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RFID Basics


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RFID Basics

  1. 1. What is it? (And why should you care?)
  2. 2. RFID – What is it? <ul><li>R adio F requency Id entification </li></ul><ul><li>Three parts to an RFID implementation: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Tag (chip and antenna) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reader </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Database & software </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Tag holds unique data – a serial number and/or other unique attributes of the item </li></ul>
  3. 3. RFID History <ul><li>First Bar code patents – 1930s </li></ul><ul><li>First use of RFID device – 2 nd world war – Brittan used RFID-like technology for Identify- Friend or Foe </li></ul><ul><li>Harry Stockman October 1948 Paper – Communication by means of reflected power ( The proceedings of the Institute of Radio Engineers) </li></ul><ul><li>First RFID Patent - 1973 </li></ul><ul><li>Auto-ID center founded at MIT – 1999 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Standardization effort taken over by EPC Global (Electronic Product Code) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Current thrust primarily driven by Wal-Mart and DoD </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Automate Distribution: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Reduce cost (man power, shipping mistakes) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Increase sales (keep shelves full) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>DoD Total Asset Visibility Initiative </li></ul></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Basic Tag Operational Principles N S TAG Reader Reader TAG Backscatter <ul><li>Near field (LF, HF): inductive coupling of tag to magnetic field circulating around antenna (like a transformer) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Varying magnetic flux induces current in tag. Modulate tag load to communicate with reader </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>field energy decreases proportionally to 1/R 3 (to first order) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Far field (UHF, microwave): backscatter. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Modulate back scatter by changing antenna impedance </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Field energy decreases proportionally to 1/R </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Boundry between near and far field: R = wavelength/2 pi so, once have reached far field, lower frequencies </li></ul><ul><li>will have lost significantly more energy than high frequencies </li></ul><ul><li>Absorption by non-conductive materials significant problem for microwave frequencies </li></ul>Inductive Coupling
  5. 5. Why Now! <ul><li>Recent improvements in tag and reader technology </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Better performance </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Easier deployment and maintenance </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Better use of existing infrastructure and technologies </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Improvements in tag and reader manufacturing </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Cheaper tags and readers </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Industry standardisation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>EPCglobal and ISO </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. RFID Uses <ul><li>Retail & Distribution </li></ul><ul><li>Contactless Payment </li></ul><ul><li>Keyless Entry </li></ul><ul><li>Livestock Tagging </li></ul><ul><li>Pharmaceuticals </li></ul><ul><li>Logistics Assets (containers, trailers) </li></ul><ul><li>Pet Identification </li></ul>
  7. 7. Bar Codes on Steroids <ul><li>“ RADIO FREQUENCY identification (RFID) tags are like bar codes on steroids; they're to traditional SKUs what Robocop was to your ordinary cop on the beat.” </li></ul><ul><li>- CIO Magazine </li></ul>
  8. 8. RFID Benefits <ul><li>More information </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Individual item data & tracking </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Fast </li></ul><ul><ul><li>No contact </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>No line of sight </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Miliseconds </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Simultaneous read of multiple items </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. RFID Tag Attributes Active RFID Passive RFID Tag Power Source Internal to tag Energy transferred using RF from reader Tag Battery Yes No Required signal strength Very Low Very High Range Up to 100m Up to 3-5m, usually less Multi-tag reading 1000’s of tags recognized – up to 100mph Few hundred within 3m of reader Data Storage Up to 128 Kb or read/ write & search 128 bytes of read/write
  10. 10. Passive RFID Tags <ul><li>EXAMPLE: “Traditional” tags used in retail security applications </li></ul><ul><li>Tag contains antenna and a small data chip </li></ul><ul><li>Tag is powered by the electromagnetic field generated in doorways, reflecting back a weak signal containing data </li></ul>
  11. 11. Active Tags <ul><li>EXAMPLE: military; transportation assets </li></ul><ul><li>Battery Powered tags </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Greater range – 100m </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>More information – Kbytes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Can integrate sensors </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Temperature, GPS </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>More expensive </li></ul><ul><li>Shorter life span </li></ul>
  12. 12. What Constitutes an RFID System? <ul><li>One or more RF tags </li></ul><ul><li>Two or more antennas </li></ul><ul><li>One or more interrogators </li></ul><ul><li>One or more host computers </li></ul><ul><li>Appropriate software </li></ul>
  13. 13. RFID API Software (Communicates with the RFID Reader) Customer-Specific Application Software Host Computer Host Memory Space Reader Antenna Application Program Interface (API) Application Program Interface (API) Components of an RFID System
