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Elektrobit Unveils UHF RFID Suite

The EB Identification Network consists of RFID interrogators, controllers and software to help companies more easily implement, tune and manage networks of RFID readers, thereby reducing interference and congestion.
By Beth Bacheldor
Nov 05, 2007Elektrobit, a Finnish provider of embedded technologies, wireless systems and automotive software to myriad companies, primarily in the automotive and manufacturing sectors, is unveiling its latest RFID system this week. The company is introducing its EB Identification Network at this week's RFID Journal LIVE! Europe 2007 conference and exhibition in Amsterdam.

Designed to help companies more easily implement, tune and manage networks of RFID readers, the EB Identification Network consists of ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID interrogators able to operate with any UHF RFID tag, as well as reader controllers and related software. The system is built on newly patented technology from Elektrobit that focuses on the automated tuning of multiple RFID interrogators networked together via wired or wireless Ethernet networks, including Wi-Fi. The technology, known as Facility Sounding, automatically configures and tunes readers so they won't interfere with each other as information is collected from RFID tags and passed on to RFID middleware or business software, such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems.

Typically, companies must manually tune each interrogator as it is installed so the readers don't interfere with one another, which can happen when multiple devices—even EPC Gen 2 interrogators supporting dense reader mode—transmit data simultaneously. "EPC dense reader mode still allows readers to interfere and be interfered [with] by intra-system and external signals," says Antti Sivula, Elektrobit's senior VP of wireless sensor solutions. "In EB Identification Network, we can reduce these effects."

Facility Sounding technology directs interrogators to measure the strength of signals they sense from proximate readers, and passes that signal information to the reader controller. The controller analyzes all the different signal strengths, then allocates frequencies to the various networked readers and synchronizes them to minimize interference.

Until recently, Sivula says, manually configuring and tuning RFID interrogators hasn't posed much of a problem, mainly because most RFID implementations have been relatively small. In the coming year, however, Elektrobit predicts companies will begin scaling up their implementations—installing RFID, for example, throughout distribution centers and manufacturing facilities.

"Think about the systems integrator or IT manager who builds these RFID systems," Sivula states. "They are spending a lot of time manually tuning to make sure the network doesn't have any problems. We are providing the tools that can solve most of the problems. We think building RFID networks should be about the business applications and the tags, not about how to make the readers read the tags."

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