How To Check RFID Card Frequency
Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is one of the most versatile technologies out there. It is because of such that we often see some people asking, how do you check the RFID card frequency? It might not seem like a big deal, but understanding the type of RFID card frequency you have can determine a lot of things. This includes how you can use the card.
We want to look at why RFID frequency is important, the common types of RFID cards with their frequencies, and how best you can determine the RFID card frequency. So, the next time you are buying an RFID card, you will have all the necessary details.
Why RFID Frequency is Important
You might have not ever thought about RFID frequency, but you would be surprised by the number of things it can influence. Here is why you should know the type of frequency your card is operating on.
1. Communication protocol
Different RFID systems work based on different frequency bands. That is why you get low-frequency, high-frequency, and ultra-high-frequency RFID systems. This type of frequency determines the communication protocol between the readers and RFID cards. As such, it is vital to keep the frequency of the card and that of the reader the same.
2. Read and write distance
You will easily realize that the different frequency bands of operation determine the read range of the RFID card. Expect the LF systems to have a shorter read range as compared to UHF systems that can allow several meters of read range.
This generally determines the application form for your RFID card. Some applications can work well with a short read range. This includes access control. However, toll collection needs a long read range for more effectiveness.
3. Security considerations
The RFID frequency can also play a role in determining the kind of security you would get with a system. It is worth noting that some of the frequencies are more susceptible to eavesdropping or interference than others.
This is why the LF cards might support basic security measures, and once you get to UHF cards, they can handle complex encryption algorithms. So, depending on the level of security you want, you would know which cards to pick.
4. Regulatory compliance
Certain applications need a recommended level of protection. That is where compliance comes in. If the application involves storing sensitive data, then you need to use the right RFID card frequency to keep the information safe. This would mean taking the time to understand what types of cards you have and how they can work well for your application.
5. Optimizing performance
Depending on the project you are working on, sometimes it is necessary to optimize performance by using the right RFID card. Make sure that you match the RFID frequency of your cards to that of the RFID system. This can result in efficient and reliable data transmission, reduced signal interference, and fewer chances of errors.
Types of RFID Cards Based on Frequency
We can briefly check out what kind of RFID cards you can get based on their frequency. This will help you get a better understanding of what you can expect when seeking new RFID cards for your application.
Low-Frequency (LF) RFID Cards
These low-frequency RFID cards have a frequency range of 125KHz to 134KHz. These are some of the most basic RFID cards you will get on the market. They have a relatively short read range of just a few centimeters or inches. That is why they might be used for access control, where you have to be close to the reader for identification.
These cards are still less susceptible to interference, especially from metals and liquids. This feature makes them good for applications where proximity and reliability are important.
High-Frequency (HF) RFID Cards
The operating frequency for these cards is 13.56MHz. Because of the bigger frequency of operation, you get a better read range. It is often a foot or more.
Expect that the cards would have a better data transfer rate than the LF cards. Also, expect better security features with this type of card.
You may find them having more applications too. This includes contactless payments, NFC applications, and access control systems.
Ultra-High-Frequency (UHF) RFID Cards
This one offers a lot more performance with a frequency range of 860 to 960 MHz. Such a frequency range generally means that you get an extended read range, sometimes reaching several meters.
So, if you have an application that needs an extended read range, then you have these cards to help out. Expect them to be useful for inventory tracking in your warehouse or supply chain management.
As for the data transfer rate, they offer better performance compared to the LF and HF cards. This results in quick and efficient communication.
Expect to come across many other ranges, but those mentioned above will be what most people use right now.
Tools for Checking RFID Card Frequency Range
You can easily get RFID cards in most shops around the world, but sometimes, you would not know their frequency without the right packaging. That is why you may need tools to help with checking the RFID card frequency range. Here are a few options to consider.
- RFID frequency readers
These are devices meant for reading the contents of an RFID card and passing that information to the control unit for further details. When the card is brought near the reader, it will quickly retrieve this information, including the frequency range. You can now see the frequency from the details outputted via the reader’s software on a computer system.
- Spectrum analyzer
A spectrum analyzer can also be a good choice to determine the RFID card frequency. The best part is that it can work with many other sources of signals and not just the cards. This helps in making it more versatile for other applications you have.
Simply connect the RFID card to the analyzer, and it will capture the signals and analyze them for you. It will not take long before you have a detailed report about the card on the analyzer.
- Manufacturer documentation
The manufacturer documentation simply means the manual that comes with the RFID cards. From the documentation, you will learn about multiple card specifications. This includes its operating frequency.
You can still get this information from the manufacturer’s official website. This is one of the easiest ways for you to get all the key information about the RFID card frequency.
Step-by-Step Guide: How to Check RFID Card Frequency
We have looked at some of the common methods you can use to determine the frequency of the RFID card. What is important is that you choose a method or two for verifying the frequency of your cards.
We will consider using an RFID frequency reader as a guide so that you know how to use it in detail.
- Get yourself an RFID card frequency reader. These are devices designed to read the RFID signals from the card and give a detailed report, including its frequency.
- Once you have the reader, place the RFID card on the reader and connect it to a smartphone or computer. Make sure all the necessary software is installed to get the report from the reader.
- Go ahead to power the reader and run the software from your phone or computer. Depending on the reader, it may take a minute or two for you to get the report about the card’s frequency.
- Once the RFID card reader is done, you should get the information on your device. Go ahead to review the information to learn more about what type of RFID card you have currently.
You could still use manual methods to check the RFID card frequency. The manual method simply means visually inspecting the RFID cards to understand what the numbers written on it mean.
Be on the lookout for symbols or codes such as LF, UHF, and HF. These should give you an idea of the operating frequency once you see them on the RFID card.
Still, simply check the manufacturer’s datasheet that comes with the RFID cards. From the manual, go to the section showing technical specifications about the RFID card. Here, you will learn more about the frequency and other important information to determine compatibility.
As you have read above, there are a number of ways for you to learn more about the RFID card frequency. Some methods are free, while others might require investing in additional gadgets. Go ahead to choose a method that is easy and works for your specific area of application.