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EECC Benchmark Study Finds UHF Tag Performance Better Than Ever

For its 2016 UHF Tag Performance Survey, the European EPC Competence Center tested 361 different models of passive UHF transponders in as many as 22 different ways per tag.
By Claire Swedberg
Jul 13, 2016

The European EPC Competence Center (EECC), a Germany-based provider of RFID services, released this week the newest edition of its annual UHF Tag Performance Survey (UTPS). In the 2016 edition, EECC researchers observe that on-metal tags are becoming smaller and increasing in sensitivity and reliability, and that new label manufacturers—many based in China—are offering affordable ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID tags that meet the quality of other UHF tags already on the market. In addition, the group devotes a chapter to RFID moisture sensors tags, and indicates that such tags operate as effectively as standard UHF labels.

This is the 10th year in which the organization has conducted its tag-performance study to test UHF RFID transponders—both standard and on-metal labels—at its facility near Dusseldorf, Germany. Throughout the past decade, the EECC has increased the number of tags included in the testing process, while subjecting those tags to more types of tests.

The EECC tests all RFID tags across the entire RF spectrum, from 800 to 1,000 MHz, in accordance with the frequency bands used in different parts of the world. This year, the researchers tested 361 different models of passive UHF transponders in up to 22 different ways per tag. Of those transponders, 155 were on-metal tags, while one was a moisture sensor tag. This, says Christian von Uechtritz, the EECC's business-development manager for logistics, represents the largest number of tags ever tested by his organization. The testing identified various qualities, such as read range, backscatter range and write speed, as well as how read range was affected by the tag's orientation to an RFID reader.

Christian von Uechtritz, the EECC's business-development manager for logistics
The EECC made several changes to this year's testing procedures and survey results, von Uechtritz says. For one thing, the survey's appearance is changing to meet the needs of its audience. The survey had been growing more popular with end users (as opposed to technology providers) around the world; as a result, the latest survey is designed with end users, systems integrators and manufacturers in mind. "This report is a great tool for end users," von Uechtritz states, adding that it enables them to evaluate transponders' responses to specific types of testing that might match their own use cases.

"It's an easy way to find out which label is suitable for their business case," von Uechtritz says. "It's still a technical study, but we tried to create a graphical presentation." For instance, the report displays the power level required to activate each specific model of tag, as well as the power needed for that tag to respond, and also lists other tag models with similar results so that an end user can consider the available options.

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