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Impinj Launches New High-Performance RFID Chips

The new family of Monza 4 tag chips boasts greater read range, orientation insensitivity, more memory and innovative privacy features.
By Mark Roberti
Feb 23, 2010Impinj, a Seattle, Wash., provider of passive EPC Gen 2 ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) radio frequency identification systems, today announced the availability of RFID chips with more memory, innovative privacy features and, according to the company, greatly improved performance. The Monza 4 family of chips, Impinj reports, is designed for end users that require more than just a license plate tag, and will sell for a premium over the Monza 3 chip, which Impinj will continue to sell as well.

"We think this is an important addition to our product portfolio," Impinj's president and CEO, William T. Colleran, told RFID Journal, "and will meet the needs of end users who require more memory, better performance, or enhanced privacy features."

Impinj tag read range: Monza 4 versus conventional. Click here to view a larger version. (Source: Impinj)

The new family of chips includes four different models:

• Monza 4D, with 128 bits of EPC memory, 32 bits of user memory and a 96-bit tag identifier (TID)
• Monza 4U, with 128 bits of EPC memory, 512 bits of user memory and a 96-bit TID
• Monza 4E, which has up to 496 bits of EPC memory (the standard limits tags to 496 bits), 128 bits of user memory and a 96-bit TID
• Monza 4QT, with 128 bits of EPC memory, 512 bits of user memory, a 96-bit TID and a new, patent-pending private feature set that Impinj calls "QT technology"

The 4U and 4QT tag chips offer the ability to independently lock four fixed, 128-bit sections of user memory—an option within the Gen 2 spec known as "block permalock." This feature is useful for some applications, such as tracking goods in a supply chain, in which various participants along the chain might want to record data to the chip, but not necessarily have it be openly available to all parties.

"The decision to introduce four chips flowed from observations of applications in the field using different kinds and amounts of memory," Colleran says. "Some companies only need a serial number or license plate tag, some want more user memory for quickly retrieving information without accessing a back-end database, and some want a longer EPC. As we tried to figure out the best way to meet all these needs, it quickly became clear that we would need more than one chip to do it."

In addition to having more memory, all four chips support new "True3D" antenna technology. With True3D, Impinj indicates, each chip has two radios that can attach to separate antennas, thereby allowing tag manufacturers to create new antenna designs enabling the tag to be read regardless of its orientation.

The Monza 3 chip has the ability to support a dual dipole antenna that allows energy to be captured from any angle, Colleran says, but Monza 4 chips optimize the ability to capture energy from any angle by having two separate radios on the chip that act in unison when communicating with the reader.

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