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How Can I Connect an RFID Reader to the Internet?

Posted By RFID Journal, 05.06.2015

What would be involved in doing this?

—Name withheld


Well, you could connect an Ethernet cable and assign the reader an IP address. But generally speaking, you wouldn't connect a reader to the Internet. An RFID reader connects to a server by running some middleware that filters collected data and stores it in a database. You could then make the information in the database accessible via the Internet, just as you would with any other online database.

—Mark Roberti, Founder and Editor, RFID Journal


Adrian Segens 2015-05-08 08:14:10 AM
I don’t mean to contradict Mark, but we at RedBite have developed a solution that enables users to connect readers directly to the cloud. You may not be aware of this because it has been developed “under the radar” in cooperation between ourselves and the operators of one of the largest, globally dispersed network of RFID readers in the world. We have found many benefits to connecting readers straight to the internet, including: Firstly, the servers that Mark referred to in his reply can be eliminated entirely. The cost of installing on-premises servers to control RFID readers combined with the resources required to maintain those servers once they are installed has been a major inhibitor to RFID adoption in many applications and removing this redundant hardware layer can dramatically reduce the costs of deploying and maintaining large, dispersed RFID reader networks. Secondly, connecting readers directly to the internet enables them to be managed remotely. Tag reads can be taken from the reader to a cloud-based network management system and solutions like GS1 EPCIS can then be deployed making that data available to any compliant 3rd party solution (ERP, WMS, etc.). Third. Deployment and maintenance of large, dispersed reader networked becomes far simpler. Not having to negotiate on-premises servers and middleware means that installation becomes almost plug and play as much of the configuration work, firmware updates, etc. can be done remotely. Connecting readers directly to the cloud can be achieved by installing a thin client software agent on the reader hardware itself (we call it RedAgent). Most modern readers from leading manufacturers have this capability and where it is not possible to do this on the reader itself, the functionality can be provided by a small, very simple and cost-effective plug in. Once this agent is in place, the reader can be connected directly to the web and operated in exactly the way that I have described. We at RedBite, a Cambridge (UK) software company have been doing exactly this for sometime via our RedEdge software - see www.redbite.com/rededge . One of our clients is currently managing a world-wide network of EPC readers (over 500) by this method. This includes readers of various manufacturers and RedEdge was installed to specifically replace on-premises servers and middleware, with the result that the costs of managing the network have been reduced by more than 80%, thereby giving the client a means of rapidly growing their RFID network and gaining benefits that are simply impossible without connecting readers straight to the cloud.

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