How do I know which frequency is right for my application?

Different frequencies have different characteristics that make them more useful for different applications.

For instance, low-frequency tags use less power and are better able to penetrate non-metallic substances. They are ideal for scanning objects with high-water content, such as fruit, but their read range is limited to less than three feet (1 meter). High-frequency tags work better on objects made of metal and can work around goods with high water content. They have a maximum read range of about three feet (1 meter). UHF frequencies typically offer better range and can transfer data faster than low- and high-frequencies. But they use more power and are less likely to pass through materials. And because they tend to be more “directed,” they require a clear path between the tag and reader.

UHF tags might be better for scanning boxes of goods as they pass through a dock door into a warehouse. It is best to work with a knowledgeable consultant, integrator or vendor that can help you choose the right frequency for your application.

Can I read long range RFID tags with any NFC enabled Android phone?

High power RFID uses 868MHz or 900MHz frequency bands, and up to 2W or 4W (i.e. LOTS of power) depending on the country or region you’re considering. In the US they use 900MHz (which is what it gets called. It’s 902 – 928MHz actually). In Europe the 868MHz band was allocated.

The range of high power RFID is approximately 30 yards or so, though I seem to recall there are slightly larger range applications too (though it may be a different, less common frequency band with differeny limits). Its typical usage scenario is Readers (wall-mounted devices with large panel-style antennas – like the security gates at the exit to a shop) which go on the exits of factories; scanning RFID tags on crates entering the factory on lorries. Alternatively you can have hand-portable Readers used to manually scan for tags using a different antenna style.

This is a cousin of NFC, but since the frequencies and tags are so different, NFC devices cannot make use of the 868/900MHz tags. Indeed, NFC range has been designed with ultra-close range in mind, which is managed by the power being VERY small: approxinately 0.2mW or less.

Interesting note: the “Near” of NFC does not hint at the close range (the range being a result of low power and nothing more. Similar to Class II Bluetooth and its low power causing low range): anything within 66 metres of an NFC device is within the device’s Near Field, which is where the technology gets its name.


EM4200 is a CMOS integrated circuit intended for use in electronic Read Only RF transponders. It is designed to replace seamlessly the EM Microelectronic-Marin Read Only ICs EM4100/4102 and EM4005/4105.

The circuit is powered by an external coil placed in an electromagnetic field and gets its master clock from the same field. By turning on and off the modulation current, the chip sends back the unique code contained in a factory pre-programmed laser ROM.

The 128 bit unique code is stored in laser programmed ROM. Several options are available to use 64, 96 or 128 bits of ROM.

The IC offers also different resonant capacitor versions,selectable by mask option (0pF, 75pF and 250pF) providing the same reading performances to ensure seamless replacement.


The new NTAG 413 DNA chip adds cryptographic authentication using what NXP are calling ‘Secure Unique NFC’ or SUN. This generates a secure one-time authentication code each time the NFC tag is tapped.

This is an important feature. Most secure NFC operations at this point required the mobile phone to have a pre-installed App for authentication. The App, typically on an Android phone, would access either a password protected, encrypted area or a secure area of the chip and use this information to confirm that the tag was indeed what it claimed to be.

By using a unique generated code each time the tag is tapped the NFC chip can include this dynamically into a URL (web address) on the tag. Therefore, the NFC authentication can happen over a standard web connection removing the requirement for a pre-installed App. Perhaps the easiest way to understand this process is that it’s similar to one of those bank key cards that generate a new number each time you log in.

To an extent, this isn’t new – chip manufacturer HID have had their Trusted Tag NFC product for some time. However, NXP appear to have built the framework for this around their popular, high performance and easy to use NTAG product. This is likely to allow faster market penetration and easier access to the inlay tags themselves.

RFID Library Management Solution

Libraries maintain a significantly large inventory of books and other items and organization is key to their operation. Keeping track of incoming and outgoing materials used to be recorded by hand. As time went on, computer systems were installed, which greatly increased the accuracy of records and efficiency. The next technological step was to add RFID tags to library materials and integrate them with the computer systems already in place.

RFID technology applications from SIS help libraries through improved efficiency in sorting, check-outs, and returns. With RFID solutions, books move faster through the system because multiple items can often be read in piles rather than individually. This is especially time saving when it comes to sorting books being returned to the library. It not only makes materials available to customers more quickly, it also allows library workers to save time and focus on other tasks. Additionally, libraries can equip RFID anti-theft gates at their entrances, to enhance the security of library materials. High read rate and long read range allows the two gate frames to set apart widely enough in order to handle the large flow of patrons moving in and out of the library.

