how RFID works

How RFID Works

A typical RFID system consists of 2 main components:

– RFID Reader (Transceiver with Decoder)
– RFID Tag (Transponder)

Both the RFID tag and reader consist of separate antennas. The antennas are what allow communication between the reader and tags. They do this by releasing radio signals from the reader to the RFID tag and back.

RFID Reader
The RFID reader consists of an antenna and middleware. The reader tells its antenna when to send and receive radio waves from the RFID tag. The RFID reader can also write data to the tag.

The middleware processes and sends the data received from the tag to the preferred data management tool. The data management tool allows one to organize and track the collected information.

Readers come in various forms including handheld and mounted. They can communicate with an RFID tag from a variety of read ranges, ranging from 0-100+ feet, pending power gain and frequency.

The RFID tag consists of a chip and antenna. The chip holds the tag’s memory and is programmed with unique identification data related to the object it is attached to.

The antenna is what “wakes up,” or activates, the RFID chip in order to send and receive the data to the reader.

Passive RFID tags are powered by the radio signals from the reader. Once the chip is activated it will send the data contained in its chip back to the reader. This process is known as backscatter.

Active RFID tags operate off of a power source within the tag for a stronger, more constant read. When using active RFID, the reader’s antenna is continuously sending signals in order to read RFID tags in real time.

1) The reader sends radio waves to the RFID tag
2) The passive RFID tag “wakes up” (or activates) and sends back a response with the data stored in its chip
3) The reader detects the response and sends the data to its middleware
4) The middleware processes and sends the data to the preferred data management tool, which then stores the information to be viewed and organized

RFID is used in a number of different applications including inventory management, animal tracking and supply chain visibility. RFID systems have proven to speed up data collection workflows eliminating some of the manual processes, while also increasing visibility of the collected data.

Interested in learning more about how RFID works? Reach out to our RFID experts who are here to help you with any questions you may have.

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