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RFID: Radio Frequency Identification

RFID enables contactless authentication that is easy, secure and flexible.

What is RFID?

RFID stands for Radio Frequency Identification. The technology enables contactless identification via alternating magnetic fields. The RFID readers/writers from ELATEC support both the low-frequency range (LF) at 125 or 134.2 kHz and the high-frequency range (HF) at 13.56 MHz. For RFID, you need an information carrier, called the transponder (card, tag or paper label), and a reader/writer (RFID reader). When the transponder is within the (near) field of a reader, they can communicate with each other.

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What are the benefits of RFID?

Compared to other identification methods such as barcodes or magnetic strips, RFID offers many advantages.

Rapid identification of moving objects.

Several information carriers (transponders) can be read simultaneously.

Secure technology with almost no possibility of remote spying.

Maximum security when used with contactless smartcards.

Easy to install and integrate.

No special optics or positioning needed for the transponder.

Passive transponders do not need a battery.

Transponders are compact and inexpensive.

What are the fields of application for RFID devices?

The potential uses for contactless authentication are virtually unlimited. RFID can significantly improve security and convenience in the following areas, among others:


What range do RFID devices have?

The range depends on the RFID reader/writer, the transponder used and the ambient conditions. As a rule, it will be between 2 and 10 cm. In special applications, it can extend to 25 cm.


Does ELATEC also supply software for RFID devices?

ELATEC offers the following software packages for its RFID readers/writers.


Comprehensive tool for creating and managing customized configurations that can be conveniently uploaded to the RFID reader.


An easy-to-use tool for sending NFC messages: e.g., from a TWN4 series RFID reader/writer to an NFC-compatible mobile phone (and vice versa).


A calculation tool that helps when dimensioning the antenna matching circuit for the TWN4 MultiTech Nano module.


A program designed for professional users of TWN4 that allows individual API calls to be processed one by one.

Mobile Badge

An app for Android and iOS devices that enables NFC, HCE, and BLE functionalities.


What makes “RS232” special?

RS232 is also known as the “serial interface.“ It has largely disappeared from PCs, notebooks and other consumer devices and been replaced by USB. In many commercial applications, however – such as process and automation technology as well as embedded applications – RS232 is still used as a standard interface. Its simplicity means that devices can be started up quickly and easily.

ELATEC equips its RFID readers/writers with USB and a modified RS232 plug-in connector that allows direct feed-in of the supply voltage.


What different types of RFID transponders are available?

RFID transponders (information carriers) can be exposed or mounted and installed inside other objects (bonded, bolted or molded). The most common forms are plastic cards (e.g., employee IDs, customer cards), tags (e.g., key fobs) or paper labels. When used in animal identification, transponders are also implanted under the skin.

Transponders vary in size according to their intended purpose. They can range from the size of a pinhead to a credit card.

A distinction is made between active and passive RFID transponders. Active transponders have their own energy source (battery), while passive transponders are supplied with energy through the electromagnetic field of the RFID reader.

Devices with/without an antenna

Why does ELATEC offer RFID devices with and without antennas?

The decision to use an RFID reader/writer with or without an antenna depends on the intended area of use. To ensure that you have every available option, ELATEC offers its RFID readers in both versions. RFID readers with antennas offer plug-and-play capability – you just set them up and they’re ready to go. Transponders can be read right out of the box. They are immediately ready for use and are especially suited for the following scenarios:


  • The reader is operated as a desktop device.
  • There are no special requirements for the designated space (no lack of space for the RFID device).
  • The authentication solution needs to be launched as soon as possible.


RFID reader/writer modules without antennas are much smaller in size. However, they require a motherboard to ensure energy supply and data communication. The antenna must be separately provid. The antenna can either be installed directly on the motherboard or connected with a cable from its detached position. This combination is suggested in the following instances:


  • There are special requirements for the designated space: e.g., lack of space resulting from the integration of the reader as a component in a different device.
  • The RFID reader must be individually adjusted or optimized for the transponder geometry.
  • There is metal in the vicinity of the reader antenna that might interfere with reception.
  • To enhance protection from eavesdropping/interception during data exchange: e.g., with encrypted communication between transponder and RFID reader. In this scenario, a detached antenna is located in a non-secure area. In contrast, the reading module in which decryption takes place is installed in a secure area that is inaccessible to attackers.
RFID devices with UHF

Does ELATEC offer RFID devices with UHF technology?

ELATEC currently offers RFID readers/writers for low frequency (LF) at 125 or 134.2 kHz and high frequency (HF) at 13.56 MHz.

Alongside LF and HF, UHF technology (ultra-high frequency) is another RFID frequency used around 860 or 950 MHz (depending on the region). However, the technical process involved in the RFID devices and transponders is completely different. While we are closely monitoring activities in the market, we do not currently have a reader for the UHF range in our portfolio.


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