Can a Modem Be Used Instead of an Interrogator?

By RFID Journal

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Ask The ExpertsCan a Modem Be Used Instead of an Interrogator?
RFID Journal Staff asked 9 years ago

We are currently working on a project to monitor the attendance of students. I would like to know if I can use a modem in place of an RFID reader. What are the necessary steps to take to enable our modem to act as a reader?

—Name withheld


It depends on the types of modems you have. Are you referring to cable modems that might also have a Wi-Fi antenna? It might be possible to have an active Wi-Fi-based RFID system send a signal to a modem via a Wi-Fi antenna. You would need to contact the active tag's manufacturer for instructions about how to do this. But I don't think it would do you any good. To use a Wi-Fi-based RFID real-time location system, you would require multiple access points and software to locate a tagged object on a map. You undoubtedly would not have enough modems with Wi-Fi antennas to locate the tags.

Moreover, if you simply need to know that students have arrived at school, rather than monitoring them continuously as they move throughout the building, then a passive high-frequency (HF) or ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) system would likely be less expensive. Active tags that communicate via Wi-Fi cost upwards of $30 apiece, whereas passive UHF tags in plastic might be priced at only $2 each.

—Mark Roberti, Founder and Editor, RFID Journal

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