Readers are an integral part of a Radio Frequency Identification system. They are responsible for scanning and identifying the information on an RFID tag. Due to the difference in applications, there are several types of readers. Today, we will be discussing one such type – Handheld RFID Reader.
These are a type of portable readers that are becoming popular in industries like warehousing, manufacturing, healthcare, etc. So, let’s move on to discussing more of this item.
What is a Handheld RFID Reader?
There are two basic components of an RFID system.
a) RFID Tag
b) RFID Reader
A reader is used to scan the tags using radio signals. Handheld readers are portable and are used by employees for purposes like inventory management, asset tracking, etc. A handheld RFID reader namely C5 UHF Handheld Portable RFID Reader is just a mobile version of a standard RFID scanner, with an individual power supply.
These readers come in all shapes & sizes, with different functions and technologies. But, before we discuss all that, first, let’s talk about how it works.
How does it Work?
A tag is placed on the items with pre-programmed information stored in it, while a reader is used to identify and scan the tags. A handheld RFID reader consists of a Power Supply (Battery), Antenna & a Microchip. The antenna acts as a transmitter as it can broadcast & receive signals. An RFID scanner broadcasts radio waves in certain frequency ranges. Whenever a tag enters the broadcast/read range of a reader, it starts to transmit back a signal. This signal is picked up by the reader & sent into the system.
Types of RFID Readers
As we mentioned above, RFID readers can be classified into several different types based on – Frequency Range, Reading Technology, etc. RFID systems usually operate within three frequency ranges.
30 KHz to 300 KHz
High Frequency (HF)
3 MHz to 30 MHz
Ultra-High Frequency (UHF)
300 MHz to 3 GHz
There are pros & cons of operating on any frequency level. For example, UHF provides the fastest data transfer rate among any RFID system. However, on the downside, they are also the most vulnerable to signal disruptions. On the other hand, LF systems are mostly invulnerable to metal surface interruptions, but they have the lowest transfer rate and read range.
Readers can also include different technologies or combinations of technologies. For example, the R2 Bluetooth RFID Reader uses Bluetooth to transmit tag data to any nearby Bluetooth device. Unlike traditional readers, it does not use a physical connection with a system. Also, this device is capable of reading both RFID tags & barcodes (1D and 2D). Due to this integration of technologies, customers only have to buy one product.
Benefits of Using a Handheld RFID Reader
As the name suggests, handheld readers provide unmatched portability. Portable uhf rfid reader like the C72 RFID Reader are light and easy to carry around with you. This allows them to be used in large areas like warehouses, hospitals, automotive supply chains, etc.
Wireless Data Transfer
Unlike traditional RFID readers that need to be physically plugged into a system to transmit data. Handheld readers generally communicate with your systems using Bluetooth. This makes the whole system more durable, as the possibility of issues due to damaged connectors & wires is not possible. It also adds to mobility, as you don’t have to carry a heavy system on your person at all times.
Faster Data Scanning
These RFID readers are made using the latest technology, so, they perform more efficiently. They have a much higher reading rate than a standard RFID scanner. Handheld readers save a lot of time & money during logistical operations.
Compatible with Android OS
Lastly, these systems operate on Android OS, thus, are capable of communicating with other mobile Android systems, like smart phones.
Handheld RFID Reader FAQ:
Q1. What is handheld RFID reader?
Ans. It is a handheld device that is used to scan & identify RFID tags in its vicinity. It has a built-in power supply and antenna, that allows it to broadcast & receive radio signals.
Q2. Can a phone be used as a RFID reader?
Ans. Depending on the year your phone was manufactured, yes, you may be able to use it as an RFID reader. However, nowadays, almost every smartphone manufacturer includes the ability to communicate with an RFID tag on their phones. All you need is software that can operate your phone as an RFID reader.
Q3. What is the range of RFID?
Ans. RFID systems can vary greatly in their operational ranges, depending on the broadcast frequency and signal strength. Passive tags use a part of the energy in the broadcast signal of the reader to send back a signal of its own. This makes their signals very weak, thus, giving them a short operational range. On the other hand, active ultra-high frequency tags, have integrated power and transmit data at a very high frequency. Based on these factors, RFID systems can have a range of anywhere from a few centimeters to upwards of 600 meters.