What is RFID and How Does It Work?

October 11, 2023
Topics: RFID Tags
What is RFID?

RFID stands for radio frequency identification. It's a technology that uses electromagnetic fields to automatically identify and track tags attached to objects.

What Is the Difference Between Passive RFID Tags and Active RFID Tags?

RFID tags can be passive RFID tags, meaning they don't have a power source and rely on the energy from the reader to transmit data, or active RFID tags, meaning they have their own power source (battery) and can actively transmit data. Passive RFID tags have a shorter read range than their active RFID counterparts. Passive RFID tags are also typically less expensive than active RFID tags and have a longer lifespan than active RFID tags due to not having a battery.Active Tags

RFID technology is used in a wide range of applications, including fixed asset tracking, inventory management in retail, tracking goods in supply chains, access control in buildings and even contactless payment cards and toll booth passes.

What Is the Difference Between Low Frequency (LF) and High Frequency (HF) RFID Tags?

There are different frequencies at which RFID technology operates, which can affect the range and capabilities of the system. Low-frequency (LF) operates at 125-134 KHz and can be read up to 6 inches. Applications for low frequency include access control. High frequency (HF) operates at 13.56 MHz and can be read up to 1-2 feet from the reader. Applications for high frequency RFID include access control and NFC (Near Field Communication) for things like contactless payments.

What Are Ultra-High Frequency (UHF) RFID Tags?

Ultra-High Frequency (UHF) operates at 915-928 MHz and can be read over 20 ft. from the reader. Applications for UHF RFID tags include asset tracking, supply chain and logistics.

How Does RFID Work?

The RFID systems consist of a tag and a reader. The tag contains a microchip and an antenna. The microchip storesHow Does RFID Work? information about the item it's attached to. The reader is a device that emits radio frequency signals. It generates an electromagnetic field that provides the energy for the tag to operate. When the tag comes into the range of the reader's electromagnetic field it gets activated. If it's a passive RFID tag, it uses the energy from the reader's field to power up. The reader sends out a signal that activates the tag. The tag then transmits its stored information back to the reader using radio waves. This information can include unique numbers or more detailed data about the object. The reader captures the data transmitted by the tag and sends it to a computer system for processing. This can be used for various applications such as asset tracking, inventory management, access control and more.

Overall, RFID is a versatile technology that plays a crucial role in many industries for tracking and managing assets efficiently.

For more information on what RFID is and how it works, please contact Metalcraft at 800-437-5283 or [email protected].

Colynn Black, Metalcraft's RFID Business Development DirectorspacerAbout the Author: Colynn Black
Colynn is Metalcraft's RFID Business Development Director. He started his Metalcraft journey as an RFID Technician, moving onto being an RFID Lead/Technician, an RFID Engineer and then his current role. He enjoys being able to utilize his technical skills and experiences to aid Metalcraft in acquiring new partnerships and customers. He's married to his wife, Allie and he has two children named Cruze and Ella. He enjoys being outside, working with his hands to build things, working on his car/boat, golfing, ice fishing, reading and wrestling with his son. 


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