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IPICO Submits Its IP-X RFID Air Interface to ISO

The RFID systems provider is making its proprietary air-interface protocol available for use royalty-free, and has asked the International Standards Organization to approve it as a standard.
By Jonathan Collins
Tags: Standards
Aug 17, 2006IPICO has proposed that the IP-X RFID air-interface protocol on which it has built its business be adopted as an International Standards Organization (ISO) standard so it can compete alongside others, including the EPC Gen 2 protocol ratified as ISO 18000-6 in July. IPICO demonstrated the technology at an ISO meeting held in Paris on Wednesday.

IP-X operates within multiple frequencies, including UHF (868 MHz to 928 MHz), 2.4 GHz and 125 kHz. When entering an IP-X reader field, IP-X transponders transmit their ID code continuously but at random intervals, enabling readers to receive IDs from several tags simultaneously. This, says IPICO, allows reads to be made using "tag talks only" (TTO) technology, which differs from the EPCglobal EPC and ISO 18000-6 standards, where interrogators talk first to initiate communication between reader and tag. Also, unlike the 96-bit EPC tags, IPICO's passive read-only tags hold a 64-bit code, divided into a 46-bit ID and a 16-bit cyclic redundancy check (CRC), which is used to verify that the data received is correct.


Luther Erasmus
Several months ago, IPICO provided ISO with initial documentation describing details of IP-X. The company wants to see the protocol designated as ISO 18000-8. The process for ratifying IP-X as an ISO standard, if ISO decides to undertake it, will take more than a year to complete and include a period of consideration. During that time, interested parties throughout the RFID industry can comment on details of IP-X's applicability to become a standard. The process for EPC Gen 2 Class 1 to become an ISO standard, for instance, took 18 months.

Although IPICO has long claimed IP-X as its patented trademarked technology, the company has declared that other companies can use the IP-X protocol on a royalty-free basis. ISO recognition of that fact would reassure existing and potential customers that the technology would be available to any manufacturers to use for free. Part of the process to gain ISO accreditation is to establish royalty claims for any technology within a standard. ISO requires IP declarations whereby interested parties must declare their interests and IP position, such as whether they will charge royalties on IP or not, and how those charges will be determined. During the EPC Gen 2 and ISO 18000-6 standardization process, Intermec and other companies set out their plans to require payment for intellectual property contained within the standard.

In addition to making the technology available royalty-free, the company will either license the IP-X name for free to firms that want to use it, or put the name in the public domain if required. At present, any company can use or refer to the term in its own documentation, as long as they recognize IPICO's copyright, according to Luther Erasmus, COO at IPICO.

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