RFID News Roundup 

Published: September 7, 2023

Soracom releases IoT connectivity plan for Brazil; State of Ohio seeks RFID-enabled drivers licenses; Semtech and Oxit offer AWS IoT Core; Philippines to go all-RFID for expressway tolls; Fairview Microwave releases ultra-wideband component for electronic devices. 

Soracom Releases IoT Connectivity Plan for Brazil  

Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity company Soracom, has released its PlanP2 to bring IoT connectivity to Brazil by leveraging a local carrier profile to ensure regulatory compliance. 

Brazil places regional restrictions on roaming that has challenged IoT deployments. Soracom is addressing that limitation, it says, with its PlanP2, enabling users to employ the existing Soracom IoT SIM for global multi-carrier connectivity. Soracom’s Subscription Container feature allows users in Brazil or elsewhere to add multiple network profiles to Soracom SIM cards and eSIMs over the air (OTA).  

PlanP2 is compatible with both card-type and chip-type SIMs and can also be set to pause network access fees during inactive periods – when in transit and storage between manufacture and deployment, for example. PlanP2 is now available in limited preview.  

Ohio State Seeks RFID-enabled Driver’s Licenses  

The state of Ohio has proposed new driver’s licenses equipped with RFID chips (enhanced drivers licenses – EDLs) to enable contactless data access at border crossings. However, the Department of Homeland Security has not yet approved them. The state of Ohio has reported the delay could last several years. 

In April, state legislators approved the digital ID-based licenses, which could transmit a driver’s ID to authorities at the Canada or Mexico border to make crossings more efficient. The licenses now await approval from DHS. Currently, five states – Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Vermont, and Washington – are already providing drivers with the UHF RFID-enhanced version of the states’ licenses.  

An EDL enables border agents to pull up biographic and biometric data about an individual as they approach a border inspection booth, thereby making the inspection process potentially faster.  

Semtech and Oxit offer AWS IoT Core  

IoT semiconductor company Semtech is working with Oxit – maker of a multi-connectivity module – to provide an AWS (Amazon Web Services) IoT Core to bring LoRaWAN (Low Power Wide Area Networking) options to Amazon Sidewalk applications. Oxit provides innovation in IoT services.

Oxit and Semtech are collaborating to enable device manufacturers to build a single device with the OxTech Multi-Connectivity Module, which connects to both the AWS IoT Core for Amazon Sidewalk and the AWS IoT Core for LoRaWAN networks in the United States. Amazon Sidewalk uses participating Sidewalk Bridges, such as Echo and Ring products, to provide cloud connectivity for IoT devices. The cloud endpoint for third-party devices connecting to the Amazon Sidewalk network is AWS IoT Core for Sidewalk. Oxit’s OxTech Multi-Connectivity Module connects devices to AWS IoT Core for Amazon Sidewalk or LoRaWAN and integrates all the hardware and firmware materials that are required. Oxit’s OxTech Multi-Connectivity Module is based on the Semtech SX1262 and SiLabs EFR32MG24 chipsets and integrates with the Oxit SW stack for both Sidewalk and LoRaWAN. 

The companies say their partnership offers a single IoT cloud endpoint – the AWS IoT Core with Semtech IC – on the device being developed, enabling developers to choose the best network based on coverage and enhanced connectivity regardless of whether customers use public or private networks.  

Being able to use both networks for new applications is intended to meet diverse network requirements and offer reliable coverage, creating new opportunities for applications, including asset tracking, smart home, smart building, and smart cities. 

Philippines Goes All-RFID for Expressway Tolls 

The Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation (MPTC) announced that it is transitioning to a complete cashless payment system for tolling on Philippines’ expressways. The agency has advised motorists to prepare for the removal of all cash toll booths and to acquire RFID stickers to make toll payments. Toll booths will not be removed until 2024 – in the meantime, about 75 percent of motorists are already using an RFID system to pay for their tolls. 

MPTC manages tolling for several vital expressways: the North Luzon Expressway, the Subic-Clark Tarlac Expressway, NLEX Connector Road, Manila-Cavite Expressway, Cavite-Laguna Expressway, and the Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway in Cebu. 

The use of RFID stickers to make toll payments was launched in 2020, and the rollout has been gradual. Those using the technology can pass through toll lanes without barriers, making little collections more efficient with fewer delays for motorists. 

Fairview Microwave Releases Ultra-wideband Component for Electronic Devices 

RF components company Fairview Microwave is announcing a new product known as the ultra-wideband (UWB) Bias Tee, which is intended to bring wireless connectivity to electronic devices within the UWB frequencies. The new component offers a frequency range from 50 kHz to 110 GHz for a wide variety of applications. 

The components connect to the DC point of electronic components without interfering with their performance, the company says. What’s more, the components accommodate both male and female W1 RF connector configurations and are designed to be robust, with compact, durable aluminum encasements.  

The company says its ultra-wideband Bias Tees are commercially available now.