Advantages and Disadvantages of RFID Systems
Radio-frequency identification (RFID) refers to a modern wireless technology, which consists of two components: tags and readers. The reader consists of either one or more antennas that emit radio waves and receive signals from the RFID tag thereby automatically identifying and tracking tags or smart labels.
It is important to note that tags, which make use of radio waves to communicate their identity or other information can be either active or passive. Active tags are powered by a battery, whereas passive tags do not possess a battery and are powered by the interrogating waves from a reader.
RFID technology finds widespread usage in an extensive range of applications ranging from inventory tracking, contactless payments at toll gates, asset tracking, animal identification, and intelligent transportation systems to name a few. It is used in a wide variety of sectors as well ranging from healthcare, retail, and construction to logistics to mention a few.
How Does RFID Work?
RFID tags consist of an integrated circuit and an antenna, whose job is to transmit data to the RFID reader or interrogator, which in turn converts the data into a more readable form. RFID offers a host of advantages, though it comes with its own share of disadvantages as well. We discuss them below in the article.
Advantages of RFID
Enhanced level of Data Security
The data on tags are more secured in comparison to the visually represented data that we find on barcodes. The simple reason for this extra level of security is that the data is hidden from plain sight and it takes specialized equipment to read the digital signals. Also, unlike barcodes, RFID tags cannot be easily replicated, which again means better security.
For example, in a jewelry store,RFID tags are placed inside jewelry items, and alarms are put in place at exit doors. If an unauthorized attempt is made That way an alarm is immediately triggered if someone tries unauthorizedly tries to leave the premise with stolen jewelry. The security offered by RFID as such is much more robust than barcode which is susceptible to being replicated.
RFID tags enjoy wider applications because of their versatility. Tags can be installed in plastic cards, fitted into vehicles, consumer items, animals, and on door locks to name a few. For example, RFID tags are easy to place inside the body of an animal, which makes it relatively easy to track that animal and obtain relevant information such as the age, health, and vaccination status of the animal.
In order to capture data from a barcode, the tag needs to be within the line of sight of the object or item. This is not the case with RFID as it can capture data from anywhere for the simple reason that radio waves have a longer frequency, and can travel in different directions.
Speed and Convenience
It is important to note that RFID is a type of AIDC (automatic identification and data capture) technology. This technology helps in faster and easier identification, tracking, and recording of objects or items.
This is an important benefit offered by RFID. In contrast to barcodes that require running scans individually on all items, RFID can scan multiple items at a time provided they are kept within the range.
Disadvantages of RFID Technology?
The material and capability requirements of RFID technology are complex and expensive, which often puts it beyond the means and capabilities of smaller organizations. Other disadvantages of the technology include:
RFID systems are more expensive to set up because of complex technological requirements. Also, for smooth functioning of the system, there needs to be a synergy between different components and hardware, as well as database management applications.
As mentioned earlier, security is robust in RFID, but it needs to be impeccably implemented. Poor security arrangements can severely compromise the system as it would become rather easy for unauthorized devices to read and tamper with the data on unsecured tags the data is in form of digital signals which are prone to interceptions.
Readers work perfectly fine with non-metallic materials, but they can have problems with liquid and metal surfaces as these types of surfaces tend to reflect radio waves.
Prone to interference
Interferences have been observed to take place in RFID systems when they are in close vicinity of forklifts, walkies-talkies, and mobile towers.
RFID has become an important tool for tracking and identification. The technology arguably suffers from some flaws, but it is believed that it can be overcome with advancements in technology.
- Last updated on Oct 06, 2022