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How do RFID readers work?
When you use an RFID reader, it produces an alternating magnetic field at a frequency of 125 / 134.2 kHz (low frequency) or 13.56 MHz (high frequency). This field supplies energy to one or more transponder (media) located in its range. At the same time, data is exchanged between the reader and transponder through this field.
What can I use RFID systems for?
There are many potential uses for RFID technologies. Do you need technology-based personal identification (e.g. employee ID, personal ID, passport)? Not a problem with RFID! RFID is also a reliable solution for the identification of animals, contactless payments, time recording and physical access control (e.g. doors, turnstiles, lockers, ski lifts). And that’s nowhere near everything: Other potential applications include product identification, product protection (e.g. theft prevention), goods tracking, lifecycle management, Internet of Things (or IoT), fleet management and car or bike sharing.
How does RFID benefit me?
When you use RFID transponders, one of the benefits is that they don’t need visual contact to be read or written. RFID gives you a comparatively wear-free technology. For instance, there are no contacts that deteriorate (neither in the reader nor the transponder). This eliminates scanning problems that can occur with the contact-based credit cards or magnet stripe cards. Unlike printed barcodes, you can also write information to many RFID tags. RFID is also capable of withstanding environmental conditions like the wind, weather, UV radiation, soiling and chemicals. RFID also provides a scalable degree of security (e.g., from simple read-only tags to high security transponders tested by EAL/common-criteria).
What range can I use with an RFID reader?
Low-frequency and high-frequency RFID readers can typically be used within a distance of two to ten centimeters – depending on the transponder, your reader, and the surrounding conditions. There are special applications that give you ranges up to 25 centimeters. The relatively short range can be viewed as a clear affirmative action by an individual. For instance, a door lock will not release until the user has placed his or her ID directly in front of the reader. It will not do so unintentionally when the user simply happens to pass by it.
What is the difference between RFID and NFC?
RFID is an overarching term, and NFC is a potential usage technology – RFID could be called the fruit, and NFC then a pear. NFC thus builds on RFID technology and is particularly widespread in many smartphones, for instance, in payment, online banking, physical access control, IoT, SmartPoster and Connection Handover (from NFC to wifi/Bluetooth) applications.
Where can I find documentation and tools for ELATEC products?
You can find all documentation and tools to download in the Support section of our website. You can also download the various developer packages for TWN3/TWN4 readers and TCPConv. These packages give you all the tools for testing and configuring your devices. You can also access the manuals and device specifications. In addition, the “Data sheets” section gives you brief descriptions and specifications for all TWN3/TWN4 readers.
Do I have to install additional drivers for ELATEC readers in the standard keyboard emulation mode?
You don’t need any extra drivers for the standard keyboard emulation mode. ELATEC makes it easy for you with plug and play.
Can I use ELATEC readers to read different frequencies?
With ELATEC, you can choose from a portfolio that offers low frequency (125 / 134.2 kHz), high frequency (13.56 MHz) and multi-frequency (125 / 134.2 kHz + 13.56 MHz) readers.
What scanning distance or range can I use with ELATEC readers?
The maximum scanning distance for your ELATEC reader depends on several factors, such as
- the size of the tag antenna
- the RFID standard of the tag chip
- the positioning of the tag in the reader's field
- ambient factors such as metal or other material near the tag and/or reader
With optimal conditions, you can use ELATEC readers with RFID technology in distances up to ten centimeters.
Software and Configuration
Which configuration tool can I use to configure TWN4 readers?
You can configure TWN4 readers with the Appblaster Tool. It is available in the TWN4 developer package. You can use the tool to configure the reader in six ways:
- Programming of firmware image
- Loading of pre-compiled firmware images
- Configurable project
- Producing an image from an interactive configuration
- Source code project
- Producing an image from a written C code
Which configuration tool can I use to configure TWN3 readers?
You can configure TWN3 readers with the TWNConfig tool from the TWN3 developer package. There are three possible scenarios:
- Loading of pre-compiled firmware images
- Importing/exporting of configuration files
- Loading and compiling of scripts
What do I use the AppBlaster.exe and Director.exe files for?
- You can use AppBlaster to change the configuration of TWN4 readers.
- Use Director to test the reader’s API.
Can I export the current configuration of a TWN3 reader?
You can export the configuration of a TWN3 reader with the TWNConfig tool. However, you cannot extract keys that have cryptographic functionality.
Can I export TWN4 firmware or apps from the reader?
You can export neither firmware nor apps from the TWN4 reader. It is therefore possible to store confidential keys and other cryptographic functions as part of an app. You can also be certain that devices can’t be cloned and that intellectual property is protected.
TWN4-P or PI option – what should I decide?
There are three TWN4 reader versions to choose from at ELATEC: Standard and P or PI options. Both of the P options give you extra functions compared to the standard reader.
With this option, you can expand the range of supported NF transponders (125 kHz) to include the following functions: Cotag, G-Prox6, HID DuoProx II, HID ISO Prox II, HID MicroProx, HID ProxKey III, HID Prox, HID Prox II, Indala, ioProx and Nexwatch.
Choosing the PI option gives you support for HID iClass cards. The option allows the TWN4 reader to access a blocked section of your storage. If you want to read the number printed on the HID iClass card, the TWN4 reader with PI option is necessary. The printed number is part of the PAC number (Physical Access Control) embedded in the HID iClass card storage. An extra chip, the SE processor, is essential for this functionality. This chip lets you read the PAC when it is inserted in the SAM slots. If you use HID iClass SEOS cards, you can only select readers with the PI option, since the UID of the card technology outlined above is randomly assigned.
Please note: With TWN4 standard and P option-capable readers, you can only read the UID of the HID iClass cards, not the printed number.