RFID Reader Management Requirements by jennyyingdi


									RFID Reader Management

   Margaret Wasserman

• Taxonomy of Readers
• Reader Requirements for:
  – Configuration
  – Monitoring
  – Control
• Ongoing Reader Management Work
          Fixed RFID Readers

• “Pizza box” readers with
  ~2-8 antennas
• Typically used in supply
  chain applications
  – Dock doors and conveyor
           Fixed Reader Systems

• Wide range of system capabilities
   – Similar to home gateway or wireless access point
• Processors:
   – Low-end 16-bit to mid range (~266MHz) 32-bit processor
     plus DSP or FPGA for signal processing
• Operating Systems:
   – Proprietary, embedded, WinCE or Linux
• Networking:
   – Stand-alone TCP/IP network nodes running DHCP, HTTP,
     Telnet (or SSH), NTP, SNMP and proprietary API and/or
     control protocol
     Integrated Reader/Antenna

• Single antenna with
  integrated reader capability
         Reader/Antenna Systems

• Wide range of system capabilities
   – Very low-end access control point to higher-end “smart
• Processors:
   – DSP only to low-end 16-bit CPU
• Operating Systems:
   – Proprietary or embedded
• Networking:
   – Low-end: no standard networking, proprietary control
     system perhaps based on RS-232 or USB
   – High-end: Stand-alone TCP/IP node, might user Power over
     Ethernet (PoE), DHCP, proprietary control protocol
         Handheld Readers

• Handheld systems with integrated RFID
  reader and antenna
• Sometimes integrated into
  an existing barcode
  scanner product
        Handheld Reader Systems

• Handheld RFID scanner built into a handheld PC
• Processors:
   – Low-end to mid-range 32-bit processor plus DSP or FPGA
     for signal processing
• Operating Systems:
   – Typically WinCE
• Networking:
   – Wireless TCP/IP network nodes that use DHCP and connect
     to servers (perhaps intermittently) using proprietary data
     transfer applications
         Embedded Readers

• “Credit Card-sized” module, used to add
  RFID to a special-purpose device
• Examples: RFID
  printer/encoders, package
  sorters and POS terminals
  (AKA cash registers)
      Embedded Reader Systems

• Embedded reader is hosted in a special-purpose
• Processors:
   – No general purpose CPU -- DSP or FPGA for signal
   – Host system provides general purpose CPU
• Operating Systems:
   – None.
• Networking:
   – None. Accessed via USB, Serial interface or PCMCIA
   – Host processor may have networking capability
      Configuration Requirements

• Networking configuration similar to any end-
  node infrastructure device
  – DHCP, configuration and firmware downloads
• Small amount of persistent RFID-specific and
  device-specific configuration
  – Power level, active antennas, possibly some
    protocol and search settings
  – Set/get administrative status
    RFID Configuration Challenges

• Minimal system requirements
  – Lower-end “smart antennas” may not have much
    processor or memory available
• Needs to be configurable as a stand-alone
  device or as an entity within another device
  – Printer, cash register, handheld PC, etc.
• Good fit for an SNMP MIB?
  – Minimal agent system requirements
  – Subagent and Entity MIB allow configuration of an
    RFID “device within a device”
         Monitoring Requirements

• Monitoring of network connectivity similar to
  any other infrastructure device
• Monitoring of RFID-specific parameters
  –   Operational status
  –   Antenna connection faults
  –   RF problems/interference
  –   Perhaps some thresholding on read counts or
      other parameters?
        Monitoring Challenges

• RFID market is in early stages, so there
  hasn’t been much time for de facto
  – Readers (even within a single category)
    have significantly different
    hardware/software capabilities
             Control Requirements

• Most readers do not change roles regularly
   – Examples of reader roles:
       • A reader continuously reads a fixed set of protocols
       • A reader is set to read a fixed set of protocols, in a fixed cycle
         whenever the dock door is open (detected via GPIO)
       • A reader reads a fixed set of protocols for a defined time period
         whenever an electric eye is triggered
• Challenge is not in controlling reader search
  parameters, it is in collecting, parsing and collating
  RFID data from multiple read points
   – A standard way to collect RFID “reads” from multiple readers
     would be useful
    Control Requirement Questions

• Applications are needed to control the RFID reader,
  but at what level of abstraction?
   – Individual read cycle vs. set and forget?
• Where are the applications hosted?
   – May be hosted on workstation (reached over network), on a
     fixed reader, on a handheld PC or on the host processor for
     an embedded reader
• Are there any “real-time” requirements?
   – Regulatory requirements demand real-time (sub-millisecond)
     control over RF functions
   – Control at a higher levels may not be real-time at all
          Ongoing Related Efforts

• Reader Configuration
   – De facto standard set of DHCP options with bootfile and
     configuration file download mechanisms emerging due to
     network vendor/system integrator efforts
• Reader Monitoring
   – EPC Global Reader Management Group
      • Defining MIBs for reader monitoring and RFID-specific
• Reader Control
   – EPC Global Reader Protocol Group
      • Defining an XML/Web Services interface for reader control
             See: http://www.epcglobalinc.com

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