How Can I Identify Items from a Long Distance?


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Ask The ExpertsCategory: QuestionsHow Can I Identify Items from a Long Distance?
Rosalie Nardo asked 10 months ago

I am interested in RFID systems and was wondering which products could identify tags from a long range. I understand that UHF would be the best application, but I have been unable to find any readers able to accomplish this. More specifically, I am looking for an explanation of how receivers can be adjusted to achieve ranges larger than 1 meter (3.3 feet). From what I have gathered, the recommendations include more power or larger antennas. It would be great if someone could provide more clarity on how this could be achieved, with examples of products that do this reliably.


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The answer to this question depends on your specific use case. Typically, fixed UHF RFID readers and antennas are designed to accomplish a read range far beyond 1 meter—closer to 30 meters (98.4 feet). However, desktop readers usually have a shorter range than fixed portals or overhead versions, while mobile or handheld readers can be shorter still, due to space constraints for the antennas.

It sounds like you are working with fixed readers for which you have space to leverage external antennas. If that is the case, any standard RFID readers should provide you with ample read range. Consider products from Zebra, Impinj, Jadak, Alien Technology or Kathrein Solutions. Some readers may be set at a shorter range to reduce the risk of reading stray tags. If that would be an issue for your company, you could turn up the reader power and use the received signal strength indicator (RSSI) feature to provide read-strength data that would enable distant tag reads to be screened out.

Claire Swedberg
Senior Editor
RFID Journal


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