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WHAT IS RFID
Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is a technique that uses electromagnetic coupling in the radio frequency (RF) portion of the electromagnetic spectrum to uniquely identify objects, animals or people. Objects (often referred to as RFID tags) are applied or incorporated into products, animals or people for identification and tracking purposes. The advantage of RFID is that it does not require direct contact or line-of-sight scanning. The RFID system consists of three parts: an antenna and a transceiver (usually combined into a card reader) and a transponder (tag). The antenna uses radio frequency or magnetic (inductive) energy to transmit the signal that activates the transponder. When activated, the tag sends the data back to the antenna. This data is used to inform the computer what should happen. This action can be as simple as improving the access door, or as complex as the database interface for currency trading.
WHAT ARE PASSIVE RFID AND ACTIVE RFID
Passive RFID is the power of an RFID tag derived from the electromagnetic field or field of the reader. RFID tags have no battery and are usually low cost, rugged and can be used “permanently”. The tag stores the energy from the electromagnetic/induction field of the Reader and passes the information back to the Reader by modulating the radiant energy of the reader itself.
Three frequency groups are typically used: LF (low frequency), HF (high frequency) and UHF (ultra high frequency) (LF = 125 / 134KHz, HF = 13.56MHz, UHF 850-950MHz). LF and HF systems typically use magnetic energy or inductive energy, so the operating range is low, typically less than 20 cm. UHF systems use radiated electromagnetic (RF) energy and reflective modulation similar to “radar.” The UHF RFID system has a maximum range of up to 10 meters.
LF, HF and UHF passive tags are low cost, simple devices. Short range LF and HF readers (range 10 cm) are also available at low cost. Longer distance UHF readers (up to 10 meters) are more complex systems and are relatively expensive.
Active RFID is where RFID tags have their own power source (usually a small battery). The tag is actually a transceiver that responds to the receive command from the Reader and “actively” returns the data. Active tags can use any ISM or licensed band, the most common being 433MHz, 850-950MHz and 2.4GHz. The range depends on the tag and reader transmitter power and receiver sensitivity. Active tags typically “sleep” for long periods of time to extend battery life. The range can be from 10 meters to several kilometers.
Active tags can be relatively large and have a limited lifetime (batteries need to be replaced) and are much more expensive than passive tags. Active tag readers use a similar level of technology as tags and can be relatively inexpensive. Some tags can use “passive” circuits to “wake up” and then “actively” transmit data, a technology that provides longer battery life.
WHAT IS THE MAXIMUM READING RANGE FOR PASSIVE RFID
For LF (125 / 134kHz) or HF (13.56MHz) passive RFID systems, the read range depends on the reader antenna size and tag antenna size. LF and HF RFID systems use magnetic or inductive energy, and usually small tags will provide a small range.
For proximity to LF readers (such as Hitag’s RWD-QT, EM4102, etc.), a 7 cm diameter reader antenna and a credit card sized label are used with a maximum reading range of approximately 15 cm. For proximity to HF readers (such as Mifare’s RWD-MICODE, ICODE), using a 7cm diameter reader antenna and credit card sized tags, Mifare’s maximum read range is approximately 5-7cm, and ICODE’s maximum read range is 10cm.
For UHF (850-960MHz) passive RFID systems, the read range depends on the reader transmit power and receiver sensitivity as well as the physical environment. Low frequencies better penetrate materials and liquids. Higher frequencies (especially UHF) can be absorbed and blocked by the liquid and reflected by the hard material.
WHAT ARE THE MAIN RFID STANDARDS
Many RFID technologies are proprietary and use proprietary technologies and protocols defined many years ago when RFID was first used in simple applications such as access control. Recently, ISO standards have been defined for different frequency and transponder technologies. These ISO standards can define modulation techniques and communication protocols, but typically the memory size, security features (encryption, etc.) are still proprietary to one manufacturer or another manufacturer.
Examples of RFID standards are:
ISO11784 / 785, 134kHz “Animal Label”
ISO14443A, 13.56MHz Mifare card/label
ISO15693, 13.56MHz ICODE card/label
ISO18000-6B / 6C, 850-950MHz UHF Gen1 / 2 EPC card / label
Many popular passive tag types are widely used and considered “standard”, but are actually proprietary technologies from one company or another. In many cases, this technology has been licensed to other manufacturers to allow for wider use.
DOES ECCEL TECHNOLOGY(IB TECHNOLOGY) SUPPORT THESE MAIN STANDARDS
Yes, we support the widest range of “standard” and “proprietary” RFID card/tag technologies, including: Hitag1, Hitag2, HitagS, EM4102, MIFARE Classic 1K, MIFARE Classic 4K, MIFARE Ultralight, MIFARE ProX, Smart-MX (DESFire) and ICODE.
