RFID modules use Radio Frequency Identification technology, which works like barcoding. A device captures from an object’s label or tag and save this into a database. RFID modules are more advanced than barcodes, though, because RFID tag data does not have to be in the line of sight of the optical reader for it to be read. RFID modules utilize electromagnetic fields in identifying and tracking tags that are linked to objects.
RFID technology is known as AIDC (Automatic Identification and Data Capture). It automates the identification, collection, and storing of data into the database. It does not require human intervention.
There are three essential components that make up an RFID module:
- RFID reader
- RFID smart label or tag
Inside an RFID tag, the antenna and an integrated circuit transmit data to the RFID reader, which is also known as an interrogator. Since the data relayed is in the form of radio waves, the reader converts this into a usable format. Once done, the information is passed on and stored into a database in the host computer system.
RFID technology has been around for decades. Its applications continue to expand, especially since the U.S. Department of Defense implemented mandates requiring products to be RFID traceable. Its applications cover various industries and tasks, including:
- Asset tracking
- ID badging
- Inventory management
- Supply chain management
- Personnel tracking
- Controlling restricted areas access
- Counterfeit prevention in specific industries
- Expediting checkouts
- Tracking of persons and animals
RFID modules are classified according to reader and tag types: PRAT (Passive Reader Active Tag), ARAT (Active Reader Active Tag), and ARPT (Active Reader Passive Tag).
- PRAT is for receiving radio signals from active tags.
- ARAT has active tags that are activated using an active reader’s interrogator signal.
- ARPT works with an active reader to transmit interrogator signals and receive passive tags replies.