Tagging System (RFID)

Definition of RFID Tags

Antenna Tagging System RFIDAntenna Tagging System (RFID) tags are a type of tracking system that uses smart barcodes to identify items. RFID is short for “radio frequency identification,” and as such, RFID tags utilize radio frequency technology. These radio waves transmit data from the tag to a reader, which then transmits the information to an RFID computer program. RFID tags are frequently used for merchandise, but they can also be used to track vehicles, pets, and even patients with Alzheimer’s disease. An RFID tag may also be called an RFID chip.



How RFID Tags Work

An RFID tag works by transmitting and receiving information via an antenna and a microchip also sometimes called an integrated circuit or IC. The microchip on an RFID reader is written with whatever information the user wants.

There are two main types of RFID tags: battery-operated and passive. As the name suggests, battery-operated RFID tags contain an onboard battery as a power supply, whereas a passive RFID tag does not, instead working by using electromagnetic energy transmitted from an RFID reader. Battery-operated RFID tags might also be called active RFID tags.

Passive RFID tags use three main frequencies to transmit information: 125 – 134 kHz, also known as Low Frequency (LF), 13.56 MHz, also known as High Frequency (HF) and Near-Field Communication (NFC), and 865 – 960 MHz, also known as Ultra High Frequency (UHF). The frequency used affects the tag’s range. When a passive RFID tag is scanned by a reader, the reader transmits energy to the tag, which powers it enough for the chip and antenna to relay information back to the reader. The reader then transmits this information back to an RFID computer program for interpretation. There are two main types of passive RFID tags: inlays and hard tags. Inlays are typically quite thin and can be stuck on various materials, whereas hard tags are, just as the name suggests, made of a hard, durable material such as plastic or metal.

Active RFID tags use one of two main frequencies — either 433 MHz or 915 MHz — to transmit information. They contain three main parts, including a tag, antenna, and interrogator. The battery in an active RFID tag should supply enough power to last for 3-5 years. When it dies, the unit will need replaced, as the batteries are not currently replaceable. There are two main kinds of active RFID tags: beacons and transponders. Beacons send out an information ping every few seconds, and their signal is readable from several hundreds of feet away. Because they are sending out data so frequently, their battery tends to deplete quicker. Like passive RFID tags, transponders require the use of a reader to transmit information. When within range of one another, a reader first sends out a signal to the transponder, which then pings back with the relevant information. Because they only activate when near a reader, transponders are much more battery-efficient than beacons.


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