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How do RFID tags work?

RFID technology usually uses RFID electronic tags, but also in the form of cards. Always provide the RFID electronic tag with a specific and unique ID number that resides in its chip memory. The so-called "smart card" has additional memory for storing more data than just the ID number. This storage capacity is usually used for payment applications, time- or location-specific access authentication, or other applications that require security or important data storage.

Smart card memory also has the ability to support highly secure encryption protocols during identification transactions-regardless of whether the unique ID number of the RFID electronic tag is not secure enough. RFID electronic tags can also be divided into active and passive categories according to the way they communicate with the reader. All passive RFID electronic tags can work without power supply. Active RFID electronic tags have a power source that can enhance the signal transmission between readers. Active RFID electronic tags are used to identify pallets and trams, enabling the reading distance to reach tens of meters. When using passive RFID electronic tags, the reading distance is a few centimeters to fifteen meters. Compared with active RFID electronic tags, the advantages of passive RFID electronic tags are their lower price and longer service life, while the life of active RFID electronic tags depends on their power source.

Passive RFID electronic tags will not independently send any signals. Readers interrogate passive RFID electronic tags through induction. Passive RFID tags only work when they are close enough to a reader that can read a specific frequency band. The reader sends the data obtained from the RFID electronic tag to the system for identity verification.

Recognition technology and its application

Passive identification technology is usually divided into 125 kHz, 13.56 MHz and UHF technology according to its operating frequency. These technologies are either standardized (so-called open technologies) or proprietary (so-called closed technologies). Open and standardized technologies, such as smart card technology MIFARE® and UHF technology EPC, can provide you with more supplier choices when you decide to expand your system with compatible readers and RFID readers in the future. On the contrary, closed technology means that only one supplier can provide you with compatible readers and RFID readers.

Using passive UHF technology, the recognition distance is from a few meters to more than ten meters. UHF technology is used for vehicle identification and logistics applications, and is also suitable for personnel identification in applications where a person carrying an RFID electronic tag passes through a designated place without showing the RFID electronic tag near the reader.

125 kHz and 13.56 MHz provide a recognition distance of several centimeters. These techniques are used for access control and asset tagging.

RFID electronic tag type

Depending on the deployment, the appearance of RFID electronic tags may vary, depending on the environment and purpose used. The RFID electronic tag can be a key ring, a wearable RFID electronic tag, a card or a wristband, and also depends on the deployment and use. The labels attached to different items are usually stickers or buttons. What all RFID electronic tags have in common is that they all have an RFID chip, which can then be read by the reader.

Depending on the material, RFID electronic tags can withstand various even harsh conditions. Generally, RFID electronic tags, especially those specially designed for industrial environments, can withstand chemicals, heat, water, dust, and impact well. For example, RFID electronic tags have been successfully used to mark clothes that need to be washed regularly.

For metal surfaces, there are special dedicated RFID electronic tags, and windshields also need special RFID electronic tags. RFID electronic tags dedicated to metal surfaces and windshields may not perform well on other surfaces, so it is very important to choose the right RFID electronic tags for each purpose.

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