Radio-frequency identification or RFID is a general term used to describe devices which are used in transmitting data using radio waves. RFID tags use a RFID transceiver for exchanging information back and forth.
RFID tags are available in two varieties; active tags and passive tags. The first kind has an inbuilt power supply in the form of batteries and is designed to carry out certain specific tasks. Passive tags are dependent on RFID readers for power supply and thus, they are useless if a reader is not accessible.
In order to help you to make a choice in buying RFID tags, we give you further details of the two types of RFID tags available:
Passive RFID Tags:
A passive RFID tag has three main components: an integrated chip, an antenna and a substrate. The integrated chip, also called a circuit, is used to carry out certain specific tasks and also for storing information. Passive RFID tags can have different types of chips based on the design of the tag. The chips maybe read-only (RO), write once chip apart from read-many (WORM) or read-write (RW) chips. A basic RFID chip is capable of storing 96 bits of data, but, some kinds of chips have a storage space of 2-1000 bits.
The second part of a passive tag is the antenna. The antenna is attached to the chip of the tag. It is used for exchanging information through radio waves. The performance of a passive RFID tag is dependent on the size of the antenna. Big antennas have more capacity pass radio waves back and forth and therefore have better read ranges. Nevertheless, they still have lower read ranges than that of an active tag. The shape of the antenna also plays a role in the tag function. Coiled antennas transmit low frequency (LF) and high frequency (HF) radio waves since they are magnetic. “Rabbit-ear” or TV type antennas are useful in transmitting ultrahigh frequency (UHF) waves which are electric waves.
The third element of a passive RFID tag is the substrate, the substrate is a Mylar or a plastc covering which is used to connect the antenna and the chip. Passive tags are smaller in size and more economically priced. MrSpeedy API
Active RFID Tags:
Active RFID tags have similar components as that of passive tags. They also have a microchip and an antenna, the only difference being that the chips in active RFID tags are larger in size.
The primary difference between an active RFID tag and a passive RFID tag is a built-in power supply present in active tags. Most RFID tags use batteries although some use solar power too. The presence of a power supply allows the tag to be used as an independent reader which is capable of transmitting data without external help. Active tags have a wide broadcasting range of more than 100 feet as opposed to passive tags which have a range of 20 feet only.
Active RFID tags come with additional features like sensors, microprocessors and serial ports. They function on power supply obtained from the battery or solar cells. The advanced technology in an active RFID tag makes it more resourceful than passive tags as the active tags can be conveniently used for a large variety of purposes.
Active RFID tags can be used in food outlets and supermarkets to store information on products. From tagging individual items to making a note of the expiry dates of food stuff, active RFID tags can be very helpful in making customers aware of the products. Active RFID tags have temperature sensors which are able to figure out the possible expiry date of certain merchandise depending on the conditions in which it has been stored.
Whether you go for an active RFID or a passive tag, your choice depends mainly on your needs and also your budget.
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