Introduction to RFID Technology by mhk16044


									           Introduction to RFID
Presented by: Rafael Kleiman
Professor of Engineering Physics
Director, Centre for Emerging Device Technologies
Scientific Director, McMaster RFID Applications Laboratory

•   Fundamentals of RFID Technology
•   Overview of RFID Systems
•   Existing RFID Applications
•   Future trends and applications
•   Conclusion
•   Fundamentals of RFID Technology
•   Overview of RFID Systems
•   Existing RFID Applications
•   Future trends and applications
•   Conclusion
The Electromagnetic Spectrum
The Electromagnetic Spectrum
All EM frequencies allowed.
They obey f λ = c in vacuum.
f = frequency
λ= wavelength
c = speed of light
       Frequency Allocations
• RF waves are regulated by FCC. FCC and its
  associates specify the frequencies,
  communication means, amplitudes and uses
  that are permitted over the whole frequency
  spectrum through a spectrum licensing process
     • Unlicensed Frequency Bands: it means that
       anyone can use these bands, provided that they
       are following the rules of transmission and
     • Licensed Frequency Bands: these are the bands
       that a user needs to pay for using it.
US Frequency Allocations
        Frequency Allocations
Four primary frequency bands are being used for
  RFID applications:
     • Low Frequency (LF) (125/134KHz): Most commonly used
       for access control, animal tracking, asset tracking and most
       importantly when there is close proximity to water or non-
       conductive materials
     • High-Frequency (HF) (13.56 MHz): Used where medium
       data rate and read ranges are acceptable. It has the
       advantage of not being susceptible to interference from water
       or metals.
     • Ultra High-Frequency (UHF) (850 MHz to 950 MHz): It
       offers the long read ranges and high reading speeds.
     • Microwave Frequency (MW) (2.4 GHz): Highest penetration
       in metals and lowest in water surroundings
  The Electromagnetic Spectrum
Frequency (Hz)
                    Name        Wavelength (m)
    1E+21        Gamma rays         3E-13        f = 2.4 GHz:
    1E+19          X-rays
                                                 λ = 12.5 cm
    1E+18                           3E-10
    1E+17         Deep UV           3E-09
    1E+16             UV            3E-08        UHF
    1E+15           Visible         3E-07        f = 915 MHz:
    1E+14          Infrared         3E-06
    1E+13        Far Infrared       3E-05        λ = 33 cm
    1E+12         TeraHertz         3E-04
    1E+11                           3E-03
    1E+10        Microwave          3E-02        HF
    1E+09           UHF             3E-01
    1E+08         TV, FM           3E+00
                                                 f = 13.56 MHz:
    1E+07        Shortwave         3E+01         λ = 22m
    1E+06           AM             3E+02
    1E+05                          3E+03
    1E+04                          3E+04         LF
    1E+03                          3E+05
    1E+02        Power Lines       3E+06         f = 134kHz:
    1E+01        Brain Waves       3E+07         λ = 2.2km
     Propagating EM Waves
Typically require antenna size (L) to be
 comparable to the wavelength (λ) for
 efficient transmission and reception of
 electromagnetic waves.
          Inductive Coupling
Can still couple two systems even when L << λ
This is magnetic coupling, as in a transformer.
 Generally require spacing to be comparable
 to coil dimensions for this to work.
                Radio Systems
1-way Broadband                Can get away with 1
  (e.g. radio and TV)          powerful transmitter and 1
                               poor receiver

                     2-way radios

Require efficient               2-way cellular
                                established channel
                                  on a network
  Overview of RFID Systems
f = 2.4 GHz:
λ = 12.5 cm
                 Propagating waves
UHF              Antennas
f = 915 MHz:     Long read range possible
λ = 33 cm

f = 13.56 MHz:
λ = 22m          Inductive coupling
LF               Proximity detection
f = 134kHz:
λ = 2.2km
        Information Transfer
More bandwidth for information transfer at
  higher frequencies. (e.g. fiber optics vs.
  radio waves)
For fixed amount of data, this corresponds
  to faster transfer rate at higher
Information is commonly encoded on carrier
  frequency by varying the amplitude (e.g.
  AM), frequency (FM) or phase of the
  carrier signal.
          Radio Power Levels
•   Affects cost of receiver and transmitter
•   Affects the type of power source needed
•   Regulatory issues
•   Effects on human health (at high levels)
           Interaction with Materials
Different materials respond differently to RF signals
   Absorption, Reflection and Transmission all must be considered.

