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UHF Passive RFID Readers and Types

  • Mahesh Tiwari
  • Oct 05, 2023
  • RFID
Types Of RFID Reader, RFID Reader Cost, Read Range Of Passive RFID Readers

RFID has been very much in use for decades but recent technological growth has only propelled the use of RFID in third world countries as well.

A Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) system uses a reader, an antenna, and a tag. 

The reader is the one that reads the data stored in the tag with the help of an antenna and transfers the data to a control system which might or might not store the data as per its needs.

Development in RFID technology over the last decade has led to the creation of various kinds of RFID readers that support Android OS, and Bluetooth connectivity, and offer high read rates of 1800 tags per sec and more. 

Most of the RFID readers are capable of reading the same type of RFID tags in terms of operating frequency. Low-frequency RFID tags can be interrogated by LF RFID Readers, HF tags by an HF reader and a UHF passive RFID tag can be read by a UHF RFID Reader only. 

RFID Readers, based on their applications, come in several configurations:

1- Fixed RFID Readers,

2- Handheld RFID Readers,

3- Integrated RFID Readers, and

4- USB or Desktop RFID Readers.

What is the range of Passive RFID Readers?

Frequency UHF (Ultra High Frequency: 860 to 956 MHz) readers are widely used in comparison to LF (125 KHz, 134 KHz) and HF (13.56 MHz) readers since UHF readers provide long-range (up to 15m ) detection of tags in Passive RFID systems. Low Frequency readers provide a range of 1-10cm and HF RFID readers work great with the range of 10cm-1m.

Fixed RFID Readers:

Fixed RFID readers are used at intersections where the asset is inbound or outbound. A Fixed RFID Reader is connected to the power supply by cable and is only limited by not being portable. Fixed RFID Readers don’t come with a screen and need to be connected to a control system for reading or writing purposes.

Handheld RFID Readers:

A Hand-Held RFID Reader is portable and very easy to use. A good handheld UHF RFID reader can read around 1300 tags/second and last several days in terms of battery.

Integrated RFID Readers:

Integrated RFID Readers are ones that come with an antenna in-built into the reader itself. Handheld RFID Readers are integrated with an antenna and screen (barring exceptions) to process data better.

USB or Desktop RFID Readers:

A USB RFID Reader is one that can be connected to a desktop using a USB cable. The read data could be displayed on the desktop when in use. It is also known as plug and play RFID Reader.

Sled RFID Readers:

Sled RFID Readers are the new trend in RFID readers where a smartphone is coupled with an RFID antenna and a grip to hold the RFID reader. Sled RFID readers are easy to use and utilize the Android platform of the smartphone and Bluetooth connectivity. 

Users, however, must ensure that the RFID design is compatible with the smartphone they want to use. 

Sled RFID readers are quite efficient and users can see the read data on the smartphone screen itself. These RFID readers are used in asset management, retail inventory, and clothing, livestock management, etc.

 RFID Readers and Anti-collision Mechanism 

 RFID technology is not without certain communication protocols and standards. Most of the RFID tags and Readers at present communicate using ISO 18000 ‘air transfer protocols’ and EPC Gen 2 Class1 standards. The EPC Gen 2 RFID readers can also read EPC Gen 1 Class 0 and Class 1 RFID tags. 

 RFID readers are also designed with an anti-collision mechanism meaning RFID readers can easily read one tag at a time without getting interfered with by RF signals coming from other RFID readers and tags. 

The Anti-collision design efficient RFID reader performance in ‘dense reader mode’ where the RFID reader first listens to the RF channel it is planning to use and switches to another channel if some other RFID reader is using that channel in the vicinity, preventing reader-reader blocking.

 Applications of UHF RFID Readers:

Many parking systems, airport -security, libraries and schools, hospitals, Hotels, restaurants, etc. use the fixed RFID Reader and it is easy to use. You don’t need physical monitoring of the same. You just have to install it.

The Handheld RFID scanner might sound burdensome but it is also easy to use when you have to manually scan RFID tags. It’s convenient when you are on the move. These RFID readers are most suitable for retail stores and retail inventory management, asset management, livestock management, warehouse management, etc.

How much do UHF RFID Readers cost?

The Cost of RFID readers depends on many factors such as body, software version, operating frequency and range, battery life, etc. Most Readers I have seen come in high-quality ABS body, resistant to abrasion. The ergonomic design of the RFID Reader is also very crucial in determining cost. A handheld RFID reader with basic functionalities typically starts at INR 50K (700-800 USD) and fixed RFID readers from Zebra cost around 1000 USD. 

Investing in a good brand of RFID Reader is encouraged because it saves money in the long run.

Arguably, UHF RFID readers are the most used RFID readers due to long-range readability and competitive pricing. These Readers are also cost-effective when it comes to maintenance and servicing. 

Low Frequency (LF) RFID Readers could also be considered when the operating range is less (up to 10cm). For USB-equipped systems, Low-Frequency USB readers are perfect.

Disclaimer: The information presented here is for general information purposes only and true to best of our understanding. Users are requested to use any information as per their own understanding and knowledge. Before using any of the information, please refer to our Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions.

  • Created on Jan 09, 2023

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