Tag – An RFID tag that uses a battery to power its
microchip and communicate with a reader. Active tags can transmit
over the greatest distances (100+ feet). Typically they can cost
$20.00 or more and are used to track high value goods like vehicles
and large containers of merchandise.
Reader – A reader that can read different types of RFID
tags – either operating on different frequencies or different
standards – class 1 & class 0 – in the same
– A device that converts radio frequency electric current to
electromagnetic waves that are then radiated into space. Every
wireless system has an antenna without it the RFID system will not
work. Since the antenna is common to both transmit and receive it has
the biggest impact on the systems performance.
– A feature of RFID systems that enables a batch of tags to be
read in one reader field by preventing the radio waves from
interfering with one another. It also prevents individual tags from
being read more than once.
Interface – refers to the portion of the system that uses
radio waves or RF to invisibly transfer information from the tag to
the reader and vice versa.
Data Capture (ADC) – Methods of collecting data and
entering it directly into a computer system without human
intervention. Automatic Identifications (Auto-ID) refers to any
technology for capturing and processing data into a computer system
without using a keyboard. Includes bar coding, RFID and voice
The smallest unit of digital information – A binary code –
a single ‘0’ or ‘1’, where many different
codes can be developed to represent pertinent information. A 96-bit
EPC is a string of 96 zeros and ones.
– 1 byte = 8 bits. One byte of memory is needed to generate an
alpha character or digit. So bytes can be thought of in terms of
Based RFID – Refers to RFID tags that contain a integrated
circuit and therefore can store a unique serial number or other
information and transmit that information to a reader.
–See Tag Collision
Article Surveillance Tags (EAS) – Single bit (either ‘on’
or ‘off’) electronic tags used to detect items for
anti-theft purposes. EAS technology is similar to RFID in that it
uses similar frequency bands. Also many of the 13.56 MHz RFID chips
contain a built-in EAS function.
Compatibility (EMC) - The ability of a technology or product to
coexist in an environment with other electro-magnetic devices.
, Inc.– EPCglobal is a joint venture between EAN
International and the Uniform Code Council, Inc it is a
not-for-profit organization entrusted by industry to establish and
support the Electronic Product Code (EPC) Network as the global
standard for immediate, automatic, and accurate identification of any
item in the supply chain of any company, in any industry, anywhere in
the world. EPC Global’s objective is to drive global adoption
of the EPCglobal Network. EPC is the next generation of product
identification schemes. EPCglobal develops standards to support the
use of RFID in today’s fast moving, information rich trading
Product Code (EPC) - Is the next generation of product
identification. The EPC is a simple compact, 64 bit or 96 bit
“license plate” that uniquely identifies objects (items,
cases, pallets, locations, etc.) in the supply chain. The EPC is
built around a basic hierarchical idea that can be used to express a
wide variety of different, existing numbering systems, like the
EAN.UCC system keys, UID, VIN, and other numbering systems. Like many
current numbering schemes used in commerce, the EPC is divided into
numbers that identify the manufacturer and product type. The EPC,
however, uses an extra set of digits, a serial number, to identify
unique items. The EPC is the key to the information about the product
it identifies that exits in the EPCglobal Network.
– refers to a band of operation for radio-based technologies.
Frequencies allocated for RFID use exist in the low (125Khz), high
(13.56 MHz), ultra-high (860 to 960 MHz) and microwave (2.45 Ghz)
frequency bands. Each frequency has its own advantages and
disadvantages such as read distance, tag size and resistance to
(Global Tag) – A standardization initiative of Uniform Code
Council (UCC) and the European Article Numbering Association (EAN)
for supply chain tracking applications using UHF RFID frequencies.
Global Trade Item Number (SGTIN) –,The Serialized Global
Trade Item Number is a new identity type based on the EAN.UCC Global
Trade Item Number (GTIN). A GTIN by itself does not represent a pure
EPC identity because it does not uniquely identify a single physical
object. Instead a GTIN identifies a particular class of object, such
as a particular kind of product or SKU.
RFID (13.56 MHz) – RFID that uses 13.56 MHz radio
frequency band. Features medium sized tags and relatively good
reading distances. In the U.S. 13.56 MHz tags can be typically read
at approximately 3 – 4 inches with a handheld reader and up to
3 feet with a portal reader. Both read only and read/write chips are
available in this frequency. Two ISO Standards define RFID
performance in this frequency, ISO 14443 for proximity applications
such as contactless smart cards and ISO 15693 for proximity
applications such as item and asset tracking.