Material Composition                    Its Effect on RF Signal
Corrugated cardboard                    Absorption from moisture

Conductive Liquids                      Absorption

Glass                                   Attenuation

                                        Multiple propagation effects;
Groups of cans

Humans/animals                          Absorption; detuning; reflection

Metals                                  Reflection

Plastics                                Detuning (dielectric effect)
   Interaction with Materials
– The absorption rate for water and other non-
  conductive substances is lower by a factor of
  100,000 at 100 kHz than it is at 1 GHz
– LF systems are primarily used due to their
  high propagation of substances
•   Fundamentals of RFID Technology
•   Overview of RFID Systems
•   Existing RFID Applications
•   Future trends and applications
•   Conclusion
    What is RFID Technology?
• really just a very simple 2-way radio
• optimized for low cost (on tag end)
• optimized for low (even zero) power (on tag end)
• very limited information transfer (as compared to
  other wireless technologies)
• very standardized format(s) for information
  transfer (optimized for low cost/high volume
    What Made RFID Possible?
Breakthrough Technology:
   – compact, low cost, low power circuitry enabled
     passive tags with no power source!

Incoming (ac) signal rectified (to dc) and used to power
   integrated circuitry for information transfer.

Very simple idea enables inexpensive, simply designed
  radio communication with no internal power source
  (passive RFID tags).

1973: Mario Cardullo, US Patent 3,713,148 claims the first
  true ancestor of modern RFID: a passive radio
  transponder with memory.
   What Made RFID Possible?
Facilitating Technologies:
  – compact circuitry
  – low cost circuitry
  – low power circuitry

