Is an RFID Signal the Same as a Mobile Phone Signal?

By RFID Journal

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Ask The ExpertsIs an RFID Signal the Same as a Mobile Phone Signal?
RFID Journal Staff asked 12 years ago

If not, what are some differences between the two?

—Name withheld


The answer, I guess, would depend on your definition of "same." Both RFID systems and cell phones use radio waves, but they operate at different frequencies. Cell phones typically use 800 MHz and 1,900 MHz, or 850 MHz, 1,800 MHz and 1,900 MHz, depending on whether they employ code division multiple access (CDMA) or Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) as a means of communication. RFID systems can utilize 13.56 MHz, 860 to 960 MHz, 433 MHz, 2.45 GHz, 5.6 GHz and other frequencies.

That is not the only difference. Different radio frequency-based technologies use different protocols or languages to communicate. So an antenna for an RFID system might be able to receive a signal from a cell phone or a cell tower, but it would not be able to interpret that signal, since it would employ a different protocol.

In a sense, it is as though one system speaks French and the other Chinese. Whether they could be taught to speak the same language is a question for an RF engineer.

—Mark Roberti, Founder and Editor, RFID Journal

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