Radio Frequency Identification

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Radio Frequency Identification Device (RFID)
Businesses, today, are researching ways to improve their daily processes, both logically and physically. This may include better reporting of profit and loss, return on investment using a low cost technological solution. Radio Frequency Identification Device (RFID) is one technology that many companies are considering implementing. Description of Radio Frequency Identification Device (RFID)

Department of Homeland Security defines Radio Frequency Identification Device (RFID) as "wireless systems that allow a device to read information contained in a wireless device or "tag" – from a distance without making a physical contact or requiring a line of sight between the two. RFID provides a method to transmit and receive data from one point to another." RFID is an automatic identification method relying on storing and remotely retrieving data using devices called RFID tags or transponders.

Historically, the RFID technology was around in 1920s; however, the first known device was invented in 1945 and was said to be used as an espionage tool; however, this tool was just a listening device and not an ID tag. The actual RFID system was developed around 1960s.

RFID System
The RFID System includes the tags, transponders, transceivers and application to retrieved and read data from tags to transponders and application software. Additionally, the human component must be skilled and trained for the application. RFID Tags

The RFID tag is a small object that can be attached to or incorporated into a product, animal, or person. There are three types of tags: passive, semi-passive and active. The passive tag uses no internal power. This tag is powered when radio frequency signal sends the electrical current to the internal circuit of the tag to transmit a response and holds an identification number only. Due to the lack of onboard power, the passive tag can be quite small. The size can be as thin as a paper and small as the tip of a human finger.

Passive tags have a distance ranging up to 20 feet. The type of memory is read only. The life of the tag is up to 20 years. The low range cost is from $0.20 cents to several dollars. "The development of these inexpensive tags has created a revolution in RFID adoption and made wide scale use of them a real possibility for government and industry organizations." (United States GAO 2005).

The semi-passive tag is similar to the passive tag with the exception of using a small battery. The battery allows the tag to be constantly powered. The battery remains dormant until a signal is receive from the transceiver. The batteries life ranges from two to five years. The range of the semi-passive tag is up to 100 feet. These tags can read and write information to the tag's memory. "Semi-passive tags can be connected to sensors to store information for container security devices." (United States GAO 2005). These tags can perform functions such as monitoring environmental conditions to include external inputs such as temperature, pressure, chemicals and tamper detectors. The tags size is compared to a quarter. The cost is considered mid-range ranging from two to 10 dollars.

The active tags contains an antenna and a chip and a power source and transmitter which sends a continuous signal. The tags have read and write capabilities, can connect to multiple sensors to monitor inputs such as temperature or pressure, can control outputs such as valves and switches and have built-in decision-making ability; for example, to automatically deactivate a piece of equipment if a temperature threshold is exceeded. Additionally, multiple tags can be read, updated, or actively transmitting information nearly simultaneously, at a rate of about 50 tags per second. They can initiate communication up to 750 feet depending on battery power. The tag's life is five to 10 years. These tags are expensive and are used...
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