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BlogsAsk The Experts ForumWhat Is the Difference Between RFID Readers, Antennas and Reader Chips?

What Is the Difference Between RFID Readers, Antennas and Reader Chips?

Posted By RFID Journal, 02.17.2015

When would a company want to use each?

—Name withheld


Good questions. A reader chip is an integrated microchip that takes some of the discreet components on the circuit board of an RFID reader and combines them into a single device. It is the brains of a reader, analogous to the CPU in a desktop or laptop computer. The reader (or interrogator) is a device that contains the reader chip (or discreet reader components on a printed circuit board), a network connection, a power connection and antenna ports. A reader can have internal or external antennas that emit radio waves and receive them back from a transponder.

When people use the term "RFID reader," they typically mean the complete device with antennas. If you want to communicate with a transponder—that is, interrogate the information it contains or write data to it—you need a reader with a reader chip in it (or the components contained therein on a printed circuit board) and an antenna.

—Mark Roberti, Founder and Editor, RFID Journal

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