High Temperature RFID Tags & Metal RFID Tags

High temperature environment? Curved surface? Underground? Need to RFID tag metal or liquid? In addition to our standard metal tags, we offer RFID tags that work in special-needs situations. Need an RFID tag that is super heat-resistant, acid-resistant or micro size? We have those too. We offer 10 different types of RFID tags – each one designed to meet a specific purpose.

Review the product chart below to find which RFID tag is right for your RFID application. Join POSCO, Samsung, LG, Korea Data, and US government contractors. Choose our high temperature RFID tags for your tagging needs. Join our clients who are already using our RFID tags to improve inventory management and supply chain management systems.

Our high temperature RFID tags are the preferred choice when you need an RFID tag that can withstand extreme high temperature conditions, be water resistant and chemical resistant.

High Temperature RFID Tag Features
* Ability to read UHF tags even on metal or liquid objects
* Strong signal capacitance even when surrounded by metal objects and structures
* Underground RFID tag has a read range of 50cm
* Other RFID tags have read range of 3-7m, depending on the model
* RFID Tags work in 900MHz
* Multi protocol support (EPC Class 0/0+, EPC Class 1, ISO 18000-6B / Ucode 1.19, Gen 2)
* Can be deployed in RFID networks of varying frequencies
* Made of ABS plastic, Teflon or compound depending on model

High Temperature RFID Tag Applications
* Inventory management for metals, liquids, and other valuable items
* Used for sheet metal, iron, and steel supply management
* RFID tagging of bags at airport facilities
* Air cargo ULD tracking
* Garment RFID tagging for retail stores
* Vehicle parts RFID tagging for real-time information
* Toxic waste dump tracking
* Weapon RFID tracking tags
* Used in correctional institutions for RFID tagging of inmate belongings, supplies
* Casino chip RFID tags
* Landmark and Surveyors RFID tags
* Outdoor RFID tags
* Tree RFID tags
* Inventory management for laboratory and medical equipment
* Autoclave Applications
* Hotel and institutional laundry RFID tags

Which Applications Need High Memory RFID Tags?

The best way to answer this question may not be necessarily to call out specific applications that may (or may not) need high memory – for example, asset tracking, etc. Rather, a better way to determine if an application needs high memory RFID tags, is to determine if the application will be able to have reliable access to a database (as needed) in order to pull up relevant information about the tagged object.

Because a database can theoretically store as much information as required about any given tagged object, as long as the user has access to that database, the only thing a tag really needs is a unique ID within that application. In such a case, the user would simply read the RFID tag and then be able to pull up as much information as needed (assuming the user interface is designed accordingly). The database access could occur in real-time if the RFID reader is connected to a network, but can also occur if, for example, a user has a mobile RFID handheld reader that has a local copy of the database. (In this example, the local database would need to periodically sync with the master database.)

In the event that reliable database access isn’t possible and the user must store data about the tagged item, then storing data on the tag itself may be the best option and this is when high memory RFID tags would be needed.

How do RFID tags work?

How do RFID tags work?
In addition to the way they are used, RFID tags can also be classified according to the presence or absence of a radio signal transceiver and an embedded power supply:

Active RFID tags: They embed a radio signal transceiver and a battery to power it. Thanks to the integrated power supply, active RFID tags can activate themselves regardless of the presence of a reader/interrogator in proximity and provide, at the same time, longer read ranges than passive RFID tags that have no battery and integrated transceiver. Furthermore active RFID tags provide excellent orientation insensitivity. Because of all these characteristics, active RFID tags are commonly used to develop Real Time Location Systems (RTLS).
Often, active RFID tags feature extra sensors such as those for the measurement of humidity, temperature and pressure.
Usually, active RFID tags are more expensive than passive RFID tags and have environmental limitations due to the presence of the battery.

Passive RFID tags: They do not have embedded transceiver and battery. They work only when the energy of the EM field generated by a reader is sufficient to wake them up. When activated, passive RFID tags elaborate the reader signal and reflect it modulated back to the interrogator, accordingly to a technique called “backscatter”. The operation is then concluded by the reader that receives and decodes the response.
Passive RFID tags are likely the most widespread RFID tags in the market because of their low prices that make them suitable for a wide range of applications. Moreover, passive tags can withstand challenging environmental conditions that can restrict the use of RFID tags featuring integrated batteries.
Usually, passive RFID tags provide shorter read ranges than active RFID tags and Battery-Assisted Passive RFID tags.
Most passive UHF RFID tags feature linearly polarized antennas that provide high directionality and therefore high orientation sensitivity with reduced read range when the relative orientation of the tag and reader antennas become less favorable. For this reason, most passive UHF RFID tags are not suggested when their orientation cannot be controlled during reading operations. However, some models of passive RFID tags feature antennas specifically designed to provide very low orientation sensitivity.
As passive RFID tags communicate with a reader only when they enter its action field, they are rarely used for RTLS applications.

