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What Is an RFID Tag?

Posted By RFID Journal, 07.14.2014

Can you please define what a radio frequency identification tag is?

—Name withheld

———

A radio frequency identification (RFID) tag is a device designed to track and manage physical objects and sometime individuals (to ensure safety, example, within a hazardous environment). The word "tag" is a generic term that covers smart labels, transponders protected in plastic or ceramic, and many other form factors. There are many different types of RFID tags, including passive low-frequency (LF), high-frequency (HF) and ultrahigh-frequency (UHF), as well as active tags, hybrid tags and so forth.

The tag typically receives a signal from a reader and then responds with a unique serial number stored on the device's chip. It might also transmit other information stored in its memory. Some active tags send out a signal at set intervals, which are then picked up by readers and used to determine an asset's location in near-real-time.

I apologize for the detailed answer, but it is import to understand that an RFID tag is not a single thing. It is more like the term "computer," which covers supercomputers, mainframes, servers, desktop PCs, laptop PCs, netbooks, personal digital assistants and more.

—Mark Roberti, Founder and Editor, RFID Journal

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