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These are some of the most FAQS about RFID based solutions. Hopefully you’ll find the answer you are looking for here.

If you are unable to find an answer to your query, or would like more information provided on anything else then please don’t hesitate getting in contact with us.

Q1: What Is RFID?

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is a technology that allows information to be read wirelessly over (relatively) short distances.

Q2: What Benefits can RFID bring to my business?

RFID brings benefits to businesses in a number of ways through cost reduction, revenue generation and reduction of business risks:

  • Providing better utilisation of assets through improved asset identification, so saving costs.
  • Speeding internal processes by automating identification of items, allowing for staff savings.
  • Allowing innovation in product design and customer service, contributing to improved revenues.
  • Linking people, places, events and things automatically, improving accountability and helping conformance with regulation and internal processes.
  • Reducing the costs of demonstrating regulatory compliance by automating identification and audit aspects of the process.

Q3: What can I use RFID for?

RFID can be used in a wide range of business applications – virtually anywhere that there is a need for IT systems to know about the things around them. Common business uses for RFID include:

  • Identifying stock items and stock locations.
  • Identifying staff, customers and event attendees.
  • Tracking work-in-progress through manufacturing.
  • Managing compliance to regulation by identifying those responsible for tasks and confirming that tasks have been completed.
  • Tracking the movement of goods from suppliers and out to customers.
  • Controlling the use of packaging allowing re-use and re-cycling.
  • Controlling access to locations and systems for security or safety purposes.
  • Time recording applications.
  • Auditing assets.
  • Helping to simplify the maintenance of assets.
  • Simplifying equipment and tools usage and return.
  • Improving the quality of shipment by ensuring complete orders.

Q4: How can I implement RFID?

RFID implementations have much in common with other technology implementation projects but there are some unique aspects. Our experiences show that the best ways to implement RFID in business are based on a combination of careful evaluation and practical experiment.

CoreRFID recommends a five step approach:

  1. Start with a clear idea of what the objectives are. Is it to save costs or to improve information? Is it to solve a problem in an existing application or to make possible a new way of working?
  2. Find someone to work with that has experience of real-world implementations. There are so many different technologies and standards that it is easy to make the wrong choices.
  3. Think carefully about the environment(s) in which the systems will work. Success with RFID depends on having a good understanding of the human and physical factors in the workplace.
  4. Pilot the selected technology. Carrying out a trial can be inexpensive and will provide sound data on which to base a business case and an implementation plan.
  5. Learn the lessons of the pilot BEFORE planning the roll out!

Q5: Is RFID reliable?

RFID is a well proven technology with a pedigree stretching back to the 1940’s. It is also a technology where innovation is common, with new approaches and new systems becoming available all the time. Many RFID technologies have demonstrated their reliability with millions of tags and thousands of readers being used in some applications.Equally some RFID technologies are very new and have yet to demonstrate their practicality and reliability. For that reason it pays to take expert advice when planning to use RFID.

Q6: What standards are in place?

RFID technologies are standardised in a number of areas. Broadly speaking standards have been developed regarding:

  • The various electrical characteristics and frequencies used by readers and tags.
  • The protocols for information exchange between readers and tags.
  • The information formats used for storage of data on tags.
  • The codes to be used by different organisations in supply chains.
  • Electrical emission and radiation safety standards.

A number of organizations are active in the standards arena including those developing industry standards and those working in collaboration with the International Standards Organisation (ISO). Although in the past there were many competing approaches, one of the encouraging aspects of RFID over the last few years has been the increasing use of international standards.
Standards for different areas are controlled by bodies including:

  • ISO (electrical, frequency & protocol standards)
  • EPC-Global / GS-1 (coding, data & protocol standards)

A focal point for the development of European standards is the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI). Among other work ETSI has been responsible for publishing a harmonized set of standards covering the full breadth of frequency spectrums for shirt range devices such as RFID. They are also working with EPC Global on standards for UHF devices.

Q7: Why choose RFID rather than barcodes?

Both technologies let IT systems know about the things around them. RFID has the following advantages over barcode which may mean that it is the best technology for a particular application:

  • Information on tags can only be read electronically whereas bar-coded information is directly readable.
  • Information can be read without a line of sight between the reader and the tag.
  • Information can be read at distances up to 10 metres.
  • Information from a tag can be read at rates up to 1000 tags per second compared with a second or more for a barcode.
  • Cloning of RFID chips is much more difficult than cloning barcode labels.
  • RFID tags are less easy to vandalise or damage (especially since they can be located out of sight)

Q8: Can we update our existing barcode system to RFID?

The short answer is “yes” but it will need careful planning. Updating a barcode system will need new reader devices, new procedures for tagging items and, probably, new ways of integrating the data available into information systems.It is sensible to take the opportunity to think about the best way to address the business with the technology rather than to simply replicate the old system with new technology.

Q9: Can we do an RFID pilot before rolling out a complete solution?

Not only can you, CoreRFID thinks that you should! The availability of a low cost “pilot pack” means that a simple example of the planned application can be developed and trialed.