All available to us now due to the
  extraordinary advances along the Silicon
     Overview of RFID Systems
An Overall RFID System
  – Tag (Transponder)
     • Chip, memory
     • Antenna
  – Reader (Interrogator)
     • RF Module (Transmitter
       and Receiver)
     • Control Unit
     • Antenna
     • Several Interfaces (RS
       232, RS 485, etc.)
  – Host Computer
     • Middleware
                        RFID Tags
• Definition
   – An RFID tag is a tiny electronic device capable of emitting radio
     signals to be picked up by a reader device.
   – Typically, it consists of:
       • On-chip circuitry: An integrated chip IC which is capable of simple
         signal processing and communicating with the outer world
       • Memory: A memory to save any data needed. It can be read/write or
         read only. Currently, it is usually 64, 96, 128, 256, or 512 bits
       • Antenna: Its function is to absorb RF waves and then broadcast the
         signal back out
   – It might have an optional power source
   – The whole device can be encapsulated in different materials
     (such as plastic) depending in the application.
   – The finished tag can be attached to an object, typically an item,
     box, or pallet, and read remotely to ascertain its identity, position,
     or state.
   RFID Tag Classification
– Passive
  • No batteries
  • No active transmitter
– Active:
  • Battery
  • Active Transmitter
– Semi-passive
  • Battery to run the chip circuitry
  • EM waves to power the communication with the
             RFID Tags: Passive
• No batteries, no active transmitter
• It acquires its power from the EM
  field created by the signal from the
  RFID reader
• Most mandates require passive
• Much cheaper than active ones,
  passive tags are what will drive
  tagging from the pallet level to the
  item level
            RFID Tags: Active
• Battery, active transmitter
• Operational range of about 30m or
• Bigger memory
• Can receive and store data
• Lifetime about five years
• Works better with RF-absorbent
• Can contain microprocessors,
  sensors etc.
           RFID Tags: Semi-active
•   Battery, no active transmitter
•   Read distance about 30m
•   Backscattering
•   Longer operational range
•   Has its own memory for data
•   Faster read time than passive tag
•   Works better with RF-absorbent materials
•   Can contain sensors
•   A battery to run the chip circuitry, but EM
    waves to power the communication with the
•   It is capable of performing jobs that cannot be
    done by passive tags, but don’t need
    expensive active tags as well (monitoring
    sensors without being inside the interrogation
    zone of the reader)
RFID Tag Design
       RFID Tags: Circuitry
– It is responsible for converting the RF signal into
  useable electric power, storing and retrieving data,
  modulating and sending back the RF signal to the
– The amount of memory on the chip depends on the
– The Electronic Product Code (EPC) industry uses a
  serialized numbering system to point towards
  additional information that is stored in secured
   • Security
   • Tag Cost
            RFID Tags: Memory
– Read-Only (RO)
   • Factory programmed
   • Written once
– Write Once, Read Many (WORM)
   •   Field programmable
   •   Written once
   •   Good data security
   •   Not too expensive
– Read-write (RW)
   •   Reprogrammable
   •   Written 10,000-100,000 times or more
   •   Data can be written by reader or tag (active tags)
   •   Flash or FRAM memory to store data
   •   Bad data security
   •   Most expensive
           RFID Tags: Antennae
• Antenna Design Considerations
  – The orientation of the antenna is crucial in how efficient the
    coupling is to the tag
  – Antennas that have many different angles (many turns and
    wings shooting off the center) are designed to couple with the
    RF signal at any angle (Better for dock door or doorway
    applications (Orientation-insensitive)
  – Straight antennas are used in flat, directionally sensitive
    applications such as conveyor belts.
  – Examples
      •   Dipole Antennas
      •   Yagi-Uda Antenna
      •   Patch or Microstrip Antenna
      •   Slot Antennas
    RFID Tags: Construction
– Disk & Coins
    • Most common format
– Glass Housing
    • Mainly developed to be injected under the skin of an animal
– Plastic Housing
    • Mainly developed for applications involving high mechanical
      demands such as automotive industry
– Keys and key Fobs
    • For immobilizers or door locking applications that require high level
      of security
– Clocks
    • Developed in the early 1990’s by Austrian company to be used as a
– Smart Label
    • It refers to paper-thin transponder format
– Coil-in-chip
    • By integrating the coil (antenna) to the chip, it is one ofthe smallest
      available tags in the market
RFID Tags: Examples
                RFID Readers
• Definition
   – RFID reader is simply a sophisticated radio which is
     capable of requesting and collecting data from RFID
• How does it work?
   – The power needed is supplied by battery or a wall
   – Inside the reader, a DSP chip and the processor will
     modulate/demodulate the frequency or/and the
     amplitude of the signal being sent/received.
   – The average DSP chip holds anywhere from 8
     kilobytes to 256 kilobytes of memory
   – The signal goes to the antenna usually via a coax
RFID Readers
           RFID Readers
• Smallest RFID Readers
RFID Tags: Low-frequency
RFID Tags: High-frequency
                RFID Middleware
• Via the reader, it collects the data from the tags and acts
  as a conduit from the tags to the client’s application
  software system
   – Technically, it is software that utilizes data collected by the tags
     and decides what is the required action.
   – In reality, without the proper middleware, RFID tags are no more
     than advanced barcodes.
• Applications Oriented:
   – Obviously the complexity and/or the functionality of the
     middleware depend on the application
• Typically the middleware has to be customized for
  different customers even for the same application
• It is considered one of the least advanced parts of the
  RFID system
   – Suppliers and customers are trying to figure what can they do
     with the data being collected
  Communication Protocols
– Signal Coding:
  • It takes the information and codes it in a way that
    will be optimal for the transmission channel
  • It provides protection against interference or/and
  • Examples: NRZ code, Manchester code,
    Differential coding, pulse-pause coding, Miller
– Modulation
  • It is the process of altering the signal parameters
    of a high frequency carrier in relation to the data
    signal to be transmitted
  • Examples: Amplitude, Frequency and Phase
   Communication Architecture
• Anti-collision
   – Problem
      • A reader can communicate with only one tag at a time
   – Solution
      • Use anti-collision (Singulation) protocols
                     Read Range
The range that can be achieved in an RFID system is
  critically determined by the frequency of
  – inductive coupling (low-f) - size of coils and power
  – propagating (high f):
     • transmission power from reader (subject to regulatory limitations)
     • environmental conditions and structures
     • antenna size and efficiency

