Can RFID Tags Be Read Deep Underwater?

By RFID Journal

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Ask The ExpertsCan RFID Tags Be Read Deep Underwater?
RFID Journal Staff asked 14 years ago

We have a customer with a need to put RFID tags in products that will lie temporarily underwater (both fresh and sea water). The client wants to read those tags in water up to a depth of 400 meters (1,312 feet). Do you know if there exists such an application, or if it is at all possible?

—Name withheld


In 2006, we wrote about an application in which low-frequency (LF) tags placed on pipelines were read underwater using a handheld reader (see Taking RFID to New Depths). However, it appears that the company that made the system, Enertag, has since gone under (so to speak), as its Web site is no longer active.

There are businesses that manufacture tags that can be read underwater. Technologies ROI (TROI) makes tags that it claims can survive depths of 1 mile underwater (see Armored-RFID Tag Loves to Get Hammered). Omni-ID produces tags that can be read while submerged in water as well.

That said, these tags must be read at fairly close range. I do not believe it is possible to read, from the surface, even an active tag submerged under 400 meters of water.

—Mark Roberti, Editor, RFID Journal

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