RFID Reader

RFID Reader

RFID tags give physical items an electronic identity. An RFID reader transmits a radio frequency and when a compatible tag enters the range, it sends back a signal with encoded information.

This allows for individual product traceability, which reduces system errors and unproductive work. It also allows work to continue offline in emergencies.

What Does an RFID Reader Mean?

The RFID reader, also known as an interrogator, transmits and receives radio frequency waves that allow it to communicate with an RFID tag. It is designed to interface with an information processing system that can take advantage of the data collected by the RFID reader.

The most common use of RFID readers is to read information stored on an RFID label attached to a product. This allows for a wide variety of applications such as inventory tracking, production line operations (work-in-progress management), and supply chain management.

A reader has an internal antenna that sends and receives radio signals to and from the tags within its range. An antenna’s polarity and the polarity of the tag affect the maximum reading range.

Some readers have ports that can connect from one to many RFID antennas. The number of antennas connected to a reader depends RFID Reader on the coverage area required for the application.

RFID systems can perform hundreds of readings per second. This enables businesses to improve productivity and accuracy. For example, in the apparel industry, a retail store can automatically generate an alert when a specific size or color is out of stock, and then restock that item. A similar alert can be generated for date sensitive inventory, allowing the store to proactively restock with fresh goods. In addition to these benefits, an RFID system can also be used to monitor the condition of a product, such as a car or bicycle, as it goes through the manufacturing process.

What is an RFID Development Kit?

RFID tags or smart labels contain digital data encoded on an embedded chip, and capture that information using radio waves. They’re much more flexible than barcodes in that they don’t have to be visible or lined up with an optical scanner. RFID has many advantages over other asset tracking systems, including increased productivity due to automated data collection and reduced labor costs.

The heart of an RFID system is the reader, also known as an interrogator. They communicate with the RFID tags through a radio frequency (RF) signal, and are generally divided into three distinct categories based on mobility/flexibility – Mobile RFID Readers, Fixed RFID Readers and USB RFID Readers.

These RFID readers can connect to anywhere from one to 64 external RFID antennas, depending on their size and the area of coverage required by an application. They’re often able to read multiple RFID tags simultaneously, and the more antennas connected, the better the reading range.

These RFID readers are typically the most expensive component in an RFID system. However, the cost can vary significantly based on features and capabilities – consider factors such as the desired read range, any environmental conditions that may affect performance or whether or not the reader will be connecting to a network. For example, the XC-RF850 RFID Development Kit from Invengo includes the RF850 desfire ev1 integrated RFID reader plus an external RFID antenna and mount, as well as cables and accessories.

What is an RFID Antenna?

A device that is part of an RFID system and transmits signals to and from RFID tags. The tag contains information such as a serial number that can be read by compatible RFID readers. The tags may be passive or active (battery powered). Passive tags are pre-programmed with unique information and rely on coupling with the reader for energy, inductively or electromagnetically. Active tags have a backup battery and can also be used to transmit data to the reader.

An RFID antenna is the main component of an RFID reader. The reader generates RF (radio frequency) waves with a certain power that can reach the RFID tags in the vicinity. The RFID antennas can be circular or linear in polarization. Circular polarized antennas emit electromagnetic waves in two planes, while linear polarized ones have a more focused emission, with a reading range that is orientation insensitive.

When the RFID signal reaches an RFID tag, it wakes it up. The IC chip on the RFID tag then sends back the signal it receives, carrying its own ID number along with other information. The digital core in the RFID tag handles the transmission of this data to and from the reader according to the EPC Gen-2 communication standard. This process is a major power-consuming function, so the RFID tag’s design has to be optimized to reduce its power consumption.

What is an RFID Software Development Kit?

Software developers need to write application programs to communicate with RFID reader ICs and extract data that they can use in the context of their specific design goals. To facilitate this process, RFID IC manufacturers often offer complete development kits that include hardware, sample tags and software. These kits help engineers to quickly create RFID systems that meet their needs.

For example, the DVK90109 from Melexis is an RFID reader development kit that provides an evaluation board with an integrated host MCU and an MLX90109 IC. This combination enables users to evaluate reader designs while using the host MCU as their main computer connection for accessing RFID transponder and reader data.

Some development kits also provide the ability to test various RF transmission modes and frequencies. The eZ430-TMS37157 from Texas Instruments is an RFID developer kit that supports the 13.4.2-kHz LF frequency by providing an evaluation daughter board with a single LC8821A IC and supporting a host microcontroller built into the main development board.

RF Code, a provider of enterprise-class active RFID technology, offers a free TERTIUM RFID software development kit for mobile inventory and asset management applications. The TERTIUM SDK includes an open application programming interface (API) that gives software developers direct access to the data collected by RF Code readers. The platform can be used to develop industry-specific inventory, search and mobile asset tracking applications for a wide range of industries.

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