How Can We Track Cables?

By RFID Journal

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Ask The ExpertsHow Can We Track Cables?
RFID Journal Staff asked 9 years ago

We are looking for short-range passive tags and readers (not handheld) for use on electric cables. Can you recommend which ones we should buy?

—Name withheld


It would be difficult to recommend tags and readers without knowing more information about your deployment. For instance, what do you mean by "short-range"? If you mean within 1 foot, a passive low-frequency (LF) or high-frequency (HF) tag would work fine. If short-range means 10 feet, then you would need a passive ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) transponder. Another issue is the sheathing of the electric cables. If there is a lot of insulation, that will prevent the metal wire within the cable from detuning the tag antenna and preventing the tag from being read.

My recommendation would be to hire a good systems integrator who can look at the locations where you want to read the cable, the cable material and other factors, and make a recommendation about whether to use LF, HF or UHF. The integrator can test a variety of tag types (regular smart labels and on-metal tags, for example) and then choose the one that will do the job at the lowest cost. If you need a recommendation for a systems integrator, you can e-mail

—Mark Roberti, Founder and Editor, RFID Journal

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