I am a software developer, and I would like to employ RFID tags in some of my systems. I am considering buying something I can use to run various tests, as inexpensively as possible. The reader could be a circuit board, and I would only need two to four tags. However, I am unsure about the pros and cons regarding active and passive RFID, so I was wondering what kind of investment I would need to make, or whether I should wait a year or two before digging into this, as I suspect the technology will be everywhere in the future. What would you recommend?
I think the decision would probably be between passive high-frequency (HF), Near Field Communication (NFC) and passive ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) tags. Active tags are more expensive, and you would likely not need the longer read range they offer for the experimentation you are looking to perform. After playing with some shorter-range passive tags, you might come up with an idea that requires more read range. At that point, you could look into active RFID.
Deciding on whether to use passive HF or passive UHF means determining possible applications and the read range you require. For a short-range security application, such as unlocking a door or enabling access to your PC, a passive HF tag would work great. If you wanted to use RFID tags to track something at a range of a few feet or more, you would need passive HF.
I would suggest you conduct internet searches for “Raspberry Pi RFID” and “Arduino RFID.” These searches will yield sites with instructions for sample projects, as well as kits you could buy that contain tags and a reader module.
—Mark Roberti, Founder and Editor, RFID Journal
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