What Is RFID’s Maximum Read Range?

By RFID Journal

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Ask The ExpertsWhat Is RFID’s Maximum Read Range?
RFID Journal Staff asked 7 years ago

What is the farthest distance from which an active RFID transponder can be read?

—Name withheld

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That is not an easy question to answer, since there has never been, to my knowledge, a head-to-head test in which read distance has been measured. There are some systems that can read tags from 1,500 feet (457 meters) away, and that read range can be extended much further using repeaters, which capture an active RFID tag’s signal and then rebroadcasts it.

We rarely see repeaters used in RFID deployments, however, because a long read range is often not that useful. If you have a read range of 1,000 feet, for example, that means you know a tagged object or vehicle is within 1,000 feet of a specific reader. If a tag can be read from a mile away, you know only that it is somewhere within that 1-mile radius. If you want to track objects or vehicles over a longer distance, GPS is often a better solution.

—Mark Roberti, Founder and Editor, RFID Journal

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