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Can I Mix Active Tags and Readers From Different Manufacturers?

Posted By RFID Journal, 04.27.2011
Is it feasible to combine different companies' RFID technologies?

—Name withheld

Theoretically, yes. The ISO 18000-7 standard is an air-interface protocol for active tags that operate at 433 MHz. Tags that conform to this standard should work with readers that also conform to it.

I checked with a contact at the U.S. Department of Defense, the leading user of ISO 18000-7 tags, and was told that there were some initial issues with interoperability among tags of different vendors when the first Dash 7 tags hit the market. However, the U.S. Army conducted extensive testing through one of the government's labs and made some slight adjustments, and it does not appear that there is an issue any longer. "We are using all of the ISO tags and not having an issue," my contact indicated.

Proprietary tags can not be used interchangeably, even if they operate at the same frequency, since the air-interface protocols are different. Wi-Fi tags conform to the IEEE 802.11 standard, but not all Wi-Fi tags work with Wi-Fi-based systems, since there are differences in the way the tags communicate.

—Mark Roberti, Founder and Editor,
RFID Journal

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