What is RFID Card?
RFID, otherwise known as Radio Frequency Identification, utilizes electromagnetic fields to locate and monitor tags connected to objects automatically. Depending on the frequency band used by the tag, signaling between the reader and the tag is performed in several distinct incompatible ways. Tags that operate on LF and HF bands are very close to the reader antenna in terms of radio wavelength, as they are only a small percentage away from a wavelength.
While each system will vary in terms of device types and complexity, every RFID system contains at least the following four components:
What are the uses of RFID?
You can attach the RFID tag to an object and use it to track and manage inventory, assets, people, etc. For instance, it can be fixed on vehicles, computer facilities, books, mobile phones, etc. RFID provides benefits over manual or bar-coding schemes.
If passed near a reader, the tag can be read even if it is covered or not visible by the object. In a case, carton, box or other container, the tag can be read, and unlike barcodes, hundreds of RFID tags can be read at a time.
What are the types of RFID?
There are mainly 3 types of frequencies used in RFID. Frequency refers to the magnitude of the waves used to interact between parts of the system components. Low frequency (LF), high frequency (HF) and ultra-high frequency (UHF) bands are recognised RFID systems worldwide.
Radio waves act differently at each of these frequencies and the use of each frequency band has benefits and disadvantages. For instance, if an RFID system works at a low frequency, it has a slower read rate of information, but enhanced reading capacities close or on metal or liquid surfaces.
If a device works at a higher frequency, it usually has quicker data transfer rates and longer reading ranges, but more sensitivity to radio wave interference caused in the atmosphere by liquids and metals. However, in recent years, technological developments have enabled the use of ultra-high frequency RFID devices around liquids and metals.
What to look out for when selecting RFID cards?
- What is your application?
- What type of surface will you be tagging? On metal, plastic, wood, etc.?
- What is the read range you require?
- Size limitations? (i.e. the tag can be no larger than x by y by z inches)?
- Are you limited by environmental conditions? Excessive heat, cold, moisture, impact, etc.?
- How you are attaching it? Adhesive, epoxy, rivets/screws, cable ties, etc.?
Low Frequency RFID
The frequencies from 30 KHz to 300 KHz are covered by the LF band. LF RFID devices typically work at 125 KHz, although some work at 134 KHz. This frequency band offers a short read range of 10 cm and has a slower reading speed than the higher frequencies, however, it is less sensitive to interference from radio waves.
LF RFID apps include (but not limited to), control of access (door pass) and monitoring of livestock.
High Frequency RFID
The frequencies from 3 to 30 MHz are covered by the HF band. Most HF RFID devices work between 10 cm and 1 m at 13.56 MHz. HF systems are moderately sensitive to interference.
HF RFID apps are widely used (but not limited to) for ticketing, payment and data transfer applications.
Ultra High Frequency RFID
The frequencies from 300 MHz to 3 GHz are covered by the UHF band. RAIN RFID devices meet the UHF Gen2 standard and use the band from 860 to 960 MHz. While the frequency varies from region to region, RAIN RFID systems work between 900 and 915 MHz in most nations.
The read range of passive UHF devices can be as long as 12 m and the data transfer rate of UHF RFID is quicker than that of LF or HF. UHF RFID is the most susceptible to interference, but many producers of UHF products have discovered methods to design tags, antennas and readers to maintain high efficiency even in challenging settings. It is easier and cheaper to produce passive UHF tags than LF and HF tags.
UHF RFID apps have a broad range of apps ranging from retail inventory management, to pharmaceutical anti-counterfeiting, to wireless device configuration.
Dual Frequency (DF) RFID Cards
For industrial and logistics settings, DF products are ideally suited. The dual frequency inlays and tags offer a complete solution in a simple package at a lower price point than using two separate inlays. Furthermore, both UHF and HF functionality are incorporated into a single IC so that the consumer can also be offered added value.