How Do RFID Tags Work?
Published on : December 21, 2022
How Do RFID Tags Work?
- An RFID transmits and receives information through an antenna and a microchip.
- Passive RFID tags run on one of three main frequencies: Low, High, and Ultra High, and are activated by readers in close range.
- Battery-operated RFID tags run on one of two main frequencies to transmit data and are constantly active.
One of the most common tracking systems used worldwide is the RFID tag. They make use of smart barcodes to identify items. They are also used for inventory management, asset tracking, and even livestock tracking. RFID tags in the Philippines are also used on vehicles for seamless payment at the expressway toll booths.
The acronym RFID stands for “radio frequency identification”, and it’s been around since the 1940s. Back then, it was used as an antenna and microphone to be able to broadcast private conversations. As time progressed, RFID technology did as well. In the 1970s, it was used to track railway carriages, and it slowly made its way to tracking inventory and assets.
However, how do these RFID tags work? This article discusses how RFID works today and how it is used in many industries. Keep reading to learn more!
An RFID transmits and receives information through an antenna and a microchip.
An RFID functions similarly to a barcode, but instead of using light scanning, it makes use of radio frequencies instead. That’s why RFID tags are known to many as smart barcodes. It is also known as an RFID chip thanks to the microchip present on the tag.
This tracking system makes use of radio waves to collect data and enter it into a computer system. It requires almost no human intervention thanks to the tag’s three components: the RFID tag, reader, and antenna. The microchip on an RFID tag is written with information by the user. Then radio waves transmit the data from the tag to an RFID reader, which in turn transmits the data to an RFID computer program to be read. It has a read range of over 20 meters.
There are two main types of RFID tags: active and passive tags.
Passive RFID tags run on one of three main frequencies: Low, High, and Ultra High, and are activated by readers in close range.
A passive RFID tag does not contain a battery since it is used for smaller-scale tracking. It does not have an internal power source. This RFID tag can operate because of the energy from the RFID scanner.
There are two kinds of passive RFID tags, depending on where you use them. They can either be inlays or hard tags. Inlays are thin and can be stuck on various materials like supermarket tags that contain barcodes while hard tags are made of hard, durable materials like plastic or metal.
It also comes in three main frequencies: low, high, and ultra. Low frequencies stand at 125-135 kHz, the high frequency at 13.5 MHz, and the ultra-high frequency at 865-960 MHz. The frequency at which a tag run dictates its range.
Once a passive RFID tag is within range and scanned by a reader, the reader powers the tag enough for its chip and antenna to transmit information back to the reader. The reader then relays this data to the RFID computer program.
This kind of tag is used for access control, smart labels, file tracking, and supply chain management.
Battery-operated RFID tags run on one of two main frequencies to transmit data and are constantly active.
Active RFID tags are also known as battery-operated tags since they do not have an internal power source. They are powered by electromagnetic energy that is transferred to their reader.
Active tags run on either 433 MHz or 915 MHz and have three main parts: a tag, an antenna, and an interrogator. When their battery dies after 3-5 years, the tag itself will need to be replaced since batteries in RFID tags are not replaceable at present.
There are two kinds of active RFID tags: beacons and transponders. Beacons send out information “pings” regularly, and their signal can be read from hundreds of feet away. Because of this, their battery tends to run out quicker. On the other hand transponders, like passive RFID tags, need a reader within range to transmit information. Since they only activate when a reader is nearby, transponders are the more battery-efficient option between the two active RFID tags.
RFID tags have gone a long way since being created in the early 1940s. Thanks to their user-friendliness, RFID tags are popularly used for inventory management across different industries like retail and food. Other applications of RFID tags include asset tracking, cargo and supply chain logistics, customer service, shipping, access control, manufacturing, and tap-and-go credit card payments.
If you’re interested in an RFID solution for your business, look nowhere else but at the most trusted solutions provider for access control in the country. Don’t hesitate to contact us here today or browse our RFID solutions here!