Two New Developments in RFID Reader Technology

By Admin

There were two vendor announcements today signalling the ever-advancing state of RFID reader technology. The first came from Gen2 reader manufacturer ThingMagic, the second from semiconductor giant Atmel and embedded RFID reader provider SkyeTek.

This article was originally published by RFID Update.

January 8, 2007—Two vendor announcements today signal the steady advance of RFID reader technology. The first came from Gen2 reader manufacturer ThingMagic, which released an upgrade to the MercuryOS operating system that runs on its flagship line of Mercury readers.

Dubbed Yagi, the upgrade is version 2.4 of the MercuryOS and, according to the company, delivers performance improvements of up to 400 percent in certain instances. The announcement specifically highlights improvement in environments burdened with a lot of wireless "noise" like that emitted by other RFID readers, wireless networks and telephones, and fluorescent lighting. In Dense Reader Mode (a Gen2 specification that defines reader operation requirements in environments with many readers), ThingMagic says the Mercury readers loaded with Yagi can read up to 200 Gen2 tags per second.

ThingMagic's emphasis on dense environment reader performance is notable, as it demonstrates how far Gen2 reader technology has come. This time last year, simple Gen2 compliance was what reader vendors touted. A year later, these vendors are angling for competitive advantage with certain key performance characteristics. The focus on dense reader environments also portends the general expansion of end-user Gen2 initiatives from one- or two-reader pilots to live, industrial-strength, multi-reader deployments.

ThingMagic's readers employ software defined radio, which allows software upgrades to be installed remotely. Thus, the Yagi upgrade can be executed centrally across an existing deployment of Mercury5 and Mercury4 readers. Mercury5 retails at $1,995, and Mercury4 at $995. Both readers support all Gen2, Gen1, ISO 18000-6B, ISO 18000-6C, and UCODE 1.19 tags

The second reader announcement today came from Atmel and SkyeTek. The two companies have initiated a partnership to deliver high-performance, secure high frequency (HF) reader solutions. Specifically, Atmel's CryptoRF technology will be combined with SkyeTek's Advanced Universal Reader Architecture (AURA) platform to offer "an ultra-secure option for embedded RFID applications." Targeted applications include e-pedigree, patient safety, consumables authentication, item-level inventory management, and ticketing. The agreement will see SkyeTek support Atmel's CryptoRF in AURA as well as develop upgrades to components of AURA that are optimized for Atmel's chips.