Radio Frequency Identification technology, commonly referred to as RFID, uses electromagnetic fields for the purposes of identifying and tracking objects. More recently, the technology has moved into mainstream applications that speed up the handling of manufactured goods and materials by attaching RFID tags to them. RFID technology has been around since the 1970s but its high cost and limited practical applications have discouraged its use up until recently.
The 1980s became the decade for full implementation of RFID technology, though interests developed somewhat differently in various parts of the world. Personnel access, transportation, and animal tracking were some of its earliest uses, and have progressed until today, where it is used in public transportation, passports and advertising.
There are two types of RFID tags: active and passive systems. Active RFID tags contain an internal power supply that allows it to send its own radio signals, whereas passive RFID tags do not have its own battery and relies on electromagnetic energy from readers to be of use. Active RFID systems have much larger ranges of readability than its counterpart, as it emits its own signal. The batteries contained in an active RFID system usually lasts several years because active tags typically wait for readers to send out a signal to which active tags respond to only if within range of the reader so as to conserve battery. Active RFID systems are bigger and more expensive making it impractical for retail use, whereas passive tags have small enough to be embedded within packaging and are priced appropriately for retail use.
The uniqueness of RFID software technology is that it enables identification from a distance and does not require a line of sight in order to attain the memory from the RFID tag. A tag typically carries no more than 2 kilobytes of data, enough to store basic information about the item it is intended to represent. The microchip that stores the information coupled with an antenna is called an RFID transponder. This combination enables the chip to transmit the identification information through radio waves to a reader. Readers then convert the radio waves into digital form; normally using hexadecimal values so that computers can make sense of the information it is receiving. Both readers and tags must be on the same frequency in order to allow for the two devices to communicate with one another. The frequency varies depending on the region of the world the RFID technology is being used, and they also dictate the speed at which data is transmitted between tag and reader.
Radio frequency identification by contrast with barcode technology does not require a line of sight, and can simply be read so long as they are within range of a reader. This is a major point of interest for large companies, particularly in supply chain/logistics and large retail stores as many processes can be streamlined and automated if RFID technology is fully adopted. Barcodes require a person to scan the barcoded item with the barcode reader, and if this process is eliminated, this is an added value that many firms would invest in as it saves countless hours of manual labor. Moreover, the technology is made to increase efficiencies in supply chain. Radio frequency identification software will communicate directly with inventory systems that have an RFID reader, drastically reducing the risk of human error.
EPC (Electronic Product Code) associated with RFID tags are the equivalent of the UPC (Universal Product Code) used by barcodes today. which has not been completely standardized as of yet. Moreover, different frequencies are used throughout the world making it increasingly different to apply regulated standards throughout the world. However there are two main bodies that deal with RFID standardization, including ISO (International Standards Organization) established in 1996 and Electronic Product Code Global Incorporated. These include: air interface and associated protocols, data content and the formatting, conformance testing, applications, and various other smaller areas. The Auto-ID center divided RFID software and tags into 5 classes, being:
Class 0: Basic read-only passive tag using backscatter where the tag was programmed at the time the tag chip was made.
Class1: Basic read-only passive tag using backscatter with one-time non-volatile programmed capability.
Class 2: Passive backscatter tag with up to 65k of read-write memory.
Class 3: Semi-passive tag with up to 65 k read-write memory and a battery incorporated to provide increased range.
Class 4: Active tag using a battery to enable extra functionality within the tag and also to provide power for the transmitter.
Class 5: An active tag that provides additional circuitry to communicate with other class 5 tags.
GAOTek offers a range of high quality, low cost RFID products for a wide variety of applications. Among them are RFID readers, tags, antennas, accessories and RFID kits. The RFID software inside of our tags and readers have been made to support the following frequencies:
l Ultra high frequency (865-868 MHz/902-928 MHz/2.45 GHz/433 MHz),
l High frequency (13.56 MHz),
l Low frequency (125kHz)
Our selection of RFID readers also have features for different settings, including but not limited to:
l Bluetooth readers
l Long and Medium Range RFID readers
l GPS, NFC and RFID Readers with Barcode
GAOTek offers transponder antennas designed to be paired with our selection of RFID readers, specifically engineered for different frequencies. Among the different antennas for our RFID readers are: Regular Panel, Linear Panel, ASA Panel, Single Port, High Performance Desktop Planar, Indoor, Outdoor Directional, LHCP or RHCP Polarization, Airstrip, Runway, Sector, Circular Polarized, Yagi, HF Metallic-Shield, Intelligent Test-tube Rack, Circular Polarised Patch, and Whip.
Personnel access, transportation, and animal tracking were some of its earliest uses, and technology has progressed towards today, where it is used in public transportation, passports and advertising. Toll authorities such as the E-ZPass Interagency Group in the North Eastern United States use active RFID tags to transmit unique radio signatures to communicate with their reader equipment. The price of passive tags is continuing to fall and is sold for fewer than 10 cents per tag when purchased in large quantities. The trends of falling pricing and increasing automation in retail stores is quickly becoming the norm.
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