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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 .

M

Manufacturing Execution System
A system with which companies can measure and control critical production activities, offering improved traceability, productivity and quality. MES solutions serve numerous functions, such as equipment tracking, product genealogy, labor tracking, inventory management, costing, electronic signature capture, and defect and resolution monitoring
Master data
For the purpose of data synchronization, any data or constructs that are applicable across multiple business transactions. Master data can be divided into neutral and relationship dependent data. Typically master data is static - not transactional.
Memory
The amount of data that can be stored on the microchip in an RFID tag. It can range from 64 bits to 32 kilobytes or more on passive tags.
Memory block
The smallest unit of memory on an RFID tag that can be locked independently of other parts of memory.
MEMS
Micro-electro-mechanical systems, smaller than microscopic dust mites and used in a variety of applications, from inkjet printers to accelerometers that deploy air bags in cars. A MEMS RFID tag contains micromechanical components that are expected to be rugged and easier to produce, and that can be attached directly to medical devices. Such a tag can withstand exposure to wide temperature ranges and gamma radiation.
Micro-electro-mechanical Systems
Also known as MEMS, smaller than microscopic dust mites and used in a variety of applications, from inkjet printers to accelerometers that deploy air bags in cars. A MEMS RFID tag contains micromechanical components that are expected to be rugged and easier to produce, and that can be attached directly to medical devices. Such a tag can withstand exposure to wide temperature ranges and gamma radiation.
Microcontroller
A complete microprocessor on a chip. A microcontroller includes a central processing unit, RAM or EPROM, clock and control circuits, and serial and parallel I/0 ports.
Microprocessor
A programmable digital electronic component (also called a chip) designed to incorporate the functions of a central processing unit (CPU) onto a single semiconducting integrated circuit (IC). Multiple microprocessors can serve as the CPU in a computer system, embedded system or handheld device.
Microwave
A high-frequency electromagnetic wave, one millimeter to one meter in wavelength.
Microwave tags
A term that is sometimes used to refer to RFID tags that operate at 5.8 GHz. They have very high transfer rates and can be read from as far as 30 feet away, but they use a lot of power and are expensive. (Some people refer to any tag that operates above about 415 MHz as a microwave tag.)
Middleware
In the RFID world, this term is generally used to refer to software that resides on a server between readers and enterprise applications. The middleware is used to filter data and pass on only useful information to enterprise applications. Some middleware can also be used to manage readers on a network.
Milliwatt
A unit of power equal to one thousandth of a watt.
MIPS
Million instructions per second
Mobile Reader
An RFID interrogator that can be carried or transported on a person, vehicle or apparatus, enabling employees to read the unique ID numbers of RFID tags attached to items in a warehouse or other setting along the supply chain.
Modulation
Changing the radio waves traveling between the reader and the transponder in ways that enable the transmission of information. Waves can be changed in a variety of ways that can be picked up by the reader and turned into the ones and zeroes of binary code. Waves can be made higher or lower (amplitude modulation) or shifted forward (phase modulation). The frequency can be varied (frequency modulation), or data can be contained in the duration of pulses (pulse-width modulation).
Monostatic
A monostatic RFID interrogator, or reader, uses the same antenna to transmit RF energy to and receive RF energy from the RFID tag.
Multimode
Transponders are called "multimode" when they can be programmed to operate according to several different standards.
Multiple access schemes
Methods of increasing the amount of data that can be transmitted wirelessly within the same frequency spectrum. Some RFID readers use Time Division Multiple Access, or TDMA, meaning they read tags at different times to avoid interfering with one another.
Multiplexer
An electronic device that allows a reader to have more than one antenna. Each antenna scans the field in a preset order. This reduces the number of readers needed to cover a given area, such as a dock door, and prevents the antennas from interfering with one another.

 

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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