jutaiRFID Technology

What Is an RFID Reader

What Is an RFID Reader?

RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) is a wireless technology that is designed to replace the barcode. This technology has two distinct parts, a "tag" and an "RFID reader," or, as it is known in industry parlance, an "RFID interrogator."


  • From inventory tracking to making sure that a toll is paid in a speed pass lane, RFID is the underlying technology. Even the latest evolution in passport technology contains an RFID chip. Livestock in Canada are now tagged with an RFID chip that follows them all the way through the slaughterhouse. Should any kind of health risk turn up, this chip allows the health department to identify where the animal came from.


  • There are two types of RFID technology: passive and active. In a passive RFID system, the tags do not use a power source and instead use the signal emitted from the RFID reader to reflect the identification data held in the tag. Active tags have their own power source and will transmit their data when the RFID reader requests it.
    The typical RFID reader is both a transmitter and a receiver. In addition, there are several other components, each of which has its own purpose. For example, in a warehouse or retail application, it is imperative that each tag only be read into the system once. Otherwise an inventory system would collect artificially inflated data. Conversely, if two (or more) RFID tags were to broadcast their information at the same time, the inventory count would appear lower, as only one of the tags' information would be collected. RFID readers have an intelligence built in that eliminates these issues from occurring.


  • RFID utilizes a very low power signal locked into five slices of spectrum. The bands are: 9 to 135 kHz; 13.56 MHz; 400 to 1200 MHz; 2.45 GHz; and 5.8 GHz.


  • The first directly applicable patent for an RFID-like technology was issued to Mario Cardullo in 1973. The first patent using the RFID designation was issued to Charles Watson in 1983.
    Gillette, now Procter and Gamble, ordered 500 million RFID tags in 2003, bringing this technology into the mainstream.

The Future

  • Consulting firm Ernst & Young predicted that by 2010 there will be nearly 10,000 telemetric devices (devices that transmit or receive data) for every person on earth (see Resources).
    RFID technology is also used to track automobiles as well as railway cars and containers.

Privacy and Security

  • There is a growing concern that RFID technology is creating potentially catastrophic consequences both in terms of privacy and security.
    As a privacy issue, RFID information is collected along with tolls when using a speed pass in your automobile. This scan provides a record of when a vehicle has traveled on a toll road and for how long. A product's information is collected when many purchases are made, and in cases where credit cards are used for payment, tying the buyer's personal information to the product information. It should be pointed out that unless the RFID tag is removed from the product, it is also possible to retrieve the RFID information from that product (which is now tied to the owner) wherever an RFID reader is located, possibly providing an ongoing record of every location and time the individual was within range of the reader.
    With the latest passport technology employing RFID, as well as many credit cards and driver's licenses, the possibility that personal information could be read (remotely) and used to commit identity theft is very real.

Keyword:Microwave Reader,2.45G transceiver,RF Tag,Active Tag,Passive Tag