IS IT POSSIBLE TO HAVE A PASSIVE SYSTEM WITH A RANGE OF SEVERAL METERS
UHF passive RFID only. HF and LF use inductive coupling, which is limited to a few centimeters (usually between 1 cm and 20 cm, depending on reader and tag antenna size, transponder protocol and environmental conditions). UHF uses backscattering, which is actually a label that reflects or does not reflect the transmission from the reader to the tag back to the reader. The amplitude modulation keying (ASK) is used to “modulate” the reflection by the label to superimpose the data it transmits onto the RF signal that is reflected back to the reader. The reader “decodes” this data into a stream of 1’s and 0’s.
UHF passive RFID systems can reach a range of a few meters. A disadvantage of UHF systems is that they are more sensitive to environmental damage, they are absorbed by the liquid and are reflected by hard surfaces. The UHF system is also much more expensive than the LF and HF systems (each reader is 10-50 times more expensive and the tag price is similar). UHF systems are more susceptible to “eavesdropping” and are therefore less secure.
WHAT ARE THE KEY BENEFITS OF YOUR SOLUTIONS
It is the actual design and batch proof.
Whether the pin and host commands are compatible.
Designed for low power consumption, the average power consumption is as low as 20 nanoamperes (power down mode).
With the same design concept and firmware modules, you can easily move between solutions.
A strong roadmap from evaluation to high volume production.
Can be customized to meet your exact needs.
We provide excellent support in the form of detailed data sheets/user manuals, free software tools, free software examples, low cost development hardware and email, video and Skype engineering support.
You should buy from us because…
The Eccel technology reader used in the end-market products used today has been running 24/7 for the past 10 years without “missing any beat”.
Our expertise and partnerships mean that we can help develop and manufacture complete solutions from “concepts” to finished “end market” products.
We are an NXP authorized developer who gives us access to the latest information and support that is not yet available in the public domain.
ARE THE PRODUCTS COMPLETE SYSTEM THAT I CAN START USING STRAIGHT OUT OF THE BOX
Our RFID readers have all the hardware and software you need for direct use. They have many features and simple, highly optimized host commands that can be easily connected to a microcontroller or computer. Programmable parameters allow automatic output of serial numbers and card block data without host intervention and read/write commands.
DO YOU HAVE A ROADMAP TO HIGH VOLUME
Yes, our modules can be mounted to the PCB like any other electronic component at a very low cost, and we support volume pricing.
CAN I USE YOUR READERS IN INDUSTRIAL APPLICATIONS
Yes. All Eccel Technology (IB Technology) products use industrial temperature grade components (-40°C to + 85°C).
Our Chilli-B1-RS232 products are also equipped with a voltage regulator that can be directly connected to the PLC’s RS232 port and can be powered by a 24V DC PLC voltage. The output connection from the PLC to the board requires level shifting to the 3.3V level of the Chilli-B1-RS232 board component. According to the requirements of the PLC, input PLC from the board needs to be converted from 3.3V level to 24V. Open drain FETs and pull-up resistors or ULN2003/2803 Darlington drives and pull-up resistors (if high current drive required) are well suited for this purpose.
DO YOU HAVE ANY GUIDANCE FOR POWER FILTERING AND EMC EMI ISSUES
Noise on the power rail is an enemy of any RFID reader system. Our power filter data sheet shows “worst case” power supply filtering. Please note that filters are only required for noisy power supplies.
For a typical evaluation, we recommend using a high value, low ESR capacitor (220 + uF) on the 3.3V and ground to “smooth” the current pulse. Using high value on the track, the low ESR cap acts as a reservoir to help “absorb” these pulses. If you are not sure about the quality of the power supply, consider adding extra overvoltage protection.
If you have a good clean 3.3V power supply, you don’t need 3.3V filtering and protection.
HOW TO KEEP POWER COMSUMPTION LOW
The largest consumer of our products is the RF circuit. On our products, we provide users with the ability to turn on/off the RF circuitry as needed. This can save a lot of power consumption.
CAN THE READER READ THE TAG SERIAL NUMBER WITHOUT ANY HOST INTERVENTION
Yes. All of our products can be operated in a standalone mode.
Our products are user configurable, simply output the serial number of any tag received and perform a PWM output on the pin, which can be configured by length, frequency and duty cycle. They can also pass the “white list” of allowed tags entered by the user instead of any tags that do not exist from this list.