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RFID and IoT: Differences and Similarities

  • Akansha Sharma
  • Oct 04, 2023
  • RFID
RFID and IoT: Differences and Similarities

“RFID and IoT , both are modern age Industry 4.0 technologies that are enabling asset identification and item-level tracking. These technologies share many similarities as well as obvious differences in communication methods and communication range. ”

Technology has been a major contributor in the kind of world we want to see, so far and it is guiding the future, the kind of ease of living and lifestyle as well as the business we want.

Various technologies of the day are providing immense support in automating daily tasks, improving communication, paying bills, and shopping for simple things. Two emerging technologies RFID and IoT are helping us in various sectors like retail, manufacturing, banking, healthcare, identification, and authentication techniques, etc.

RFID is a wireless communication that uses electromagnetic waves to search, identify, track, and communicate with them. Product details are encoded into the RFID tag, which is read by readers.

IoT , on the other hand, enables interconnectedness between devices embedded with sensors, with the help of software and the internet, facilitating exchange of data. This technology helps to collect and share data between devices connected through worldwide web (WWW) network.

RFID Technology

RFID technology is a wireless mechanism that is used to track, identify, and communicate with items and people. This technology works to access the data from the tags and store the data in a database through the help of RFID readers.

Components of RFID Technology

1. RFID Tag: Each tag has its microchip to store information about the product and help identify the product.

2. RFID Reader: The reader will detect and then read data and information from the tag. They come in the form of mobile devices, and they can be placed in a fixed location.

3. Antenna: The tag and reader both have a radio connection to establish the intercommunication between the two devices. An advanced RFID system has two shapes, linear and circular. Linear propagated vertically, it provides better control and tags are consistently readable. On the other hand, a circular shaped antenna has a double plane in a spiral shape.

4. RFID Software: RFID software is used to initiate the process of data transfer with the help of radio frequency in identifying the product details. 

IoT Technology

IoT is the networking of IoT devices. This technology leverages sensor embedded smart devices to share and receive data over the internet.

Components of IoT Technology

1. Sensors: It is a device that measures and detects some features from the environment and converts them as input data for the control/processing unit of the IoT system. Some examples of sensors are temperature sensors, image sensors, ultrasonic distance sensors, obstacle sensors, etc.

2. Control Units: It is the brain of a device used to perform various operations and placed on an IC (Integrated Circuit) containing a microprocessor, memory, and programmable input/output peripheral devices.

3. Cloud Storage: IoT devices deal with lots of data to perform real-time operations. It generates lots of data and the generated data gets stored in a reliable cloud storage server.

4. Network and communication: As the generated data needs to be stored somewhere, the internet helps in exchanging data from cloud storage through a variety of methods like cellular, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, connected via gateways/routers, and Ethernet.

RFID and IoT: Differences

1. RFID uses unidirectional data communications, the tag can transfer the data to a reader but a reader can’t do so. IoT uses bidirectional data communications to transfer data from a device to cloud storage and it will transfer data to the IoT device.

2. It uses radio waves to transmit data between a reader and a tag. These tags can interact at a distance within the range of its limitation. It does not support any other network except radio technology. On the other hand, an IoT device can seamlessly communicate with both radio and the internet by Wi-Fi or Ethernet cable and communicate with IoT devices in its network.

3. RFID technology is limited to metered communication, but the IoT advantage is that it can work over short, medium, or long ranges.

RFID and IoT: Similarities

1. Both RFID and IoT are used as tracking techniques; they can maintain a record of items by tracking them. RFID uses a Reader and a tag to capture the information, while IoT uses sensors and the internet to perform its operations.

2. They both provide security benefits to various businesses, whether they deal with small or big-scale businesses. RFID tags help to track tagged items and ensure that stored data is accessible to the authorized person. However, as IoT devices are connected to the internet, they can be encrypted and password-protected.

RFID or IoT: Which one is best for you?

IoT is an active technology compared with RFID, but they both are used to perform similar tasks like identification and authentication. RFID technology performs well when you need to track numerous items in a short range. For example, inventory tracking systems in retail stores or heavy equipment maintenance in an industry to detect which machine is working properly.

IoT technology deals with a range of distances. It will be applicable in monitoring things, at varying distances from each other, such as environmental sensors deployed over a large area.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1) What are RFID and IoT technologies?

RFID is a automatic identification and data capture (AIDC) technology that uses electromagnetic field based communication between an RFID reader and an RFID tag to enable communication, transmission and receiving of encoded data.

IoT (Internet of Things) is an umbrella term for a set of smart devices, sensors, wireless technologies and gateways that come together to enable wireless communication over the internet. Various technologies such as RFID, Wi-Fi, NFC, Bluetooth LE, Bluetooth, etc. are termed IoT technologies.

Q2) What are the types of RFID systems?

Mainly, RFID systems are divided into three types

1. Low Frequency: It works on low-frequency ranges of 30-300kHz. It typically works on 125kHz. The reading is limited to a few cm.

2. High Frequency: These RFID tags work on the frequency of 3 MHz-30MHz, 13.56MHz, similar to NFC.

3. Ultra-High Frequency: It operates in the range of 300 MHz-3 GHz. Passive UHF tags offer a range of 15m, and Active UHF tags provide a range of 100m.

Q3) What are the advantages of IoT?

1. It provides a better experience of automation tasks, which directly helps to increase customer satisfaction.

2. It enables real-time information access from any location. You just need to connect your smart devices to the internet.

3. It also manages to save time for users, to perform some other tasks in the meantime.

4. It will also help others to generate new business opportunities while reducing the cost of operation tasks, by collecting and analyzing the data from various networks.

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 Oct 04, 2023

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