Frequently asked questions about RFID

Answers to your questions about RFID technology and its applications.

RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) is an electronic identification technology that enables the exchange of data between a Reader and a chip. This technology enables data to be collected, shared and used for identification and traceability purposes.
A distinction is made between passive and active RFID. A passive RFID tag has no energy source of its own. The electromagnetic field emitted by the Reader RFID antenna activates the RFID chip, enabling it to read the information contained in its memory. In contrast, an active RFID tag uses its own energy - battery or rechargeable battery. It operates autonomously.
There are several passive RFID frequencies. Low frequency (LF - 125 kHz or 134 kHz),ultra high frequency (UHF or 850-960 MHz) or Rain RFID and high frequency (HF or 13.56MHz). NFC(Near Field Communication) technology is a subset of HF.

There are several differences between UHF RFID and NFC:

  1. Frequency

UHF RFID is based on the 850-960 MHz frequency band, and NFC on the 13.56 MHz frequency.

2. Reading performance

Several UHF RFID tags can be identified at the same time, in just a few seconds and up to a distance of 20 meters. NFC tags are read individually and on contact.

3. Playback mode

To read a UHF RFID tag, a special Reader is required. An NFC tag can be read with a smartphone, making it easier to access information.

4. Interference

UHF RFID works using the electrical component of the radio wave, while NFC uses the magnetic component of the radio wave. The latter has a data transmission rate of 106kbps to 424kbps, while UHF RFID has a rate of 40kbps to 640kbps. This means that UHF RFID transmits data faster and offers greater reading distance, but radio waves are more sensitive to interference from metals and liquids.

5. Costs

The initial investment for implementing NFC is lower than for RFID, since in the case of the RFID system, the cost of the readers has to be taken into account.

For Know more see our article UHF tag vs NFC tag: what are the differences? Which one to choose?

There are several differences between RFID and barcodes:

1. Reading distance

With passive RFID, an object can be identified from a distance of just a few centimeters up to 20 meters! A barcode can be read at a maximum distance of 1 to 2 meters.

2. Identification speed

RFID enables multiple, blind object identification in a matter of seconds. However, only one barcode can be scanned at a time.

3. Eye contact

Even when embedded in a material (concrete, rubber, plastic, metal...) and invisible, the RFID tag can still be identified. A barcode is no longer detectable once it has been covered by substances such as dirt, grease, liquids and so on.

4. The memory

Much more data can be stored in an RFID tag (up to 64 Kbits). The storage capacity of a barcode is generally limited to generic information such as name, serial number and manufacturer.
The data stored in a Datamatrix or QR code is fixed, whereas the data in the memory of an RFID tag can be modified.


For Know more, see our article What's the difference between RFID and QR codes? Which is the best solution for your business?

Passive RFID is used in many applications: laundry management, production tracking, inventory management, object traceability (tools, spare parts, finished products, etc.), PPE traceability, maintenance tracking, asset location, livestock or domestic animal identification, etc.

The reading distance of a UHF tag or label depends on many factors: the type of tag (antenna design, type of chip, etc.), the type of Reader (fixed or mobile, antenna power, etc.), the substrate and environment (presence of metal or water, for example), the number of tags in the environment, etc.

Under optimum conditions, the tag can be read from up to twenty meters away. On the other hand, in particularly harsh conditions, such as when the tag is embedded in certain materials(concrete, plastic, wood...), the reading distance may be reduced.

Passive RFID technology can be used at several frequencies, depending on the constraints and needs of the application:

  • Low Frequency BF (125-134 KHz) used for tracking livestock and pets, etc.
  • High-frequency HF (13.56 MHz) used for applications such as access control or rental equipment tracking.
  • Ultra High Frequency UHF (840 - 940 MHz), also known as Rain RFID, is most often used for inventory, asset traceability, maintenance tracking...

RFID uses radio frequency radiation to identify RFID tags and labels.

An RFID system enables data to be exchanged between an identifier and a Reader. To operate, it comprises an identifier, a mobile or fixedReader composed of an OEM RFID module and an integrated or externalized antenna, and a computer system to process the data collected.

GS1 's EPC UHF Gen2 V2 is a royalty-free standard constituting the global benchmark for UHF RFID tagging of manufactured products. It is independent of the various regulations governing the use of UHF bands worldwide.

Smartphones (with NFC) can read an NFC chip. In fact, they cannot read UHF and BF chips.

In a wide range of sectors: aeronautics, railways, energy, defense, retail...

Insofar as chips can have a lifespan of several decades, the durability of a tag will essentially depend on its packaging and theenvironment in which it is used. For example, a tag regularly subjected to high oven temperatures will be less resistant over time.

The cost of a tag depends on the chip itself, but even more so on packaging for long life and resistance in industrial environments, and on memory capacity. memory capacity.

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