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Matrics Upgrades EPC Reader
New AR 400 model offers greater network management capabilities, software upgradeability to recognize emerging tag communication standards and a variety network connections.
Apr 14, 2004—Matrics, a Columbia, Md., company that makes RFID systems that comply with Electronic Product Code (EPC) standards, has launched its second-generation multiprotocol reader. The company says that the new unit offers greater network management capabilities, software upgradeability to recognize emerging tag communication standards and a variety network connections.
According to the company, the new AR 400 reader changes the nature of the RFID reader from a static device into a network element that collects, writes, processes, and communicates information from all classes of EPC tags.
Like the previous SR 400 reader from Matrics, the new AR 400 has SNMP on the unit to enable it to be managed using standard networking protocols, but the AR 400 also be managed using “packetized” XML via HTTP over Ethernet or a serial network connection. The previous reader could communicate only using a byte stream over the same connections. To connect the reader to a corporate network, customers have a variety of options: Ethernet and serial cable connections or, for an additional cost, wirelessly via 802.
Like its predecessor, the new reader also has the ability to read and write to all EPC-compliant tags, Class 0 (both read-only and read/write) and Class 1, as well can also read a mix of Class 0 and Class 1 tags at the same time.
The AR 400 will be software-upgradeable to work with tags that comply with Class 1 Generation 2 protocol, which EPCglobal expects to ratify later this year. “Companies need to know there is an upgrade path for readers; they don’t want to have to replace readers just to work with the next tag,” says Tom Coyle, senior vice president of business development at Matrics.
The new reader also has the ability to read and write to tags in full duplex, currently delivering a maximum read rate of around 1,000 tags per second. The AR 400’s read rate should more than double when used with the tags based on the Gen 2 protocol currently being developed by EPCglobal.
Shipping in limited quantities today and set for full availability by the end of the year, the AR 400 is priced from $2,000 each in small quantities and to around $1,000 each for shipments of more than 1,000 units.
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