RFID Readers – Everything you need to know

Do you own a business? Are you aware of what an RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) reader is? Well, owning a logistics business or any other business and not using an RFID reader might be a drawback for your company.

RFID is the groundbreaking technology for quick and easy asset management. Through RFID, one can receive product information and location at any point in time. Tags are attached to the asset that needs to be tracked. These tags consist of all the necessary information that is determined prior to the installation. By using RFID readers, one can translate and obtain the data from these tags.

An RFID reader is a portable or permanently attached device used to read a tag. It activates tags through the transmission of radio wave signals. Once the tag is activated, the waves from the tags are sent back to the antenna. After that, the antenna translates the waves into data. The RFID tag itself has a transponder.

Types of RFID readers

Based on how the tag communicates with the reader, there are three main classifications of RFID readers:

1. Active RFID tags

Active RFID tags run on batteries, and they emit signals, which are independent of RFID readers. This means the tag constantly emits the information every few seconds and up to a predetermined range.
Active RFID tags typically work on two frequencies which are 422 MHz and 915 MHz. RFID tags consist of three significant parts: an antenna, a tag, and an interrogator. These parts play a huge role in data transmission.
The battery of an active RFID reader lasts for 3-5 years. Unfortunately, its battery is not currently replaceable. Thus, when the battery life ends, the company needs to replace it.
The two types of active RFID readers are beacon and transponder.

2. Passive RFID system

Passive RFID systems are the tags that respond to the electromagnetic wave emitted by the reader. Hence, a reader is a must to be able to read the passive RFID tags and cannot be read otherwise. Passive RFID systems have three main readers technologies in the present market. They are named after their respective frequency bands.
We are mentioning them to help you know which one you require for your business:

  • Low frequency (LF): Their frequency band ranges from 125kHz-134kHz. Therefore the read range is up to 10 cm, which is relatively short.
    The RFID system that works on lower frequency can be used for tracking the livestock and acquiring control. However, it has a slight difference in frequencies and power levels.
  • High frequency (HF): The high-frequency readers’ band is more or less 13.56 MHz with a read range between 10cm and 1m. Thus, it has moderate sensitivity to interference.
    You can commonly use this for tickets, data transfer and payments as well. Furthermore, the cards we use for electronic money transfer also use HF RFID readers.
  • Ultra-high frequency (UHF): The range of the ultra-high frequency band is 300MHz-3GHz. It complies with RAIN RFID and works within the range of 860MHz-960MHz. The read range of this reader is as long as 12m. Moreover, it can transfer data much quicker than that of HF and LF.Despite all these benefits, it has a fundamental drawback. It is extremely sensitive to interference. However, manufacturers have made out some ways to keep its performance intact in severe environments. They are designing antennas, tags and readers to boost its performance.
    This passive ultra-frequency RFID reader is also known as RAIN RFID. Nowadays, most companies are getting hold of the RAIN RFID system. This is because it has many applications starting from wireless device configuration to pharmaceutical anti-counterfeiting to retail inventory management. Therefore, it appears that RAIN is a fast-growing system and has a promising future.

3. Semi-passive RFID readers

There is another hybrid category of reader. This is the primarily semi-passive RFID reader. However, semi-passive RFID tags consist of batteries but are not used in the process of communication. Instead, they use a backscatter which is similar to passive tags, which do not contain a battery.

Uses of RFID Readers

Uses of RFID readers in different industries

Each frequency band allows specific tags. For example, an LF reader can read only an LF tag. But idChamp® NF4 Reader-Writer, idChamp® RS4 Reader-Writer, and idChamp® RS3 Reader have made out a unique solution. They have invented a dual antenna that allows users to buy both HF and LF tags.

The uses of RFID that makes it so important are:

  • Visibility of supply chainRFID tracks raw materials from original manufacturers until it reaches the customers.
  • Access control – The security technique that minimises risk to your business.
  • Tool tracking – Manually scanning and keeping a record of assets can be tiring and time-consuming, but to make it faster, you just need to grab an RFID reader to scan the tags and get item specific details quickly.
  • Kiosks – The basic purpose of the RFID kiosk is to read and access related pieces of information interpreted or received from RFID tags and provide integrated RFID information and solution.
  • Tracking of inventories – Inventory tracking helps to determine the quantity of product left in the stock.
  • Material management – Material management is crucial for your business as it helps to identify and improve the quality of a specific product.
  • Real-time tracking – It monitors operations, assets and resources consistently at a high frequency sending real-time location updates.
  • Asset tracking – With the help of scanning the barcode tags, you can get continuous updates of your assets.
  • Interactive marketing – Interactive marketing being a vital part of the business, cannot be avoided. Thus, it can be accomplished with tremendous potency with the assistance of RFID readers.

How to assign the favourable RFID Reader for your industry

Are you looking for the appropriate RFID reader for your business? Then, learn to opt for the best one. RFID tags guide the selection of RFID readers.
Some of the necessary details that you must keep in mind are:

Form factor

User reviews and feedback have proved the efficacy of an RFID reader in various usages. Companies can even use them for shipping and receiving goods.
Mobile interrogators typically come with handheld readers. Handheld interrogators retain a broad selection of alternatives for communications. They are beneficial in tethering, accepting the power and attaining data dispatch. Some handhelds are wireless.
Hence, user reviews add credibility to the product and can help to determine its suitability for your business.

Regulations of the country

The use of the spectrum is invariably different in each country. Therefore, some regulatory conditions are mandatory for the functioning of the readers.

Read duration (based on reader transfer capability)

Read interval is correlated to the transmitted capacity from the interrogator. The higher the transmitted power, the higher would be the read distance.
The effective transmitted capability is related to the antenna, and the antenna efficiency can likewise read the extent. Some readers do not operate with the utmost enabled capacity due to the constraints on their strength origin. So, it is advisable to use tags and readers depending upon the read range.

Network and power connection

Connection with a network is one of the foremost requirements to receive power. Steady readers usually operate USB, Wi-Fi, POE and Ethernet.
Handheld readers usually accentuate Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, USB, Battery-powered. Thus, accessibility to a strong network and internet is important.

Invest in Technowave for the best RFID readers

Now that the importance of RFID readers is obvious, one might wonder when and how to start! Well, Technowave provides compatible and affordable RFID based solutions along with commendable service and recommendations. The remarkable RFID readers by Technowave are:

  • The UHF RFID Reader enables interaction with many tags at the same time, thus saving precious work hours.
  • With Nordic ID Stix UHF RFID USB Reader, an affordable credit card sized UHF RFID reader with USB connectivity does effective work at less setup cost.

Also, Technowave provides installation and services to ensure customer satisfaction. Furthermore, Technowave is in collaboration with some of the top brands like Nordic ID, Impinj and Omini ID that one would like to rely upon. These brands have assured product quality and are easy to maintain, which makes them appropriate for all businesses.

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