Circuit (IC) – Another name for a microchip
– See Reader
– Technology that requires an item to be “seen” to
be automatically identified by a machine. Unlike bar codes and OCR
technologies, RFID tags can be read “through” merchandise
and most packaging with no line of sight required.
RFID – Typically refers to RFID tags that cost less than
$1.00 with typically 3 feet of read range.
Frequency RFID (125 & 134 KHz) – Low frequency radio
band allocated for RFID use. The main disadvantage of low frequency
RFID is its cost and relatively slow data transfer as well as it
inability to read many tags at the same time.
Tag Read/Write - Refers to the ability of RFID systems to read
multiple tags at the same time. Reading and writing of multiple tags
is achieved through the anti-collision feature programmed into the
RFID Frequency (2,450 MHz or 2.45 GHz) - A microwave frequency
band allocated for RFID use. Typically microwave RFID technologies
feature the smallest label footprint and long read distances. Typical
applications include industrial asset tracking with long range reads
and automated toll collection – toll lanes, and rail car
RFID Tag – An RFID tag that does not use a battery.
Passive tags draw their power from the reader field. The reader
transmits a low power radio signal through its antenna. The tag in
turn receives it through its own antenna to power the integrated
circuit (chip). Using the energy it gets from the signal, the tag
will briefly converse with the reader for verification and the
exchange of data. As a result, passive tags can transmit information
over shorter distances (typically 10 feet or less) than active tags.
They are considerably lower in cost ($0.30 or less) making them ideal
for tracking lower cost items.
Inventory – The ability to know one’s inventory
position at any given time. RFID offers the promise of being able to
perform automatic inventory counts.
Frequency Identifications (RFID) - A method of identifying
tagged items using radio waves. Radio waves do not require line of
site and can pas through materials like cardboard and plastic but not
metals and some liquids.
Range – The distance from which a reader can communicate
with a tag. Several factors including frequency used, orientation of
the tag, power of the reader and design of the antenna affect read
– Also called an interrogator. The device that contains the
“radiotronics” which trigger the transponder to respond.
– the reader is a device that captures and processes tag data
then passes the digital data to a computer system. The readers main
functions are; supply power to passive tags, provide command data to
tags, capture returned tag signals and process into a digital bit
stream, output data to another output device or to a computer system,
and write data to the tag.
can be configured with antennas in many formats including handheld
devices, portals or conveyor mounted.
Only Tags – Tags that contain data that cannot be changed.
Read only chips are less expensive than read-write chips.
Tags – RFID chips that can be read and written to multiple
times. Read/Write tags can accept data at various points along the
distribution cycle. This may include transaction data at the retail
point of sale. They are typically more expensive than read only tags
but offer more flexibility.
Transponder – Another name for a RFID tag. Typically
refers to a microchip that is attached to an antenna, which
communicates with a reader via radio waves. RFID tags contain serial
numbers that are permanently encoded, and which allow them to be
uniquely identified. RFID tags vary widely in design. They may
operate at one of several frequency bands, may be active or passive
and may be read-only or read-write.
– Distributed network software that manages and moves data
related to Electronic Product Codes (EPC).
Label – A label that contains an RFID chip and antenna.
These labels can store information such as a unique serial number and
communicate with a reader.
– a device which is attached to the object to be identified and
when appropriate radio signals are received transmits information as
radio signals to a reader. Tags are specified according to their
operating frequency, memory modes, memory size, type and packaging.
Collision – Interference caused when more than one RFID tag
sends back signals to the reader at the same time. The majority of
RFID chips incorporate a anticollision function in their circuitry
that allows many tags – up to 200 in the case of UHF tags - to
be read simultaneously in the reader field.
– A contraction of the words transmit and respond. This is
another name for an RFID Tag. A transponder consists of an RF
integrated circuit, the antenna and the substrate. The transponder
receives the power it requires to transmit & respond when it
placed in energy field being transmitted by a RFID reader.
Frequency (UHF; 860 to 960 MHz) – Ultra-high frequency
radio band allocated for RFID use. (902 to 928 MHz in the USA &
860 MHz in Europe) UHF RFID can send information faster and farther
than high and low frequency tags. UHF RFID is gaining industry
support as the bandwidth of choice for inventory tracking
applications including pallets and cases. UHF RFID features larger
tags and readers with the longest read distances (2-3 feet with
handheld readers and more than 10 feet with portal readers).
Chip (Write Once Read Many) – The chips memory can be
written to once and then becomes “Read Only” afterwards.