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RFID Technical Issues. Operations & Decision Technologies Department Kelley School of Business Indiana University. What is RFID?. RFID stands for Radio Frequency Identification

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rfid technical issues

RFID Technical Issues

Operations & Decision Technologies

Department

Kelley School of Business

Indiana University

what is rfid
What is RFID?
  • RFID stands for Radio Frequency Identification
  • It is a technology that permits contact-free transfer of data using a radio frequency transmission
  • The heart of RFID technology is a transponder, which is a silicon chip attached to an antenna. It is called a tag. The tag can be attached to items that are to be tracked
  • A numeric code is stored on the chip. This code is called the electronic product code (EPC)
  • The code is read when communication takes place between a reader (interrogator) and the tag
rfid technology is not new
RFID Technology is Not New!!
  • Tracking livestock (Approximately 15 years)
  • Contactless payments (Approximately 5 years)
    • ExxonMobil Speedpass
    • Tollbooth lanes
  • Event access (Ticketing)
  • Building access control
  • Has been used in manufacturing to track large components such as engines and chassis
  • Has been used for the international postal system for monitoring the quality of service
why now
Why Now?
  • The creation of the Electronic Product Code (EPC)
  • Technology changes
  • EPCGlobal Generation 2 standard (Gen 2)
  • The price of the tags has been coming down. However, price is still an issue
  • Mandates by various organizations (European Parliament, DOD, Wal-Mart, Target, etc.)
the wal mart mandate
The Wal-Mart Mandate
  • Wal-Mart required its top 100 suppliers to be RFID-enabled at the case and pallet level by January 2005
  • The rest of its suppliers had to be compliant by December 2006
  • