I would encourage any of our readers who have faced this issue to post about it below. In the meantime, to answer your question, I reached out to James E. Heurich, the president of RFID Inc., a company that manufactures high-frequency (HF) readers. Here is his response:
“LF [low-frequency] readers (and readers at all other frequencies) are no different from other products—be they electronics or cars or clothing—in terms of quality. There are high-end readers of great integrity, and there are low-end readers that have less functionality and poorer performance. RFID Inc. could build a low-end reader using a single reader chip, but it would not perform as well as a reader with discrete components on a printed circuit board. It would have a poorer read range and read speed, and be more susceptible to interference from other readers nearby.
“Anybody can go to the Web site of Texas Instruments or Atmel and download a schematic for a basic RFID reader, but high-end RFID engineering companies would consider those toys, and that’s OK for some applications. We sell both. A reader at a gas pump or NFC [Near Field Communication] tap-and-go doesn’t need much range or speed, but it does need to be inexpensive and small. A great deal more intellectual property goes into high-end readers, such as the modulation, divide-by rate, and imbedded code (firmware), which greatly impact a reader’s performance. An example of high-end networkable readers capable of achieving a tag read every 12.5 milliseconds in very close proximity to one another (they can be mounted on metal without degradation of performance) can be viewed in this video.”
I highly recommend that you watch the video, as it shows the strength of LF systems for some applications. If you would like to
e-mail me the name of the HF reader company you used, I will share that information with James privately, and he might be able to offer some tips for improving performance.
—Mark Roberti, Founder and Editor, RFID Journal
Can HF Tags Survive High Temperatures? »