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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 .


See input/output
I/O ports
See input-output ports
See integrated circuit
Induction Loop
A coil-wire transceiver used in a variety of applications, such as inductive loop detection, in which the coil detects metal objects. Other applications include vehicle detection at traffic lights and car parks, metal detectors and other functions involving RFID reads in the presence of metal.
Inductive coupling
In technical terms, inductive coupling is the transfer of energy from one circuit to another by virtue of the mutual inductance between the circuits. In an RFID system that uses inductive coupling, the reader antenna and the tag antenna each have a coil, which together form a magnetic field. The tag draws energy from the field. The microchip uses this energy to change the electrical load on the tag antenna. These changes are picked up by the reader antenna and converted into a unique serial number.
Industrial, Scientific, and Medical bands
A group of unlicensed frequencies of the electromagnetic spectrum.
An RFID microchip attached to an antenna and mounted on a substrate. Inlays are essentially unfinished RFID labels. They are usually sold to label converters who turn them into smart labels. They are also sometimes called inlets.
See inlay
Input-output ports
Ports on an RFID reader that can be connected to external devices. An input port might be connected to a photoelectric eye to turn on the reader when an object enters the reader field. An output device might be connected to a door that opens when a tag is read.
Ports on a reader. Users can connect devices, such as an electronic eye to the input port so that when an object breaks the beam of the electronic eye the reader begins reading. Devices can also be connected to an output part, so that when a tag is read, a conveyor is turned on or a dock door opened.
Integrated circuit
A microelectronic semiconductor device comprising many interconnected transistors and other components. Most RFID tags have ICs.
Intelligent reader
A generic term that is sometimes used to describe a reader that has the ability to filter data, execute commands and generally perform functions similar to a personal computer.
Intentional radiator
A device that produces a RF signal for the purpose of data communications. Examples. Include garage door openers, cordless phones, RFID transmitter and so on.
International Organization for Standardization
A non-governmental organization made up of the national standards institutes of 146 countries. Each member country has one representative and the organization maintains a Central Secretariat in Geneva, Switzerland, that coordinates the system.
In computing, the term refers to the ability to exchange and use information among disparate software systems. In RFID, the term generally refers to the ability of tags and readers from different vendors to communicate.
Interoperability Testing
Testing performed to assess the ability of two or more systems or components to exchange information, and to use the data that has been exchanged.
A device used to connect a microchip to an antenna to create an RFID transponder. Interposers make an electrical connection to the tiny pads on the chip and to create leads that can be bonded to an antenna.
Interrogation zone
The area in which a passive interrogator can provide enough energy to power up a passive tag and receive back information. Also called the read field or reader field. Tags outside the interrogation zone do not receive enough energy from the interrogator to reflect back a signal.
See reader
A group of unlicensed frequencies of the electromagnetic spectrum.
See International Organization for Standardization
ISO 10536
The international standard for proximity cards
ISO 11784
The international standard defining frequencies, baud rate, bit coding and data structures of the transponders used for animal identification.
ISO 14443
A set of international standards covering proximity smart cards.
ISO 15693
The international standard for vicinity smart cards.
ISO 18000
A series of international standards for the air interface protocol used in RFID systems for tagging goods within the supply chain.
ISO 7816
A set of international standards covering the basic characteristics of smart cards, such as physical and electrical characteristics, communication protocols and others.
ISO/IEC 24730
A standard defining two air interface protocols and a single application program interface (API) for real-time locating systems (RTLS) used in asset management. The standard is intended to allow for compatibility and encourage interoperability of products for the growing RTLS market.
Identical in all direction. An isotropic antenna emits energy equally in every direction.
A term used to discribed the tagging of individual products, as opposed to case-level and pallet-level tagging.


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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