What is RFID?

RFID stands for “Radio Frequency Identification“.


RFID is Radio Frequency IdentificationThe acronym RFID refers to small electronic devices that consist of a small chip and an antenna. The chip typically is capable of carrying 2,000 bytes of data or less.

The RFID device (or tag) serves a similar purpose as a bar code or a magnetic strip on the back of a credit card or ATM card. It provides a unique identifier for that object. Just as a bar code or magnetic strip must be scanned to get the information, the RFID device must be scanned to retrieve the identifying information.

There are two types of RFID tag – active and passive. An active tag requires a power source (e.g. small battery) to power it and permanently ‘transmits’ the unique identifier. A passive tag on the other hand does not have a power source and relies on the detector being placed next to the tag for it to take power from the detector to generate the code.

There is a significant cost difference between active tags (which can cost up to a few pounds per tag) and passive tags which can cost fractions of pence per tag. Tags can come in a wide variety of materials all shapes and size – from printed labels to key fobs and screw in devices for out door use through to even skin implants (e.g. tagging of animals).

Mobile-e-Solutions use passive tags and utilise the NFC technology inbuilt into mobile phones as detectors.

RFID Works Better Than Barcodes

An RFID tag allows us to provide Guaranteed Proof of Arrival.A significant advantage that RFID devices have over barcodes is that the RFID device does not need to be positioned precisely relative to the scanner. We’re all familiar with the difficulty that supermarket checkout clerks sometimes have in making sure that a barcode can be read. Also credit cards and ATM cards must be swiped through a special reader.

In contrast, RFID devices have a much greater range of operation and will work from a few centimetres up to seven metres for high-frequency devices, from the actual scanner.

For example, you could just put all of your groceries or purchases in a bag, and set the bag on the scanner. The scanner would then be able to query all of the RFID devices attached to the items and total your purchase immediately.

We use many different types of passive RFID tags, varying from simple paper tags for use indoors through waterproof rugged tags for outdoor use to key-fob types for personal use.

RFID technology has been available for more than fifty years. It has only been recently that the ability to manufacture the RFID devices has fallen to the point where they can be used as a “throwaway” inventory or control device.


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For more information about Solo or Mobile-e-Solutions call 0845 643 4898 or email: info@mobile-e-solutions.com


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