Q1: What are the main types of RFID systems?

There are two main classes of RFID systems, passive tags and active tags. Passive tags are the most widely used. They depend on the wireless signal from the reader to provide the power to activate the chip and to allow its data to be read. Passive tags are available in three main types; Low Frequency, High Frequency and Ultra High Frequency. They are substantially lower in cost than active tags and have an indefinite life but can be read over shorter distances.

Active tags have their own on-board battery power and do not (or only partly) depend on the power provided by the reader. They are more expensive than passive tags and the battery has a finite life (typically up to 5 years) but they do offer significantly greater read distances.

Q2: How far away can tags be read?

There isn’t a simple answer to this as it depends a great deal on a number of factors including:

  • The type of tag technology (LF, HF, UHF)
  • The design and quality of the tag itself
  • The antenna used on the reader

The environment of the reader and tag (intervening materials, what the tag is mounted on, electrical interference) However, in general terms the following read distances can be achieved:

  • LF: 3cm – 12cm
  • HF: 5cm – 6cm
  • UHF: up to 8 – 10 metres
  • Active Tags: up to 100 metres

Q3: How much information can be stored on a tag?

Tags have a quite limited storage capacity and normally only hold an identification number that allows them to be linked to a record in a database. Different tag technologies have different storage capabilities:

  • LF: 64bits – 2k bits
  • HF: 0.5k – 4k bits (specials to 16k)
  • UHF: up to 240 bits using EPC + 512 bits user
  • Active Tags: Typically up to 1012k bits

Q4: What frequencies does RFID use & what are the differences?

The frequency bands used by each of the passive RFID tag technologies are:

  • LF 125kHz to 134kHz
  • HF 13.56MHz
  • UHF 860MHz to 960MHz
  • Active Up to 2.445GHz

The main differences between the three passive RFID bands are:

  • LF Higher storage capacity tags
  • HF Higher speed reading than LF
  • HF More reliable reading than LF
  • HF Higher capacity tags than LF
  • UHF Higher speed reading than HF
  • UHF Greater read distance than HF
  • UHF More reliable reading than HF

Q1: What support is available to help us choose the right equipment?

CoreRFID understands that the world of RFID is complex and that technology choices may not be straightforward. We try to provide as much technical data as we can through our web site and we offer pilot systems for purchase as a way for our customers to try out the technology. And, of course, we are happy to discuss your requirements before purchase.

Q2: What support is available after we have purchased?

CoreRFID provides after sales support by email, telephone and web chat. Faulty units can, of course, be returned using our Returns Procedure.

Q3:Can you provide complete RFID solutions – tags, readers & software?

CoreRFID is able to provide a complete turnkey solution including:

  • Consultancy on solution design & technology selection
  • Supply of demonstration and evaluation systems
  • Supply of tags, readers, PDA and other mobile devices
  • Development of custom RFID software applications or supply of CoreRFID software packages
  • Development of custom chip data formats and data compression / storage methods
  • Pre-coding of tags
  • Implementation project management

We have also developed a range of software applications that support common RFID application requirements. Details can be found in the What We Do area of our web site.

Q4: Can you physically customise tags?

CoreRFID works with a wide range of chip providers. CoreRFID can work with customers to specify and source custom tags with special variations of:

  • Chip encapsulation
  • Tag mounting method
  • Tag over printing & branding

We have also developed a range of software applications that support common RFID application requirements. Details can be found in the What We Do area of our web site.

Q5: I have a question, how quickly will you respond?

We try to provide a response within 24 hours.

Q1: How can I order?

You can order online through our shop at www.rfidshop.com or by telephoning on +44 (0)8450710985.

Q2: Can I purchase in different currencies?

Yes, our standard pricing is available for £ sterling, Euro and US Dollars.

Q3: Do you ship worldwide?

Yes we regularly ship to Europe, USA, and Australia as well as the Far East and Middle East.

Q4: Do you sell to resellers?

Yes. CoreRFID is the exclusive distributor of certain products and we are happy to work with resellers to develop custom technologies for their specific markets. We are always happy to explore collaborative commercial arrangements with businesses that have access to specific market sectors, application domains or territories.

Q5: How can I pay for my orders?

Almost every possible way. We accept payment BACS transfer, cheque, PAYPAL, or by credit card via our web site, telephone or fax. We are also able to offer a 30 day credit account (application required).

Q6: Are the tags and readers on your shop all that you sell?

No. The items on our web site represent the range of devices that are the most popular with our shop customers. We provide other items for specific projects and are always interested in quoting for the supply of other items that might be required. Also, the shop does not hold detail of our software applications. If you are planning to develop RFID based software a conversation with our experts could save you considerable time, effort and risk.

Q7: Are your prices for volume orders?

No. The prices on our web site are for small quantity orders. If you have a requirement for large volumes, please contact us for pricing that matches your volume and shipment requirements.

Q8: What is your policy on returns?

Please read the “Returns Policy” document, available on our web site.