An RFID interrogator, or more often called an RFID reader, is a RF transmitting and receiving device used to communicate with an RFID Tag.
The device was named an interrogator because it interrogates the tags. The term "reader" is a more colloquial term, but is sometimes misleading in that many of these devices also have the ability to encode, or write information to an RFID Tag. A reader basically acts as an RF sensor because it can communicate with RFID tags that are within its range and is designed to interface with an information process system.
RFID Readers and Antennas
All RFID readers use RF waves for communication and therefore must have one or more antennas. The antenna may be be externally connected or in the same housing or enclosure as the RFID reader electronics.
Integration and Programming RFID Readers
Most RFID readers have a proprietary method for integration and programming. On October 13, 2010 EPCglobal ratified v1.1 the Low Level Reader Protocol (LLRP) standard in order for developers to have a common programmatic interface to RFID readers from different manufacturers.
RFID Reader Form Factors
RFID readers are found in many different form factors, which is most typically determined by:
- the environment in which the reader is designed to operate,
- the number of antennas supported,
- and any external interface connectors such as power, network, general purpose input/output (GP I/O)
Categories of RFID Readers by Form Factor
Stationary RFID Readers or Fixed Position RFID Readers
- Industrial RFID Readers
- Desktop RFID Readers
Mobile RFID Readers
- Handheld RFID Readers
- Vehicle Mounted RFID Readers
RFID Label Applicators
RFID Modules (RFID readers designed to be embedded in something)
RFID Reader Integrated Circuits (ICs)