  14. 14. Antenna Reader Firmware Customer’s MIS Host Application Software API TCP/IP Power ~ Asset Asset/Tag RFID System Components (block diagram) Tag Insert
  15. 15. RFID Operation <ul><li>Sequence of Communication </li></ul><ul><li>Host Manages Reader(s) and Issues Commands </li></ul><ul><li>Reader and tag communicate via RF signal </li></ul><ul><li>Carrier signal generated by the reader (upon request from the host application) </li></ul><ul><li>Carrier signal sent out through the antennas </li></ul><ul><li>Carrier signal hits tag(s) </li></ul><ul><li>Tag receives and modifies carrier signal </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ sends back” modulated signal (Passive Backscatter - FCC and ITU refer to as “field disturbance device”) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Antennas receive the modulated signal and send them to the Reader </li></ul><ul><li>Reader decodes the data </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Results returned to the host application </li></ul></ul>
  16. 16. RFID Operations
  17. 17. What is RFID? -- The Tags <ul><li>Tags can be read-only or read-write </li></ul><ul><li>Tag memory can be factory or field programmed, partitionable, and optionally permanently locked </li></ul><ul><li>Bytes left unlocked can be rewritten over more than 100,000 times </li></ul>
  18. 19. What is RFID? -- The Readers <ul><li>Readers (interrogators) can be at a fixed point such as </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Entrance/exit </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Point of sale </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Warehouse </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Readers can also be mobile -- tethered, hand-held, or wireless </li></ul>
  19. 20. RFID Readers <ul><li>Readers </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Contains electronics, Tx, Rx and control </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Connected to antenna(s) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>mostly external </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Energise tags (passive tags) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Commands tags (wake up active tags, enables management of the tag population) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Receive tag replies </li></ul></ul>
  20. 21. RFID Readers
  21. 22. Host CPU <ul><ul><li>Application </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Do something with the tag information </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Potential to generate massive amounts of data </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Once installed it costs virtually NOTHING to read a tag! </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Real time data => real time decisions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>OHIO (Zero Human Involvement Operations)* </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>* Term defined by John Greaves, CHEP International </li></ul></ul>
  22. 23. RFID System Basics <ul><li>How far? </li></ul><ul><li>How fast? </li></ul><ul><li>How many? </li></ul><ul><li>How much? </li></ul><ul><li>Attached to and surround by what? </li></ul>
  23. 24. How far, how fast, how much, how many, attached to what?
  24. 25. Status Today <ul><li>Issue #1: RFID Mandate Madness </li></ul><ul><li>But will suppliers make the right choices? </li></ul>
  25. 26. Status Today <ul><li>Issue #2: Lack of worldwide tag, reader, data standards </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Companies may later have to scrap choices </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>EPCglobal trying to solve </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>China a wild card </li></ul></ul></ul>
  26. 27. Status Today <ul><li>Issue #3: Tag costs too high </li></ul><ul><li>Goal is 5¢ tag; can’t afford $2 tag on 99¢ item </li></ul><ul><li>Biggest limit on widespread business use </li></ul>
  27. 28. Status Today <ul><li>Issue #4: Lack of Software </li></ul><ul><li>What to do with all that data? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Problem: “Petabytes” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Answer: “Middleware” </li></ul></ul>
  28. 29. Status Today <ul><li>Issue #5: Privacy concerns </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Item level tagging </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Tagging people </li></ul></ul>“ Mark of the Beast” Urban legend “ Andrew Jackson’s Exploding Eyeball” Urban legend
  29. 30. Applications
  30. 31. Portal Applications Bill of Lading Material Tracking
  31. 32. Portal Applications <ul><li>Limited number items at forklift speeds </li></ul><ul><li>8’ X 10’ doorways </li></ul><ul><li>Electronic receipt & dispatch </li></ul><ul><li>Wrong destination alert </li></ul><ul><li>Electronic marking </li></ul><ul><li>Pallet/container item tracking </li></ul>
  32. 33. Conveyor / Assembly Line Read / Write Operations Higher Accuracy than Bar Code
  33. 34. Hand Held Application Categories Wireless Batch Fixed Station
  34. 35. Shipping Validation Tote/Box/Unit Level Inventory
  35. 36. Intelligent Labels
  36. 37. The HazMat Label
  37. 38. HazMat Smart Label <ul><li>Low power > long range </li></ul><ul><li>1024 bit memory </li></ul><ul><li>Read/write/lock on 8 bits </li></ul><ul><li>Advanced protocol </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Efficient multi-id  Lock data permanently </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>12 ms/8 byte read  25ms/byte write </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Group select  Broadcast write </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>40 tags/second  Anti-collision </li></ul></ul>
  38. 39. The Future <ul><li>&quot;Imagine an Internet of things, where everyday objects, rooms, and machines are connected to one another and to the larger digital world.” </li></ul><ul><li>- Business 2.0 </li></ul>
  39. 40. RFID Journal InformationWeek RFID Weblog Don’t Forget! “ RFID in the Supply Chain” 19 November 2004 Martin Center