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ODIN Benchmarks Globe-Trotting Tags

The RFID systems integrator and testing firm has published its eighth RFID product-testing report, this time evaluating the ability of select EPC Gen 2 passive tags to perform across all frequencies within the UHF range.
By Mary Catherine O'Connor
Dec 04, 2006Dulles, Va., RFID systems integrator and testing firm ODIN Technologies has published an RFID tag benchmark report. This report focuses on the performance of passive EPC Gen 2 UHF tags in a global supply-chain scenario, in which companies must be able to read tags in various parts of the UHF spectrum.

Tag makers are beginning to focus on designing RFID inlays that perform well at all three segments (low, middle and high) of the UHF range (860 to 960 MHz), rather than optimizing their performance to one part of the spectrum. They have found that as RFID systems scale from limited or site-specific tests to more global deployments, users need tags able to perform equally well in all three major sets of frequency ranges: 866 to 869 MHz (used in Europe), 902 to 928 MHz (the United States' sanctioned range) and 951 to 954 MHz (the range specified in Japan).

ODIN’s "Global RFID Tag Benchmark" report describes test results for 18 EPC Gen 2 UHF tag models from seven different vendors.

Bret Kinsella, ODIN's chief operating officer, says the company decided to conduct the benchmarking tests in response to requests from clients for information regarding which tags would perform best in global supply-chain deployments. "The tag makers are marketing [certain tags] as globally operable, but our clients wanted to know for sure that they would function as advertised," he says.

For its benchmark test, ODIN put a total of 18 different passive EPC Gen 2 UHF tag inlays through a battery of tests designed to evaluate their performance. These inlays were manufactured by Alien Technology, Avery Dennison, KSW Microtec, Omron, UPM Raflatac, RSI ID Technologies and Symbol.

The inlays were divided into two categories: jumbo (having a footprint greater than 5.5 square inches) and general purpose (smaller than 5.5 square inches). They were tested for their ability to exploit an interrogator's RF signal consistently and efficiently, for their read distance, for their sensitivity to orientation with respect to the reader, and for the impact of RF transmissions emitted by multiple RFID interrogators operating nearby. Each tag model underwent these tests in all three frequency ranges and mounted on three different objects: an empty corrugated cardboard case, one filled with metallic goods and another holding containers of water.

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