The Ultimate Guide For RFID Standards
RFID, or Radio Frequency Identification technology, has managed to get into different industries right now. Because of this, you can expect so much more that RFID would do. The technology is powerful and effective, which has warranted the need for RFID standards to guide its usage.
RFID standards help with many things, including interoperability, global consistency, security, etc. We help you understand why it is vital to have these standards, how to choose the right standard, the types of RFID standards available, and more. Keep reading to learn more.
Importance of RFID Standards
Some might wonder why standards are important since different companies are making RFID products. Everyone should make the products and try to out-compete each other. However, RFID standards are still important, even with competition in mind. That is how you end up with quality products. Below, we look at the main reasons for RFID standards.
RFID standards are key for promoting interoperability. Different RFID components, such as readers, tags, and systems, can still communicate seamlessly, even from different manufacturers.
That is how various organizations can mix and match various RFID components, and they will still work. This can help prevent cases of vendor lock-in and promote healthy competition in a marketplace.
Interoperability also means there is broader adoption of the technology, no matter the manufacturer.
You would also have a common language for RFID systems on a global scale. This means that international trade and managing supply chains is easier. The standards ensure that the technology would work the same regardless of where it is deployed. Thus, a business can expand to different regions to boost its operations globally.
RFID standards can also work well to boost the security of the user. This is because they contain the necessary security protocols every manufacturer should have to protect the data and assets of the users.
If such a standard is not implemented, the systems could be vulnerable to data interception, tampering, cloning, and more.
Many industries have to follow certain regulations and standards, even for RFID technology. Take healthcare as an example. The RFID standards have to be used to ensure there is accurate tracking of medical devices and proper protection of patient information. Being non-compliant can easily attract penalties or fines.
Most of the time, RFID components would be mass-produced based on the established standards. This makes the devices more affordable for resellers or businesses to adopt RFID technology.
It is also possible to simply reuse the same RFID readers or systems with new RFID cards or tags. It shows that there is no need to keep upgrading the RFID systems each time you change to new cards. Such is vital to save you a lot of money too.
Types of RFID Standards
RFID standards vary and can be categorized based on frequencies, protocols, and RFID system specifications. The work of these standards is to enhance compatibility, efficiency, and interoperability. We discuss them more below to help you understand them better.
1. Protocol Standards
ISO 18000 Series
This is probably the most referenced series of ISO standards that RFID devices have to adopt. The standards cover everything, including the frequency ranges, interfaces, and more.
ISO 18000 series provided a framework where the manufacturers could come up with standard products to promote interoperability and standardization.
Because of such standards, it is possible now to use RFID devices in various fields such as automotive, aerospace, healthcare, and logistics. It all comes down to project-specific requirements.
EPC Gen2 ( Electronic Product Code Generation 2)
This protocol standard is commonly associated with UHF RFID. It purposely defines the air interface the UHF RFID systems must use. This ensures there is proper compatibility between different EPC Gen2-compliant readers and tags.
This protocol has made it possible to use the device in supply chain and retail environments to manage inventory.
2. Frequency Standards
Low Frequency (LF)
This is where the RFID system operates on frequencies 30KHz to 300 KHz, with the most common RFID standard being ISO 1800-2.
The applications for this stand include proximity cards, animal tracking, and access control. It might not have many sensitive applications, but it makes the system work even in harsh environments.
The standard for this one is operating in the frequency range of 3MHz to 30MHz. The commonly associated RFID standards include ISO 14443 and ISO 15693.
Because of the improved frequency, it also gets more applications. Such include contactless payment solutions, NFC devices, library booking, and more. Expect such devices to have a faster data transfer speed than the LF devices.
Ultra-High Frequency (UHF)
The UHF standard means that the devices operate in the frequency range of 300MHz and 3GHz. They also follow the protocol standards EPC Gen2 and ISO 18000-6C.
UHF RFID has more capabilities than the other two mentioned above. Expect it mostly in long-range applications because of its larger read range. As such, it is suitable for tracking multiple items at a distance.
3. Application-Specific Standards
This is an organization that comes up with standards for RFID technology and Electronic Product Code, mostly in the supply chain.
These standards largely help streamline tracking products and assets as they move around different places.
If you are in the supply chain management or logistics business, expect to come across RFID devices conforming to such standards.
The healthcare industry standards are important for ensuring patient safety, better asset management, and protection of patient information. The Health Industry Business Communications Council (HIBCC) and Health Level 7 (HL7) are the main bodies that develop such healthcare standards.
The aerospace industry also needs specific standards to be followed so that the products work as expected. An example of the aerospace standards include ATA Spec 2000 for managing the parts, maintenance, and improving traceability.
With these standards in place, there is improved efficiency, reduced errors, and better safety in aviation operations.
It is possible to have many other standards depending on the industry of operation. What is vital is continually researching your industry to see how best to implement RFID systems that conform to the industry standards.
Choosing the Right RFID Standard
Choosing the right RFID standard to help you decide is just as important as the product itself. These are some of the things to consider while choosing to work with a certain standard.
- Identify your applications and requirements. This can help you determine the use case and read range.
- Check the industry-specific requirements. For example, the healthcare and aviation industries have strict regulations.
- Evaluate your interoperability needs. Also, the vendor ecosystem is important if you ever need to replace something in your RFID system.
- How well do the devices work in different environmental conditions? This means you have to choose devices made with a standard in mind to withstand the environmental conditions.
- The budget and scalability can also determine which standard you opt for. For example, the LF standard can easily help you get affordable RFID tags and readers compared to the UHF standard.
The use of RFID devices is not slowing down, and we can expect things to keep growing in that direction. So long as the manufacturers use RFID standards, interoperability and quality will remain the best thing. If you are ever unsure about the standard of a product, talk to JLTcard to get more insights about it so that you buy knowing you are getting a quality product.