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Technical Overview of RFID

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is a wireless technology used for the tracking of placement or movement of objects. Applications vary from security access to buildings to the tracking of animals and the automation of toll collections to the tracking of goods in a supply chain.

There is no one accepted standard for RFID. Today, RFID systems are primarily comprised of proprietary systems that will not interoperate due to the mix of RF propagation technologies and information protocols. The formation of the ePC Global (a joint venture formed by UCC (Uniform Code Council) and EAN (European Article Number)) is expected to drive global retailer and manufacturing adoption of RFID technologies especially in the supply chain management applications.

An RFID system includes three primary components: the transponder, known as the "tag," provides the object tracking data; the transceiver, or "reader," collects the information from the tag and communicates it to the network for tracking; and the antenna enables the transceiver to read the data from the tag. RFID systems face many challenges in development, including interoperability of components and technological considerations related to the end-use environment, such as the proximity of the tagged object to the reader, length of time the object needs to be tracked, national radio regulations and even environmental conditions, such as temperature and moisture, which may affect the system.

The primary components of an RFID system are the antenna, transponder/"tag", and transceiver/"reader". Keysight offers an extensive set of tools for the modeling, development, and test of the components, as well as the necessary measurement tools to assure the proper matching of the specific antenna design to the materials being tagged.