Battery-Assisted Passive (BAP) RFID tags: Also these RFID tags use backscatter to work but, unlike passive RFID tags, they have an integrated battery that allows longer read range. In fact, while the read range of passive RFID tags can be strongly limited by the lack of the minimum power threshold necessary to “wake up” the IC when the reader signal is too weak, the battery in BAP RFID tags keeps the chip always on and therefore increases the read range. When the battery is discharged, BAP RFID tags continue working as common passive RFID tags.
BAP tags are usually more expensive than “comparable” passive tags and cheaper than active tags.
As for active RFID tags, battery can be a limiting factor for usage in extreme environmental conditions.

Passive RFID tags with Light panel and Ultracapacitor: These work like BAP RFID tags, but use the combination of a built-in light panel and a ultracapacitor instead of battery to extend the typical read ranges of passive mode. In lighted conditions, the solar panel harvests energy to provide extended read range and charge the ultracapacitor that allows high performance also for a limited time period of extreme low light or total darkness. If these RFID tags stay in darkness for too long time and the ultracapacitor is discharged, they continue to work like normal passive RFID tags till they are exposed to light again and the ultracapacitor is recharged.

Semi-passive RFID tags: Like passive RFID tags and BAP RFID tags, semi-passive RFID tags use the backscatter technique to communicate with the reader. They leverage a battery that can be used to power on-board microcontrollers and extra sensors, i.e. a temperature logger, or improve read performance not only in terms of read distance but also in terms of read speed, i.e. for high-speed Automatic Vehicle Identification purposes. When the battery is discharged, semi-passive RFID tags stop transmitting any signal.

When a choice between active, passive and other types of RFID tags has to be made, also the cost of readers is very important. It depends on many factors such as reader types, models and quantities needed to meet the goals and requirements of any specific RFID system.

What is EPC Gen 2?

Gen 2 is the shorthand name given to EPCglobal’s second-generation EPC protocol. It was designed to work internationally and has other enhancements such as a dense reader mode of operation, which prevents readers from interfering with one another when many are used in close proximity to one another.

How does the EPC work?
The EPC (electronic product code) is a string of numbers and letters, consisting of a header and three sets of data partitions. The first partition identifies the manufacturer. The second identifies the product type (stock keeping unit or SKU) and the third is the serial number unique to the item. By separating the data into partitions, readers can search for items with a particular manufacturer’s code or product code. Readers can also be programmed to search for EPCs with the same manufacturer and product code, but which have unique numbers in a certain sequence. This makes it possible, for example, to quickly find products that might be nearing their expiration date or that need to be recalled.
Why is EPC technology important?
EPC technology could dramatically improve efficiencies within the supply chain. The vision is to create near-perfect supply chain visibility—the ability to track every item anywhere in the supply chain securely and in real time. RFID can dramatically reduce human error. Instead of typing information into a database or scanning the wrong bar code, goods will communicate directly with inventory systems. Readers installed in factories, distribution centers, and storerooms and on store shelves will automatically record the movement of goods from the production line to the consumer.
How can a company track items using EPCs?
Companies have to create a network of RFID readers. In a warehouse for example, there could be readers around the doors on a loading dock and on every bay. When a pallet of goods arrives, the reader on the dock door picks up its unique license plate. Computers look up what the product is using the EPC Network. Inventory systems are alerted to its arrival. When the pallet is put in bay A, that reader sends a signal saying item 1-2345-67890 is in bay A.

On-Metal RFID Tags

On-Metal RFID Tags
On-Metal passive RFID tags are designed specifically to work on metal and similar reflective surfaces (e.g. carbon composites). While on-metal tags will work when not attached directly to metal surfaces this could have a significant impact on performance. Due to recent breakthroughs tags are now being produced that work in both on-metal and non-metal applications. On-metal RFID tags are three dimensional and in most cases quite durable.

Typical On-Metal Applications Include:
IT & Enterprise Asset Management
Healthcare Assets
Industrial Asset Management
Returnable Transport Items (metal shipping containers, gas cylinders)
Tools Tracking
Aerospace & Defense
Manufacturing Work In Process
Vehicle Identification
Shipping and Logistics
Oil & Gas