•   Fundamentals of RFID Technology
•   Overview of RFID Systems
•   Existing RFID Applications
•   Future trends and applications
•   Conclusion
  Benefits of RFID Technology
– More accurate inventory control
– Speed increase in processes
– Fewer human recourses needed
– No line-of-sight needed
– Durable, temperature-, chemical-, shock
– Can be operated with laptop, PDA,
  mobile phone etc.
– Supports most common operating
                  RFID-enabled Applications
Transportation          Manufacturing          Security           Financial     Other              Medical
                        Automated Guided                          Electronic    Animal             Asset
Airline Transponder     Vehicle control        Access Control     Cash          Identification     Management
                                                                  Automated     Tournaments        Patient
Container ID            Assembly Line ID       Auto Immobilizer   Fueling       Finish Line        Management
                        Configuration                             Payphone                         Staff
Global Positioning      Management             Baggage Tag        Token         Gambling Token     Management
Pallet Identification   Factory Automation     Boarding Pass      Ski Tickets   Gas Cylinder ID    Administration
                                                                  University    Laundry
Parking Control         Forklift Positioning   Electronic Keys    Cards         Tracking           Drug Dispensing
                                               Fleet              Food
Toll Collection         Inventory Control      Management         Services      Loyalty programs
                                                                  Time &        Medical Device
Traffic Management      Maintenance            People Locating    Attendance    ID
                                                                  Document      membership
Truck Fleet Tracking    Paint Shop             Security Areas     Control       Cards
Rail Car
Identification          Process Control        Theft Prevention                 Mining
                                               Vehicle Access                   Patient
Parcel Logistics        Brand Identification   Control                          ID/tracking
                        Supply Chain
Vehicle Movement        Management             Counterfeiting                   Library Tracking
Passenger Tracking
Luggage Tracking
    RFID Application Examples
• RFID-based contactless payment
  – American Express
  – Visa
  – MasterCard
  – Esso Speed-Pass
      RFID Application Examples
• RFID in Library
   – The system contains:
      • Passive tags for books, CDs,
        DVDs etc.
      • Terminals for check-in/out
      • Sensor gates
        RFID Application Examples
•   Car ignition control
•   Airline baggage tracking
•   Wal-Mart
•   Hospital patient identification and tracking
•   Kids tracked in water park with bracelets
•   American army supply control
•   Animal identification
•   Tagging of Japanese school kids
•   Legoland
•   Property tagging
•   Dental prosthetics
RFID Application Examples
•   Fundamentals of RFID Technology
•   Overview of RFID Systems
•   Existing RFID Applications
•   Future trends and applications
•   Conclusion
Resolve Present Limitations
– Standards
– Reader/tag collisions
– Can be damaged by static electricity
– Interference from rain, snow etc.
– Not always 100% successful read rate
       Current R&D Directions
• Cost Reduction of Tags
  – Chip-less (1-bit tag)
  – Passive tag with multiple chips
  – Active tag with signal processing
• Integration
  – Flexible substrates/carrier such as paper and textile
  – Organic Electronics
  – Sensor Integration (temperature, opened, damaged,..)
• Integration with communication network
• Convergence with other wireless technologies
             Future Trends
• More interactive properties
• Biological, chemical & environmental
  – Detect bacteria, protein, bio-chemical for
    smart foods packaging, pharmaceutical
• Ubiquitous Intelligence
  – Smart objects talking to each other
  – ad hoc spontaneous network that is orders of
    magnitude larger than today’s internet
•   Fundamentals of RFID Technology
•   Overview of RFID Systems
•   Existing RFID Applications
•   Future trends and applications
•   Conclusion
RFID is fundamentally
a 2-way wireless (EM)
technology, with a
broad spectrum of

Plenty of room to
expand into new
applications with
flexibility in
•   “RFID Myths, Facts and Reality”,
•   G Frank, N. Tsougas, S. Bennett, “Radio Frequency Identification”,
•   V. Krotov, “Introduction to RFID”,
•   J. Hautaniemi, “ RFID in Everyday Life”,
•   D. Li-Rong Zheng, “RFID and Wireless Sensors”,
•   Mona Mostafa Hella, “Overview: Trends and Implementation Challenges for Multi-
    Band/Wideband Communication”,
•   M. Handy, “RF-ID Technology”, RFID-Workshop, 30.9./1.10.04, Berlin.
•   L. Lovers, “ RFID @ work”,
•   A. Thome, “ The Physics behind RFID”, RFID journal Live,
•   Patrick J., II Sweeney, “RFID for Dummies”,
•   K. Finkenzeller, “RFID Handbook: Fundamentals and Applications in Contactless
    Smart Cards and Identification” 2nd Edition “

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