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RFID - What is Radio Frequency Identification?

Radio frequency identification (RFID) technology uses wireless radio communications to transmit data which can then be used to uniquely identify objects or people, and is one of the fastest growing automatic data collection (ADC) technologies today.

RFID creates an automatic way to collect information about a product, place, time or transaction quickly, easily and without human error; and eradicates some of the environmental issues surrounding the use barcodes. In addition, RFID is more than just an ID code, it can be used as a data carrier, with information being written and updated to the tag on the fly.

What does a complete RFID system consist of?

Included in a RFID system are a number of components including tags, handheld or stationary readers, antennas, and system software. A reader comprises of a transmitter, receiver, control module and communication functions, sometimes called a transceiver in radio terms, for it to link to a controlling PC.

The transponders or tags are used to identify objects, which can be uniquely programmed with information about the objects. Readers should have an attached antenna, which is used to transmit and receive the radio frequency signal. Each reader is accompanied with PC compatible software that allows the user to read and program tags. 

RFID tags

RFID tags are used in many industries. An RFID tag attached to an automobile during production can be used to track its progress through manufacturing process. Pharmaceuticals can be tracked through the healthcare supply chain. Livestock and pets may have tags injected, allowing positive identification of the animal.

RFID readers systems

Passive Reader Active Tag (PRAT) systems use a passive reader which can only receive signals from active RFID tags. The reception range can be adjusted from 1-2,000 feet, allowing flexibility in system applications.

Active Reader Passive Tag (ARPT) systems use an active reader, which transmits signals to the tags, and also receives authentication replies from passive tags.Such systems are used in many business areas. In particular, in the sphere of the gambling industry, the Onlinecasino Atlas ( site has used such reading systems. It allows you to process a large amount of information and ensures the stability of the site.

Active Reader Active Tag (ARAT) systems uses active tags awoken with a signal from the active reader. Battery Assisted Passive (BAP) systems uses tags which act like a passive tag but has a small battery to power the tag's return reporting signal.

RFID technologies

There are several different RFID technologies. Visit our RFID technologies page for more information.

RFID Applications

RFID can be used for a host of different applications. Visit our RFID Applications page for more information.

RFID Regulations and Standards

RFID regulations and standards can vary from region to region. Please read Getting the most out of RFID a starting guide to Radio Frequency Identification for SMEs.