Where Can I Find an RFID System for Use on Ramps?

By Mark Roberti

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Ask The ExpertsWhere Can I Find an RFID System for Use on Ramps?
Mark Roberti Staff asked 5 years ago

What are the steps required to deploy a tracking system at an airport, using RFID technology and Wi-Fi, to locate equipment at a ramp area?

—Name withheld

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My recommendation would be to contact AeroScout (now owned by Stanley Healthcare), which offers a Wi-Fi-based real-time location system (RTLS) combined with GPS. The Unified Asset Visibility (UAV) solution, as it’s called, is designed to enable users to pinpoint an asset’s location throughout a large area, even in remote locations where Wi-Fi access points are sparse. AeroScout’s MobileView 4.0 software allows users to locate a tagged item based on the transmission strength of a tag’s signal as it is received by multiple standard 802.11 Wi-Fi access points, which also function as RFID interrogators. But when an AeroScout GPS Wi-Fi 2.4 GHz tag is too far away for its signal to be picked up by at least three Wi-Fi access points, the tag’s built-in GPS receiver enables it to determine its longitude and latitude measurements by satellite, and then to transmit that data via the Wi-Fi transmission. When functioning in GPS mode, the tag can be pinpointed to within 5 to 10 meters (16 to 33 feet). In Wi-Fi mode, that range narrows to 3 to 5 meters (10 to 16 feet).

The 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group (AMARG) adopted this system in 2008 (see Air Force Base Deploys Wi-Fi/GPS RFID System Across 2,500 Acres). Munich Airport has also deployed AeroScout’s Wi-Fi-based solution to track baggage dollies moving about in ramp, apron and gate areas (see Munich Airport Says RFID Improves Dolly Management).

I believe that purchasing the hardware and software from a single company, such as AeroScout, would make more sense than buying tags, ensure they can communicate with existing and new Wi-Fi access points, and then developing software to locate these assets in a ramp area. All that work has been done already. If you are not wedded to using a Wi-Fi-based system, there are other active RFID solutions that could also do the job effectively.

—Mark Roberti, Founder and Editor, RFID Journal

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