How Can I Be Sure the Tags and Reader I Buy Will Communicate?

By RFID Journal

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Ask The ExpertsHow Can I Be Sure the Tags and Reader I Buy Will Communicate?
RFID Journal Staff asked 2 years ago

If I were to buy some micro-RFID chips (the same used in animals) for a project, how could I know I was buying a reader that could detect and read those chips? Also, how long would I need to hold each chip on the reader for it to register? For example, if I were to put a chip in a ball and throw the ball at the reader, the connection would only last for a split second. Would that work, or would trial and error be required?

—Jason

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Jason,

To ensure that the reader you buy can read the tags you purchase, you must make sure they operate at the same frequency and employ the same air-interface protocol. If you were to buy low-frequency (LF) tags, which are the kind implanted in animals, they would be readable only by an LF reader.

The air-interface protocol is the language tags and readers use to communicate. There are protocol standards, so you could buy tags and readers from different companies if they used the same standard. Some companies also make tags and readers that utilize their own proprietary air-interface protocol.

Low-frequency tags can be read rapidly, but they take longer to interrogate than high-frequency (HF) and ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) tags, so it would be difficult to say for certain that the tag in the ball would be read in your scenario. There are also a variety of factors that could influence your ability to read the tag.

For example, if your ball were made of high-density material, that would affect the penetration of the radio waves and potentially impact your ability to read the tag embedded in the ball quickly. You would need to carry out some testing to be sure the tags and readers you bought would work the way you wanted them to.

—Mark Roberti, Founder and Editor, RFID Journal

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