What is RFID?

Better known as Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), it is a technology utilized in the modern-day world to facilitate automated data collection. RFID technology can replace manual labor and aims to facilitate the identification of inventory or assets. This is done by attaching small tracking tags containing a uniquely coded microchip and in-built antenna. The signals captured by the tags are transmitted to the receiving device, which converts the wireless signal to a digital output.

Components of RFID Systems

A working RFID system consists of a combination of several hardware parts and is properly set up only when the correct equipment is placed and a thorough test and tuning is performed. It should be able to read a moving or stationary tag with near 100% accuracy.

The parts which together constitute an RFID system are listed below:

  • Reader
  • Antenna
  • Tags
  • Cables
  • Auxiliary Items
  • Software

Types of RFID

Depending on the communication method followed by the tag to reach the reader, RFID can be categorized into two types:

  • Comparatively larger than passive tags.
  • Have energy that gets emitted from their batteries to send strong radiofrequency waves to readers.
    • These even recognize and catch low signal strengths from the readers with the help of their battery.
    • Also, they have the potential to enable the reader to detect objects at distances up to 750 feet.
    • They also enable tags to always be switched on to catch radio frequency waves from the reader.
  • Active RFID tags are incredibly reliable.
  • RFID tags facilitate less reliance on a centralized database as these can store more data storage.
  • One is advised to operate the tags at fixed intervals from 433 MHz to 5.6 GHz for a range of up to 100 meters.
  • The active RFID tags also has the potential to monitor and record sensor data continuously – time, temperature, pressure, etc. at high speeds.
  • Active RFID tags initiate conditional transmissions.
  • Readers are generally fix mounted.
  • The RFID blogs are expensive and cost around approximately $15 or more.
  • Proper care and maintenance are required, which includes battery replacement.
  • They are usually attached to expensive items.

Passive RFID Tags

  • They can be tiny in size, so much so that these tags can be placed on bees and ants in research situations.
  • Have energy that comes from the reader activating an electromagnetic field within the tags.
  • The passive RFID tags are typically read-only.
  • Must be in close range to the reader to communicate better.
  • Respond only when activated by the reader within the range of 3 feet.
  • Operate at low frequencies produced over short distances.
  • Can, in snapshot fashion, monitor and record sensor data: time, temperature, pressure, etc.

Uses of RFID

RFID technology is used in many industries and a wide variety of applications, as it can deliver several benefits for organizations.

Medical Field

Using RFID is a secure method adopted to track, locate and update the service and sterilization history of different pieces of medical equipment like surgical instruments.


RFID can be used in logistics as part of the warehouse management system. This system makes checking stock levels and their location easier amidst the chaotic warehouse environment.


Converting paper-based checklists to a digital format takes time and can lead to human error. Maintenance records can be stored on RFID mobile readers instead, which leads to a more efficient maintenance process.


Trains should stop at determined positions, because of safety doors and given the railway legislation. RFID systems guarantee the precise and reliable positioning of trains over optical sensors, which can fail due to debris.

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