How Do Electric Wires Affect Tag Reads?

By RFID Journal

  • TAGS
Ask The ExpertsHow Do Electric Wires Affect Tag Reads?
RFID Journal Staff asked 11 years ago
Do electric high-tension wires (132 KVA) interrupt or weaken the RF signal from a read? We have implemented RF passive tags in open ground, and I noticed a decrease in the read range of the tags.

—Name withheld

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To get an intelligent answer, I reached out to the intelligent RF engineers at Impinj, a leading provider of ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) systems. Here is their response:

“If the electric field is high enough, it can locally ionize the air around the conductors. This is the corona that is sometimes audible as a buzzing or crackling. Think of it as thousands of tiny lightning bolts. And just as lightning can interfere with radio and television, corona can interfere by creating broadband noise and impulses. Is 132 kV high enough to do that? Could be—it depends on atmospheric conditions and conductor geometry.”

—Mark Roberti, Editor, RFID Journal

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