So far, much has been said about RFID technology and how it is raising the bar for efficiency across various industries. RFID systems can be differentiated from each other based on the frequency band in which they operate. And this difference in frequency is what makes them uniquely suited to different types of applications.

Talking about RFID, it is important to understand the different types of RFID technology, their capabilities and limitations to properly implement RFID solutions in a business.

RFID Frequency

Every RFID device works on a certain frequency to communicate data. Depending on this frequency, RFID technology can be divided into three categories — low frequency (LF), high frequency (HF), and ultra-high frequency (UHF).

1) Low Frequency (LF) RFID

Regular low frequency RFID tags operate in the range of 30 kHz to 300 kHz (usually at a frequency of 125 kHz). They have a read scope of 10 cm which is shorter than other frequencies and provide slower perused speed. Having a slower data read rate, low frequency RFID devices function better in the presence of metals or liquids and incorporates features like easy access control. The common standards for LF RFID are ISO 14223 and ISO/IEC 18000-2. LF tags are preferred greatly in applications for livestock tracking where a short read range is needed.

2) High Frequency (HF) RFID

High frequency RFID tags cover the band range from 3 MHz to 30 MHz, with most applications working at a frequency of 13.56 MHz. Their read scope falls between 10 cm and 1 m. These RFID devices are usually used for electronic ticketing, smart card payment, proximity card payment, data transfers, and security systems. The international standards for HF RFID systems are ISO 15693, ECMA-340, ISO/IEC 14443A, ISO/IEC 18092 (used for NFC), and ISO/IEC 14443 (used for MIFARE and other smart card solutions).

3) Ultra-High Frequency (UHF) RFID

As the name suggests, the frequency range of UHF RFID tags is between 300 MHz and 3 GHz. The applications that consent to the UHF standard usually utilize 860 to 960 MHz band to function. Not only the read range of these devices is up to 12 m, but they also have faster data transfer rates. The UHF RFID technology can be more sensitive to outer interference, especially from metals, liquids, and electromagnetic signals compared to devices with other frequencies. You can easily locate UHF tags in the commercial industry, where they are used for purposes like retail inventory tracking and pharmaceutical anti-counterfeiting. Compared to other frequency tags, HF RFID tags are more economical, making them suitable for the large volume of inventory. The common standard for this item-level tracking RFID system is EPCglobal Gen2/ISO 18000-6C.

RFID – Active And Passive

The other way to classify RFID tags is by differentiating the manner with which they communicate with the reader. Here are the three prominent types.

Active RFID

Every active RFID tag has its own transmitter and a power source (usually in the form of battery). Most active RFID systems work in the UHF band with a read range that can extend up to 100 m in some instances. Active tags are comparatively larger and more expensive than passive tags and are used in the commercial industry to tag cargo containers, vehicles, and machines. Active RFID devices carry sensors that help them measure and transmit data for the objects they are attached to.

There are two types of active RFID tags — transponders that transmit data only when they receive a signal from the reader and beacons that emit data at a pre-set interval.

Passive RFID

The passive RFID tags work differently. In these devices, a signal is sent to the tag by the reader and reader antenna, which is what turns the tag on and reflect energy back to the reader. Passive tags work on all types of frequencies, including lower frequency, high frequency, and ultra high frequency. In passive RFID devices, the read range is shorter than active tags and gets limited by the power of the radio signal which is reflected back to the reader. Compared to active tags, passive tags are smaller in size, costs less, and have higher flexibility. This is the reason why they are preferred for a wide variety of objects.

Battery-Assisted (BAP) Or Semi Passive RFID

BAP tags are more of hybrid RFID devices. Also known as semi-passive systems, they integrate the power source of an active system into a passive device, ensuring that all the energy from the reader can be captured and used to reflect the signal back. This amalgamation of active and passive features helps improve the read distance and data transfer rates in BAP tags. It should be noted that BAP tags do not have their own transmitters.

Still confused about the right RFID tag for your business? Consult an expert! At TSP LLC, we provide focused and specialized RFID solutions that can help you transform your business processes and eliminate the manual data entry errors.