RFID: Radio Frequency Identification


RFID is an automatic identification method which has become widely used in numerous fields of application in recent years. It is a contactless communication technology that transmits information for the identification of persons, animals, goods and merchandise. The use of RFID enables many new applications that could not be realized with conventional identification systems.

An RFID system consists of a data carrier (called transponder or TAG) and a read/write device with an antenna. RFID works with weak, electromagnetic waves, which are emitted by a reader. If a transponder is brought into the range of this antenna, information can be read contactlessly from the memory of the transponder or data can be stored on it.

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Was ist RFID Reader Transponder Smart TAGnology

The device (reader) generates a weak electromagnetic field via its antenna. If a transponder enters this magnetic field, the microchip of the transponder is supplied with energy and can now send data to the reader without contact or store new information on the chip. If the transponder leaves the reading field, the connection to the reader is broken and the transponder chip is again completely inactive. However, the stored data is still retained in the memory.

Complex read/write devices can process many transponders at the same time thanks to an “anti-collision procedure”. The electromagnetic waves can penetrate many materials and enable the transponder to be recognised even through packaging.

Transponder types at a glance


Passive transponders

Passive transponders do not have their own power supply and draw their energy directly from the energy field of the reader. Therefore passive transponders are completely maintenance-free, but the reading ranges are strongly dependent on the size of the transponder, the frequency and the antenna.

Active transponders

Active transponders have a much more complex structure than passive ones and have an integrated power supply (battery or rechargeable battery), which makes it possible to achieve much greater reading ranges.

Due to the power supply of a battery or accumulator, the lifetime of these transponders is limited. Additionally, the production costs are many times higher than for passive transponders.

Systems with 125kHz, 134.2kHz, 13.56MHz, 868MHz, 915MHz, 2.45GHz are available, which have enormously different reading characteristics and detection ranges.