What Is An RFID Key Fob? How Do They Work

You may be used to key fobs mostly being for cars but there is so much to them. You can also get RFID key fobs for other uses as opposed for using them to lock and unlock vehicles. This is a different type of technology which relies on radio frequency signals to function.

RFID key fobs come with numerous benefits as we shall see in this guide. We also talk about their applications, features, and how you can choose the right key fob for you to use with your application. But first, what are RFID key fobs?

The RFID key fobs are small portable electronice devices that feature RFID technology. The key fobs have a compact nature that allows for ease of carrying them in your pocket or add to a keyring holder easily. Most of them are suited for uses such as access control, contactless payment systems, and identification.

Choosing the right RFID Key Fobs

Now that you understand the applications of RFID key fobs, next is knowing how to choose them correctly so that they work as you had anticipated. Here are some considerations to keep in mind when choosing RFID key fobs.

operating frequency

The first consideration is the operating frequency. As mentioned before, RFID key fobs can operate on low frequency, high frequency, and ultra-high frequency. The choice of frequency depends on the read range you want to get and the type of RFID readers in place.

read range

The read range of course is still part of the considerations. The low frequency and high frequency key fobs mostly have a shorter read range. However, the UHF key fobs would have a higher read range.

security performance

The overall security performance can determine which key fob you choose. We recommend looking at the security features in place to ensure the best performance. The common security features for RFID key fobs include unique identifier codes and encryption. These features are key to prevent unauthorized access.

form factor and durability
form factor and durability

The form factor and durability are also key to make sure that the RFID key fobs you get are worth everything. An example is if you need something for the harsh environment, then choose something with tough cover materials such as ABS or polycarbonate

quantity and budget
quantity and budget

The quantity and budget can still be a determinant. This is because you need to work within your budget. The good part is that it is always possible to get RFID key fobs for cheap, just make sure they are good quality. Of course, making orders for large quantities means you can save more also.

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Types of RFID Key Fobs

The RFID key fobs are available in two main options. This includes the passive RFID key fobs and the active RFID key fobs.

Passive RFID key fobs do not contain an internal power source such as a battery. They work by drawing power from the electromagnetic field emitted by the reader during communication.

The other type is active RFID key fobs which now contain their own power source mostly a battery. This means that such key fobs to not rely on the electromagnetic field of the RFID reader. Having a battery makes them to have a longer read distance and also allows for continuous tracking capabilities.

Other than the two major classifications mentioned above, you also get the RFID key fobs being classified based on frequency. The main frequencies include;

  • Low frequency RFID key fobsoperating at 125KHz to 135KHz
  • High frequency RFID key fobsoperating at 13.56 MHz
  • Ultra high frequency RFID key fobs operating at 860 MHz to 960 MHz

Each type of RFID key fob may have pros and cons. What is important is understanding what you are getting with each option so that you can choose better and more efficiently.

Types of RFID Key Fobs

How Do RFID Key Fobs Work?
How Do RFID Key Fobs Work?

The RFID key fobs work based on the Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology. The key fobs contain the RFID chip and antenna as the key components that allow for communicating with the RFID readers through the radio waves.

Before the key fob can be used, it has to be programmed with unique identification data. The unique identifier is what the RFID reader uses to recognize it as part of the company’s database.

As the RFID key fob comes in the reader’s range, the electromagnetic waves of the reader will induce an electrical current in the key fob making it active. Once the chip is energized, it can now transmit the relevant information to the reader for decoding.

If the RFID reader find the data is authorized as per its programming, then it will grant access or perform a specific action. This could be opening a door, logging attendance, and more.

Applications of RFID Key Fobs

The RFID key fobs can have many uses in different industries at the moment. You can get them largely being used for access control systems. This is to control the number of people getting into offices, residential complexes, and gate communities.

The other application is public transportation. In the case of buses, subways, and trains, the use of RFID technology is a growing trend. This means you can use the RFID key fobs for contactless payment options to enable the passengers have an easy time boarding and disembarking from the train or bus.

It is not a surprise seeing RFID key fobs being used as hotel key cards. Guests coming to a hotel can be issued with the key fobs so that they can easily open their doors. It is a nice alternative to using the usual hotel key cards.

Event ticketing a popular application for RFID key fobs. Let us say someone is attending an event or concert, all they need to do is press the key fob and they should have access to the event. Such a system reduces the timeframe for going through security and also minimize handling cash payments.

We are sure there will always be more applications for RFID key fobs. Talking to JLTcard can help you know how best to use the key fobs and if they are ideal for your situation.

The RFID key fobs can have many features and functionalities. It depends on your field and how you would want to use them.

Contactless communication
Contactless communication

Contactless communicationis what makes people choose them as they make it so easy for certain applications. The users simply have to wave or tap the key fobs close to the reader and initiate communication.

identification and authentication
identification and authentication

The RFID key fobs also offer identification and authentication This is because each of the key fob has a unique identification number. When this information is transmitted to the reader, that is how the key fob can be easily identified and you are given access.

Access control
Access control

Access controlis also a primary function for RFID key fobs. They can be part of the security system mostly in buildings, rooms, parking lots, and any other restricted area that needs a certain level of authorization.

Keyless entry systems
Keyless entry systems

Keyless entry systems such as those for vehicles can also use RFID key fobs. You simply press the unlock button as you get close to the vehicle. In some cases, you can have the key fobs also programmed to start the engine

Encryption and security
Encryption and security

Encryption and security are other two main features of RFID key fobs. Because such devices can help with access control, encryption is important to protect the information from easily being obtained by anyone.

Integrating with other existing systems
Integrating with other existing systems

Integrating with other existing systems is another reason people consider the RFID key fobs. This means you can easily switch to using the key fobs with your existing infrastructure anytime you want and it will be good.

Conclusion

RFID key fobs are now a good alternatives to some existing technologies. These key fobs are simple to use and can easily work for a wide range of applications. We can see them being good for security, convenience, and so much more. Just make sure you are getting them from a reliable supplier such as JLTcard and you will have a good time using them.

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