What Makes an RFID Reader Work?
Whether it’s tracking tens of thousands of marathon runners or helping workers get more done in less time, RFID technology improves accuracy and efficiency. But what makes RFID work?
An RFID reader sends radio waves to power passive tags, which in turn transmit backscattered data. This strong CW signal and limited transmitter-to-receiver isolation create leakage signals known as self jammers (SJ). The result is reduced reader sensitivity, which may not meet standards.
Whether you’re tracking industrial components on a production line, tagged items being transported from one room to another, or tools and laptops that often get misplaced and need returning, RFID readers can make this process faster, more reliable and less costly. This is especially true when line of sight isn’t needed and the antennas can work at a distance.
Location accuracy depends on the type of reader you have: Passive HF systems tell you that a tag is within range, and passive UHF systems provide millimeter-level readings. The sensitivity of the tags is also a factor. Using linear or circular polarization can increase your read range and the accuracy of the tracking.
Regardless of the system you choose, you can improve your read range by adjusting the reader’s transmission power, which is measured in dB. As a general rule of thumb, increasing the power setting by 3 dB doubles your range. You can also improve the accuracy of RFID-based localization by using a method that tracks movement trajectories with more precision, such as those based on RF phase.
The key to an RFID system’s success is its ability to scan tags at high speeds and over long distances. This allows employees to focus on their tasks and improves productivity.
A warehouse with RFID readers can take inventory counts in minutes rather than hours, decreasing labor costs and reducing shrinkage. Additionally, RFID RFID Reader allows for automated receipts and eliminates the need for line-of-sight scanning.
As a result, RFID reduces the time spent on manual data entry and eliminates transcription errors and duplicated information. When the RFID software is configured correctly, it automatically updates ERP or financial management systems. This automates processes and eliminates manual form filling, resulting in more time for associates to focus on other duties.
An RFID reader’s efficiency depends on its read range, which can be improved by varying antenna polarization and using a high-frequency transmitter that reduces interference with other radio signals, such as those used in electronic medical devices. For example, linear polarized RFID antennas create an EM field along a single plane while circular polarized antennas spin to cover multiple planes at once.
RFID’s most popular use case is inventory tracking, but it can also enhance operations in other areas. Accurate product-location information lowers the cost and complexity of managing inventory, speeds picking and packing, and reduces waste.
RFID technology uses radio frequencies to transmit data from an antenna and then to the RFID tag. The chip then transforms this data into a form that can be read by the reader. The data can then be transmitted to back-end systems to be processed and stored.
Security experts have not yet reported a rash of RFID hacks, but there is concern about possible abuses. For instance, hackers may be able to intercept signals from a passive RFID tag and get the ID and account details without the owner’s knowledge. This technique is known as RFID skimming.
To prevent this, you can install directional antennas or use polarization to deflect unwanted signals. You can also keep a close eye on the sensitivity settings of the RFID readers. The higher the sensitivity, the farther the tag can be read. Shorter cables RFID Reader can help, too, since the signals that carry power between readers and antennas are weaker over longer distances.
Unlike barcode scanners that need to have a direct line-of-sight with each tag, RFID tags can be detected and read remotely with a mobile reader or fixed reader combined with an antenna. With high-gain readers and antennas, RF signals can travel further and reach more surfaces than low-gain systems.
When it comes to tracking inventory, whether parts on a production line or materials coming into and out of storage, or tools, equipment or vehicles that need to be returned to the storeroom, RFID saves time by automating manual data collection and upload. This avoids transcription errors, duplicated entries and missing information.
When paired with a smartphone or tablet, handheld RFID readers allow workers to collect and upload data while multitasking. Choose a reader with sensitivity settings that optimize your reading range. Longer cables degrade RF signals, so opt for shorter cables that keep more power flowing to the antennas for better read range. Look for antennas that support linear and circular polarization for the best performance. A longer read range means less need to move the reader around and a more streamlined process.
Choosing the right RFID reader depends on what you plan to use it for. A high-gain antenna provides a greater read range, which may be necessary for some applications. There are also different types of polarization, which refers to the way an antenna creates an electromagnetic field. Linear polarization creates the field along one plane, while circular polarization splits it into multiple planes.
For example, in inventory management, RFID makes it easier to track product location, speeding up picking and packing processes. It can even help prevent stockouts by alerting employees to the need to restock items in time for sales and deliveries.
An integrated RFID module is also more convenient for your staffers, as it eliminates the need to scan barcodes and enables them to focus on other tasks. This can reduce human error and increase productivity. In addition, an integrated RFID module is encased in an ultra-rugged tablet to protect it from damage, drops, and wear and tear. The RFID connection icon shows up next to all input boxes that accept barcodes, such as Scan In, Return Items, Patron Services, Repository Search, Physical Item Editor, and Quick Cataloging.