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Glossary of RFID Terms

If there is a term that should be in this glossary but isn't, please let us know by sending e-mail to .


A method of sealing a digital document in a manner similar to that used for electronic signatures. Electronic seals enable computers to authenticate that documents or electronic messages have not been altered, providing a level of security in digital communications.
See European Article Number
See electronic article surveillance
Edge server
A computer for running middleware or applications that is close to the edge of the network, where the digital world meets the real world. Edge servers are put in warehouses, distribution centers and factories, as opposed to corporate headquarters.
See Electronic Data Interchange
See Electrically Erasable Programmable Read-Only Memory
Effective isotropic radiated power
A measurement of the output of RFID reader antennas used in the United States and elsewhere. EIRP is usually expressed in watts.
Effective radiated power
A measurement of the output of RFID reader antennas used in Europe and elsewhere. ERP is usually expressed in watts and is not the same as EIRP.
See Effective isotropic radiated power
Electrically Erasable Programmable Read-Only Memory
A method of storing data on microchips. Usually bytes can be erased and reprogrammed individually. RFID tags that use EEPROM are more expensive than factory programmed tags, where the number is written into the silicon when the chip is made, but they offer more flexibility because the end user can write an ID number to the tag at the time the tag is going to be used.
Electromagnetic interference
Interference caused when the radio waves of one device distort the waves of another. Cells phones, wireless computers and even robots in factories can produce radio waves that interfere with RFID tags.
Electronic article surveillance
Simple electronic tags that can be turned on or off. When an item is purchased (or borrowed from a library), the tag is turned off. When someone passes a gate area holding an item with a tag that hasn't been turned off, an alarm sounds. EAS tags are embedded in the packaging of most pharmaceuticals. They can be RF-based, or acousto-magnetic.
Electronic Data Interchange
A method of transmitting trade documents in standardized formats.
Electronic pedigree
A secure file that stores data about each move a product makes through the supply chain. Pedigrees can help to reduce counterfeiting of drugs and other products. EPCglobal has ratified an e-pedigree standard for the industry.
Electronic Product Code
A serial, created by the Auto-ID Center, which will complement barcodes. The EPC has digits to identify the manufacturer, product category and the individual item.
Electronic Seal
A method of sealing a digital document in a manner similar to that used for electronic signatures. Electronic seals enable computers to authenticate that documents or electronic messages have not been altered, providing a level of security in digital communications.
The process of using electrical current to coat an electrically conductive object with a thin layer of metal. The primary application of electroplating deposits a layer of a metal with a desired property onto a surface lacking such a trait. Electroplating can also be used to build up the thickness of undersized parts.
See Electromagnetic interference
The scrambling of data in such a way that it can be unscrambled and read only by those for whom it is intended. In RFID systems, encryption is used to protect information store on a transponder's microchip or to prevent the interception of communications between the tag and reader.
End user company
A company that has deployed or wants to deploy an RFID system to improve the way it does business.
Enterprise resource planning:
Software that is designed to be the operating system for large companies. ERP systems manage data across applications and functional areas, such as finance, human resources and supply chain management.
Electronic Product Code
EPC Discovery Service
An EPCglobal Network service that allows companies to search for every reader that has read a particular EPC tag.
EPC Generation 2
The standard ratified by EPCglobal for the air-interface protocol for the second generation of EPC technologies.
EPC Information Service
Part of the EPC Network. The EPC Information Service is a network infrastructure that enables companies to store data associated with EPCs in secure databases on the Web. The EPC Information Service has been ratified and enables companies to provide different levels of access to data to different groups. Some information associated with an EPC might be available to everyone. Other information might be available only to a manufacturer's retail customers. The service also includes a number of applications, such as the EPC Discovery Service.
EPC Network
See EPCglobal Network
EPC reader
An RFID reader that complies with EPCglobal standards, including the air interface protocol and Low Level Reader Protocol.
EPC tag
An RFID tag that complies with EPCglobal standards, including the tag data standard, the air interface protocol.
A non-profit organization set up the Uniform Code Council and EAN International, the two organizations that maintain barcode standards, to commercialize EPC technology. EPCglobal is made up of chapters in different countries and regions. It is commercializing the technology originally developed by the Auto-ID Center.
EPCglobal Network
The Internet-based technologies and services that enable companies to retrieve data associated with EPCs. The network infrastructure includes the Object Name Service, distributed middleware (sometimes called Savants), the EPC Information Service and Physical Markup Language.
EPCIS Accessing Application
A software application that receives EPCIS data from EPCIS Capturing Applications, either directly or via the EPCIS Query Interface, and processes those data to carry out a business objective.
EPCIS Capture Interface
Provides a path for communicating EPCIS events generated by EPCIS Capturing Applications to other roles that require them, including EPCIS Repositories, internal EPCIS Accessing Applications, and Partner EPCIS Accessing Applications.
EPCIS Query Interface
A set of programming interfaces by which an EPCIS application can request EPCIS data from an EPCIS Repository or another EPCIS applications.
See erasable programmable read-only memory
Erasable programmable read-only memory
Non-volatile memory that can be erased by exposing it to intense ultraviolet light. After erasing, EPROM memory can be reprogrammed.
See Effective radiated power and enterprise resource planning
Error correcting code
A code stored on an RFID tag to enable the reader to figure out the value of missing or garbled bits of data. It's needed because a reader might misinterpret some data from the tag and think a Rolex watch is actually a pair of socks.
Error correcting mode
A mode of data transmission between the tag and reader in which errors or missing data is automatically corrected.
Error correcting protocol
A set of rules used by readers to interpret data correctly from the tag.
See European Telecommunications Standards Institute
European Article Number
A system for identifying products developed by EAN International, the bar code standards body in Europe. There are several types of bar codes that use EANs, including EAN-8, EAN-13 and EAN-14.
European Telecommunications Standards Institute
An independent, non-profit organization, whose mission is to produce telecommunications standards for Europe. Based in Sophia Antipolis, France, ETSI is officially responsible for standardization of Information and Communication Technologies, include telecommunications, broadcasting and related areas, such as intelligent transportation, medical electronics and RFID.
Event data
Information related to a transaction or incident with significance to the business. If a tag on a pallet is read as the pallet leaves a dock door, an event is recorded (the pallet was shipped). If a reader reads a tag on a pallet in a storage bay 100 times per minute but the pallet never moves, data is generated, but there is no event.
The reader is said to "excite" a passive tag when the reader transmits RF energy to wake up the tag and enable it to transmit back.
An electronic device (also called a transmitter) that, with the aid of an antenna, propagates an electromagnetic signal such as radio, television or other telecommunications. An exciter typically incorporates a power supply, an oscillator, a modulator and amplifiers for audio frequency (AF) and radio frequency (RF).
eXtensible markup language
A widely accepted way of sharing information over the Internet in a way that computers can use, regardless of their operating system.


If there is a term that should be in this glossary but isn't, please let us know by sending e-mail to .

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