RFID Readers and Software Development Kits
The heart of an RFID system is a reader, or interrogator. The reader sends a signal through an antenna to interrogate the RFID tag for responses.
To mitigate frequency selective fading and co-channel interference, COTS readers use channel frequency hopping. This results in a discontinuity of phase values every 0.2 s.
As the name suggests, RFID read range is the distance from which a passive tag can be reliably detected and communicated with. It’s often used as a primary performance metric, but it shouldn’t be the only criterion when selecting an RFID reader for a specific application.
RF transmit power, in decibels (dB), determines how far the reader can reach. While increasing transmit power increases read range, too much can reduce sensitivity, and overdoing it can cause interference with other nearby readers and other devices.
The directional pattern of a reading antenna also influences read range. A circularly polarized antenna provides longer read range than a linearly polarized one. This is because the polarization creates an arc of RF that’s strongest in one direction, and less strong in the other.
Another factor that can impact read range is the tag orientation. Typically, the tag is most sensitive when it’s facing the reader directly. But flip it around or place it on a different surface, and its readability declines.
In addition to determining the correct reader antenna for a given material, orientation and read angle, users should consider the type of tag used. Some tags are engineered to take advantage of specific materials’ benefits, or to compensate for their deficiencies in read range. The right choice for a project can significantly improve reliability.
An RFID reader sends a signal to the antenna, which creates an RF field. When the RF waves reach an RFID tag, they are activated and transmit data back to the antenna. The information is then transmitted to the reader, which converts it into a digital signal and then into a form that can be processed. Once the digital signal is transformed, it can be retrieved by any database or ERP system.
The data sent from the RFID PVC Card tag can reveal valuable information about an item’s location. For example, an RFID tag in a clothing store can tell you which styles customers selected, where they were tried on, and how many try-ons they underwent. This data is important for optimizing inventory, enabling better customer service, and improving revenue.
A major benefit of RFID systems is their ability to perform thousands of readings per second. These high volumes of readings improve worker productivity and accuracy, especially in busy environments with a large number of items to be read. RFID technology is also durable and can withstand harsh environments.
Some commercial COTS RFID readers use frequency hopping to mitigate the effects of frequency selective fading and co-channel interference. These devices typically have external antenna ports that can connect anywhere from one additional RFID antenna to up to eight different RFID antennas. The amount of antennas connected to a reader depends on the area of coverage required for an application.
An antenna is a vital component of an RFID reader that helps with its performance. It sends electromagnetic waves with both electrical and magnetic properties that cause a reaction in the tags. RFID readers use different types of antennas that differ in the shape and polarization of the signal they produce.
The polarization of an RFID antenna is crucial because it determines whether the electromagnetic waves radiate in a vertical or horizontal direction. Linear polarized antennas transmit radio frequency signals in one plane while circular polarization radiates the signal in a sphere, either clockwise or counterclockwise. The best polarization for an RFID antenna is the one that matches up with the tag’s polarization and is compatible with its orientation.
RFID tags are small devices that store information such as an ID number and a status (High or Low). They can be attached to products in retail, manufacturing, and distribution settings. Some tags have sensors that collect data from a product, such as the temperature of perishable goods.
RFID is a wireless technology that allows tags to communicate with a reader and exchange information. It offers greater flexibility and faster data transfer rates than barcodes and other forms of identification. RFID is particularly useful in retail, where items move quickly and are packed in a variety of shapes and sizes. It is also used to track tools, equipment, inventory, assets, and people.
Software Development Kit (SDK)
A software development kit (SDK) is a set of programming tools that enable users to create applications or APIs that interact with an RFID reader and provide data back to the user’s application. Typically, these kits include an integrated development PVC Card environment (IDE) that allows developers to work with the reader’s application programming interface through a visual editor and debugger.
The TERTIUM BLE RFID SDK allows you to develop and deploy an app that can interact with our readers through the Bluetooth Low Energy communication standard. This app can be used for a variety of RFID-related tasks such as management, inventory, asset tracking and many more.
FEIG Electronics is constantly striving for improvement and provides superb customer support to accompany their RFID solutions. In this episode of the Identify Podcast, field applications engineer Sascha Brueck dives into FEIG’s software development kits, which allow system and application integrators as well as third-party product developers to integrate FEIG RFID readers with all their functions into their own software systems.
Unitech RFID SDK is a comprehensive set of tools that streamlines the process of writing codes to control an RFID device. With this versatile and intuitive tool, developers can build customized apps in their preferred programming language such as Java for Android devices, Swift or Object-C for iOS, or C# for Windows. The advanced ASCII 2 protocol offers easy to use commands and parameters allowing developers to make maximum use of the Unitech RFID device.