What is RFID?

Radio Frequency IDentification

In today's society, we are always trying to advance in productivity and efficiency. RFID has taken a major step in advancing different technological solutions for inventory tracking, toll booth management, asset tracking, etc. RFID works in a very simple yet effective way. An RFID system is usually composed of three devices: Transmitter, Tags and Antenna.


The Transmitter or RFID Reader is an external device which is designed to output radio waves. This device sends out radio waves at different frequencies. These frequencies determine what type of range the reader would detect RFID Tags. The RFID Reader sends enough radio waves to start the RFID tag’s circuit. The activated tag then transmits the signal with an ASCII/Binary/EPC or other format of unique number. This unique serial number is related in a database to represent a product or information.


RFID Tags are the receiver component of the system which receives the radio waves. The RFID tag is a crucial component of this system. There are two types of tags, active tags and passive tags.

Active Tags

An active tag has its own power source. The advantage of this particular tag is that it allows the reader to receive the signal even if it is far away. A disadvantage is that it has a limited life span.

Passive Tags

A passive tag does not require a battery or any other external power supply. The advantage of using a passive tag is that the lifespan for this particular tag is almost infinite. The tag is composed of a microchip and a uniquely designed antenna. The tag requires radio waves from the RFID Reader to start up the circuit.

Non-Metal Tag

Metal Tag

All-Purpose Tag


The Antenna and its operating frequencies are used to determine the read range between the RFID tags and the reader. A high gain antenna would extend the range of tag detection on the RFID Reader. There are three most common levels of frequencies that RFID tags and readers operate. The three levels are Low Frequency reader/tags, High Frequency reader/tags and Ultra-High Frequency reader/tags.

Low Frequencies

The Low Frequency reader/tags work within less than 500 KHz up to 8.2 MHz. This has a read range of 1 inch up to 1 foot.

High Frequencies

The High Frequency reader/tags work from 13.55 MHz to approximately 500 MHz. This has a read range of 3 feet.

Ultra High Frequencies

The Ultra-High Frequency reader/tags work from 900 to 928 MHz up to 2.5 GHz. This has a read range of 15 to 40 feet.


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