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Radio Frequency Identification - RFID


Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is a wireless data collection technology that relies on storing and remotely retrieving data using devices called RFID tags or transponders. RFID tags are like bar codes; they are used to identify items. An RFID tag can be attached to or incorporated into a product, animal, or person. Unlike bar codes, which must be brought close to the scanner for reading, RFID tags are read when they are within the proximity of a transmitted radio signal. They contain antennas to enable them to receive and respond to radio-frequency signals from an RFID transceiver. Companies use RFID technology for such things as payment systems, access control and supply tracking.
Three types of RFID tags:

  • Passive tags require no internal power source. Their antennae are equipped to collect power from the incoming signal so that it can transmit the outbound signal.
  • Semi-passive tags contain a small battery that allows the tag to be constantly powered. This means the antenna of a semi-passive tag does need to be designed to draw power from the incoming signal.
  • Active, real-time transmitters are also known as beacons, and have an internal power source to fuel the outgoing ID signal. They have a longer range and larger memories than passive and semi-passive tags; however, they are also more expensive than passive tags.

RFID has always been closely linked with WiFi; one of WiFi’s first applications was transferring data from portable RFID readers. The WiFi-RFID combination has proven to be resourceful in the medical community where it is used to monitor the location and activities of hospital patients. To do this, a WiFi network is integrated with a family of ID badges, identification bracelets and asset tags that are based on RFID technology. This setup allows personnel to identify and locate patients, staff and assets in real-time. Many large network vendors, including Cisco Systems, are promoting WiFi as a way to enable RFID-like applications. Cisco announced in September of 2005 that it was investing in AeroScout, a company that specializes in WiFi-based active RFID solutions.

Get FierceWiFi to stay briefed on the business of this emerging technology, from privacy issues (“spychips”) to hacker vulnerability to market growth in radio frequency identification devices.

 

 

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