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What is an RFID Key Fob? Working and Types

  • Akansha Sharma
  • Dec 02, 2023
  • RFID
What is an RFID Key Fob? Working and Types

RFID technology has evolved to offer us a secure and efficient way of access management, revolutionizing our interactions with our surroundings. The use of RFID-based key fobs is one great example of the same.

RFID key fobs are used for a wide range of applications, including keyless entry systems and contactless payment solutions. The best thing about using RFID key fobs is that they are low-cost, convenient, smart, and easy to use. As a modern IoT solution, Key Fobs provide batteryless operation and offer several advantages.

What is an RFID Key Fob?

An RFID key fob is a small electronic device that uses radio frequencies to send a coded signal to a receiver device. With a key fob, the user does not need to use a regular key to unlock the device, as with manual locks. Although they provide remote access, RFID key fobs are easy and secure to use. RFID key fobs work on RFID LF 128 KHz and RFID HF 13.56 MHz and offer a read range of up to 10cm – up to 1m respectively.

Physical security tokens include smart cards, proximity cards, and biometric keyless entry fobs.

How does an RFID Key Fob Work?

RFID key fobs, like an RFID tag, consist of two main components: one is a microchip, and the other is an antenna. The microchip stores the unique ID code, while the antenna initiates wireless communication with the reader. When you bring a key fob close to the reader, the reader powers the key fob and allows it to transmit the identification code.
The reader, which is connected to a control system, receives the unique ID code and verifies it in a database. If the code matches the stored information, the reader grants access or performs the desired function. This entire process provides a seamless user experience.

For example, if you use an RFID key fob for unlocking your car doors, the receiver in the car activates the RFID technology based key fob and interrogates the data in the key fob and matches the same for granting access.

What are some common types of RFID Key Fobs?

Nowadays, there are many kinds of RFID key fobs that are common in the market. They are made up of different materials with personalized manufacturing.

Let's discuss some common key fobs as follows:

1. ABS Proximity Key Fob

An ABS proximity key fob is used for access control functionalities. Manufacturers use ABS material for proximity key fobs, which makes them very cheap in cost and durable to use. It uses a low-frequency RFID chip and operates at a frequency of 125 kHz. The difference between a proximity key fob and others is that you don’t have to take them out rather it works sensing the proximity between the key fob and the receiver.

2. Epoxy Proximity Key Fob

The epoxy key fob is manufactured on the glue-dripping method. It is not only a smart key but also an attractive trinket that can decorate your keychain, backpack, or other items. The epoxy proximity key fob operates on a frequency of 13.56 MHz (UHF) and is made up of PVC material. It is customizable for use in corporate promotion activities, membership management, etc.

3. PVC Proximity Key Fob

PVC RFID key fobs are very light and handy to use. They are also known as IC key tags, which operate on LF chips at a frequency of 125 kHz. It offers double-sided printing and comes in a variety of colors, crafts, and RFID chips. It is also an excellent solution for access control and electronic tickets.

4. PU Leather Key Fob: 

The PU leather key fob has a mature and stable business design. They are frequently used in cars as smart car keys rather than standard car keys.

Mercedes-Benz used the proximity key fob on the car lock system as early as 1998, which can start the engine in addition to unlocking a closed door. RFID leather key fobs are available in a variety of colors, forms, crafts, and chips to meet different requirements.

5. RFID Wooden Key Fob:

RFID The wooden keychain is a new product. It is composed of wood and embedded with an RFID chip. A wooden key fob is different from other RFID key fobs; it is an eco-friendly key fob.

It is also smooth, free of sawdust, light, and simple to operate. It is ideal for access control systems in villas, resorts, and high-end hotels with a logo or other brand information.

Choosing the right RFID key fob for your needs

When selecting an RFID key fob, there are a few factors to consider:

1. Form factor

Form factor is important based on your specific use case. Key-shaped fobs are ideal for traditional access control, while card-shaped fobs are more suitable for offices and hotels. Consider wristband fobs for events or button fobs for vehicle access.
2. Frequency

RFID key fobs operate at different frequencies, such as low frequency (LF), high frequency (HF), and ultra-high frequency (UHF). The frequency you choose depends on the range and read speed required for your application.
3. Security features

Look for key fobs that offer encryption and authentication features to enhance security. This ensures that the transmitted data is protected and can only be accessed by authorized readers.
4. Compatibility

Ensure that the RFID key fob you select is compatible with the reader system you intend to use. Different systems may operate on different protocols, so compatibility is crucial for seamless integration.

5. Durability and weather resistance

Consider the environmental conditions in which the key fob will be used. A key fob is designed to handle harsh and extreme weather conditions, such as extreme temperatures or moisture.

Applications of RFID key fobs

 RFID key fobs are small RFID devices that provide a new smart way of access control. Some common applications of RFID key fobs include:

1 Access control

RFID key fobs are widely used to grant access to buildings, offices, apartments, and gated communities. They provide a secure and convenient way compared to traditional keys and key cards.

2. Vehicle entry and ignition

Many modern vehicles now come equipped with keyless entry and ignition systems that use RFID key fobs. These fobs allow drivers to unlock doors, start the engine, and even open the trunk.

3. Payment systems

RFID key fobs are being used as a contactless payment method in transportation systems, stadiums, and convenience stores. Users can simply tap their fobs on a reader to make quick and secure payments

4.Asset tracking

In industries such as logistics, manufacturing, and healthcare, RFID key fobs are used for tracking and managing inventory, equipment, and assets. They provide real-time visibility and help streamline logistical operations.

5. Loyalty programs

Retailers and businesses often provide RFID key fobs as part of their loyalty programs. These fobs allow customers to earn points, receive discounts, and access personalized offers.

In conclusion, the RFID key fob has become a foundation for convenience and security in our modern world. Whether granting access to your home, starting your car, or simplifying payment processes, these RFID key fobs helped us enhance our daily interactions with physical objects.

RFID key fobs are suitable for many applications, generally used for access control, attendance, product identification, logistics management, industrial automation, tickets, casino tokens, membership, public transportation, e-payment, swimming pools, laundry, etc.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1) How secure are RFID key fobs?
RFID key fobs offer a high level of security, especially when using an advanced encryption protocol. Symmetric encryption algorithms make RFID key fobs secure to use.

Q2) Are RFID key fobs suitable for residential use?

RFID key fobs are commonly used for residential access control, providing convenient and secure access control for their users.

Q3) Can RFID key fobs be deactivated remotely?

RFID key fobs also offer an advanced feature to their users; they can deactivate or reprogram RFID key fobs remotely for added security.

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 Dec 02, 2023
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