How RFID Works
There are four required components that allow RFID to work:
In the most simple example, an RFID reader connected to an antenna, uses radio frequency waves to obtain a signal from an RFID tag that is within its field of communciation. An RFID Information Processing System translates that signal into an identifier.
Combining the above components together forms an RFID System. RFID systems are commonly differentiated, or categorized, in one or more of the following ways:
- Method in which the RFID tag is powered
- Frequency or frequencies in which it operates
- Field of Communication
- Communication Protocol
There are many other names used for RFID technology that ared used for differentiation which are simply short-cuts or marketing terms that refer to devices that have one or more of these specific charateristics. For example, a "Smart Card" refers to an RFID tag that uses the ISO15693 communication protocol operating at the 13.56 MHz frequency using near field communication.
When there are multiple RFID tags using RF communications, an RFID system is sometimes referred to as a Wireless Sensor Network (WSN). As rules are put in place to make automated decisions based on the data generated, the WSN evolves into an Intelligent Sensor Network.