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Tagsys Introduces HF V2 Reader, Readying for Upcoming EPCglobal Tag Standard

The interrogator can read and encode Icode and ISO 15693 tags but will be upgradeable to work with tags complying with EPCglobal's HF standard. Tagsys is also partnering with IBM to offer an HF start-up kit.
By Mary Catherine O'Connor
Nov 12, 2007RFID systems provider Tagsys has announced the Medio L400 reader, designed to enable end-user companies to leverage the high-frequency (HF) RFID tag specification—dubbed HF Version 2 (V2), or Generation 2—currently being developed and groomed for ratification by EPCglobal. Elie Simon, Tagsys' president and CEO, says the EPCglobal board of directors may ratify the standard as soon as early next year, as an alternative to EPCglobal's current ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) standard. HF tags have a shorter read range than UHF, but have been shown to be less susceptible to RF interference from metal and liquids (see EPCglobal Developing HF Tag Standard).

Both Tagsys and NXP Semiconductors are represented in the EPCglobal Hardware Action Group, which is developing and defining the HF V2 candidate specification. Jan-Willem Reynaerts, NXP's general manager of RFID, says tests results of the current tag standard specification, using a tag emulator, have been encouraging. Tagsys is now working with NXP to develop the first Tagsys HF V2 tag, which will use an NXP chip and is expected to become available sometime next year.

Tagsys' Medio L400 reader is designed to provide a bridge to the upcoming standard for companies that have already deployed an HF RFID system using any of the three other tag formats the reader can encode and read: NXP's HF Icode 1 and Icode UID tag formats, and the ISO 15693 standard. Once the EPCglobal HF tag becomes widely available, users of the Medio L400 can migrate to the tags via a firmware upgrade.

According to Simon, the Medio L400 offers several improvements over previous Tagsys readers. These include a set of 50 parameter settings that can be used to improve the reader's performance in various working conditions. For example, Simon explains, the interrogator contains an integrated temperature monitor that it uses to calibrate its power levels to the ambient temperature.

Temperature impacts a reader's performance, says Maria Kaganov, Tagsys' product marketing manager. "We had a customer that was having trouble with a Tagsys reader installed in a distribution center," she says. "Employees would turn it on in the morning, but for about two hours, it would not work correctly. They swapped out the hardware, but the same thing [happened]. We finally realized that the reason for the poor performance was the low temperature in the DC, since the building was cold at night and took a couple hours to warm up."

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