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Difference between RFID and Barcodes

userArvind Katiyar   calender 18 Jan 2020 Barcode  RFID

RFID stands for Radio Frequency Identification. The technology makes use of radio frequency waves to transmit data. Putting RIFD tags on inventory and assets allows a person to uniquely identify and track these inventory and assets. In other words, or to put it more simply, RFID is the method through which radio waves are used to uniquely identify items. At the most basic level, an RFID system comprises a tag, a reader, and an antenna. The reader is responsible for sending an interrogating signal to the tag. This is done via the antenna, and the tag responds with its unique information.

Before we delve into the difference between barcode and RFID, it is important to first discuss the similarities between the two. 

Both are used for keeping a tab on asset, things or people. So if you need to keep a track of your stuff, both barcode and RFID can do the job for you.

They are both employed to collect data.

Data stored on both kinds of tags are retrievable by either fixed or handheld scanning devices. As such, they find a lot of usage in applications that require inventory tracking keeping a tab on any other things.

RFID vs. Barcode: The Differences

However, these two types of tracking tech also differ quite a bit:

Barcodes are capable of performing one scan at a time. On the other hand, may RFID tags can be scanned at once.

In order for Barcodes to conduct the scanning, the scanner should maintain a line-of-sight with each code. On the contrary while RFID is a “near field” technology. The scanner can read the tag if it is within the specified range. 

You must have witnessed barcode labels on everyday products that you buy. These codes are read by a barcode machine. The labels are printed on paper or adhesive labels, which can either get torn or damaged over time. In contrast, RFID tags are tough products that are built to last. 

Barcodes suffer from certain limitations when it comes to the type and volume of data that can be stored on it. RFID tags are capable of storing much more data. 

RFID vs. Barcode: Which one should you choose and under what circumstances?

In order to make a better choice, pay attention to three important factors.

What you intend to track?

What you need to know about what you’re tracking?

How the tracking is going to take place?

Cost of the system and expenses associated with integrating the system with other core systems.

If the items are similar and follow a routine path, barcodes can do the job perfectly. For example, if there are sweaters of uniform size and shape and color, barcode can easily record it. If one sweater is sold, that barcode is scanned at the register, the system adjusts that count to show that two dozens sweaters now remain. However, on the other hand if the sweaters are limited edition, made by a famous sweater designer and personally signed by that person, you need RFID to effectively record that transaction.