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Let the Competition Begin

The debate over whether high-frequency or ultrahigh frequency tags are best for tracking items is now in full swing.
By Mark Roberti
A week earlier, EPCglobal did its own test of HF and UHF tags on items being read under a variety of simulated scenarios, such as reading several different items placed randomly in a tote or reading DVDs on a shelf. EPCglobal did not declare which technology was better, but said it would analyze the results and use them to inform the development of any additional features needed on tags used to track items (see EPCglobal Puts Item Tagging to the Test).

Vendors that offer either HF or UHF tags and interrogators have a lot at stake. Not surprisingly, players on both sides of the issue are gearing up to promote their technology and clarify technical issues. Magellan Technology has produced a white paper, "A Comparison of RFID Frequencies and Protocols," which examines some of these issues. You can download it from our RFID White Paper Library.

It's important for end users to communicate their needs and views. This year's RFID Journal LIVE! conference, to be held May 1-3 in Las Vegas, will feature a breakout session, entitled “Is HF or UHF Best for Item-Level Tagging?” Representatives of Pfizer, Wyeth Pharmaceuticals and Purdue Pharma will discuss how well RFID technology at 13.56 MHz (HF) and 915 MHz (UHF) each address the technical and business needs of pharmaceutical retailers.

It's vital for end users to have information about the business and technical merits of choosing one frequency over another, but there will be spinning on the part of some vendors. RFID Journal is fully committed to representing the issues as fairly, clearly, openly and objectively as we can. A full and robust debate is healthy for the RFID industry and will benefit end users, who ultimately will be investing large amounts of money in whichever technology they choose.

Mark Roberti is the founder and editor of RFID Journal. If you would like to comment on this article, click on the link below.

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