RFID – Radio Frequency Identification
RFID, which stands for “Radio Frequency Identification,” is a contactless identification technology that supports both low-frequency (125/134.2 kHz) and high-frequency (13.56 MHz) alternating magnetic fields. It consists of an information carrier (RFID tag, card or transponder) and a reading device (RFID reader or scanner). When the fields of one of those elements is within the reach range of the other, they can communicate. Furthermore, there are two types of RFID tags: passive and active. Instead of needing their own battery, passive transponders are powered by an RFID reader.
Table of contents
- Benefits of RFID
- Does ELATEC also offer UHF readers?
- Where can ELATEC's RFID elemets be uses?
- What range do RFID readers have?
- Does ELATEC also supply software for RFID readers?
- What makes “RS232” special?
- How large are transponders and how are they installed?
- What is the difference between a RFID reader with and without antennas?
Benefits of RFID
Compared to other identification methods (e.g., barcodes) it offers many advantages such as:
Speed / security / ease of use / low costs
- Identification of moving objects
- Easy installation and integration
- Several information carriers (tags) can be read simultaneously
- No special positioning or optics needed
- Passive transponders do not need a battery
- Highly secure, with no possibility of remote spying
- Information carriers (tags) are highly compact and inexpensive
- Extremely secure when used with contactless smartcards
ELATEC provides readers for 125/134.2 kHz and 13.56 MHz with various configurations and form factors. We offer readers for desktop/office applications, for installation on walls and front panels, and as OEM modules for integration in more complex IT systems. The readers are supplied with USB and RS232 interfaces as standard. There are a range of USB stacks available for USB applications, including keyboard emulation, virtual COM ports, and CCID.
Does ELATEC also offer UHF readers?
ELATEC readers are available for three RFID frequencies. It does not have any UHF products in its portfolio.
Alongside LF (125/134 kHz) and HF (13.56 MHz), UHF is another frequency around the 860 or 950 MHz mark depending on region. UHF transponders are popular options. However, the technical process involved in the readers and transponders is completely different. Although ELATEC does not currently offer any products for these applications, it is tracking developments on the market very closely.
Where can ELATEC’s RFID elements be used?
- Identity verification (eg. of employees)
- Secure printing
- Smart offices
- Process automation
- Medical technology
- Charging stations for electromobility
- Animal identification
- Vending machines
- Access control
- Time tracking
- Public transport
What range do RFID readers have?
The range depends on the transponder, the reader and the ambient conditions and will typically be between 2 and 10 cm. Custom-designed versions permit ranges of up to 25 cm.
Does ELATEC also supply software for RFID readers?
ELATEC offers the following software solutions:
Comprehensive tool for creating and managing customized configurations that can be uploaded to the reader.
An intuitive tool for sending NFC messages, e.g., from a TWN4 to an NFC-compatible cell phone and vice versa.
A calculation tool that helps when dimensioning the antenna matching circuit for the TWN4 Nano module.
A program designed for professional users of the TWN4 that allows individual API calls to be processed one by one.
Apps for Android and iOS devices that enable the NFC, HCE, and BLE features for timekeeping.
What makes “RS232” special?
RS232 is also known as the “serial interface.” It has largely disappeared from PCs, laptops, and most consumer devices and has been replaced by USB. In many areas, however, such as process and automation technology as well as embedded applications, RS232 can still be found as a standard interface. Its simplicity means that devices can be started up quickly and easily.
ELATEC uses a modified RS232 plug-in connector for RFID readers that allows the supply voltage to be fed directly into it.
How large are transponders and how are they installed?
The size of a transponder varies depending on its intended use, e.g., from the size of a credit card to roughly the visible part of a ball pen refill.
Transponders can either be left exposed or installed (stuck, screwed, sealed) inside other objects. When used in animal identification, for instance, transponders are also implanted under the skin.
What is the difference between a RFID reader with and without antennas?
Readers with antennas are products that can be used straight out of the box to read transponders. You simply install them, and they go to work. This product category is particularly useful if:
- The reader will be operated as a desktop device, among other uses
- There are no special requirements for the designated space (e.g., for the integration of the reader as a component in another device)
- Fast availability in the market is required
Readers without antennas require a motherboard to ensure energy supplies and data communications. The reader antennas must also be provided. The antennas must be installed directly on the motherboard or connected with a cable from their detached position. Areas for which this option is appropriate include:
- Special requirements for the designated space (e.g., lack of room)
- Adjustment/optimization of the transponder geometry
- Locations where metal is found near the reader antenna
- Security requirements, e.g., to increase security against interception during encrypted communications between the transponder and reader. In this setting, the detached antenna is located in a non-secure area. But the reader in which the encryption takes place is in a secure area that an attacker cannot breach.