Active radio frequency identification (RFID)

What is Active Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)?
Active Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is a wireless, automatic identification method that uses self-powered tags to send information about your identity and location. The battery powers the RFID circuit and activates the active RFID tag to transmit identifying information, either through continuous beaconing to a tag reader or when prompted to do so by a reader.

Active RFID tags are used to automatically identify, locate, track, monitor and protect assets, people and animals.

An active RFID can be programmed to send a signal on demand or to send it at set intervals. The tags can also be activated to start sending at specific locations or when a change in a captured parameter is detected. The change could be in temperature, humidity, or movement.

Active RFID systems operate at ultra-high frequencies and have long reading ranges of up to 100M. The devices have a storage capacity of 512 kb or more, which allows the active tag to store information about the device that can be accessed directly from the tag .

There are two different types of active RFID: transponders and beacons.

Active transponders only communicate after receiving an interrogation signal from a reader and are used for access control and toll station payment systems.

Active beacons output identifying information at preset intervals. They are widely used for real-time location systems (RTLS) in supply chains, shipyards, and more.

The advantages of active RFID include greater range, more data, higher data transfer rates, increased productivity, efficiency, security and visibility. However, it has some disadvantages such as high cost, short life, larger dimensions and a limited operating temperature range.

The cost and size of an active RFID depends on the battery life, the memory, the type of housing and the additional functions such as integrated motion detectors, temperature sensors and a telemetry interface.

Batteries are typically non-replaceable and last approximately five years, after which the label is discarded.

Active RFID is used in a wide variety of applications such as medical devices, computer equipment, electronic test equipment, containers and trailers in the transportation industry, as well as for people and property location, facility access control, animal tracking, assembly line processes and more.

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