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The Value of an HF EPC Standard
Although GS1's ratification of a high-frequency standard did not generate a lot of buzz, it is good news for end users.
Oct 17, 2011—Last month, GS1 ratified an Electronic Product Code (EPC) standard for high-frequency (HF) RFID tags (see GS1 Ratifies EPC HF Standard, Aerospace Tag-Data Amendment). The ratification took longer than expected, because GS1 first had to work through some complex intellectual-property issues. In the meantime, other HF standards—ISO 15693 and ISO 14443—have gained significant traction. Still, the HF EPC standard is good news for end users.
I don't expect everyone currently employing the ISO 14443 standard for financial transactions, or the ISO 15693 standard for access control and inventory tracking, to immediately switch to the new HF EPC standard. But the new standard does offer some additional features that could be of value to those currently utilizing ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) EPC tags, as well as those employing the existing standards.
HF RFID systems behave differently than UHF solutions. HF tags have a shorter read range, and the read field is well-defined. Moreover, less energy is absorbed by water at the HF frequency (13.56 MHz) than at the UHF frequency (860 to 960 MHz), so they perform a little more consistently in the presence of products containing high water content. And radio waves penetrate materials a little better at lower frequency, so HF tags might be useful when embedding tags in certain types of packages.
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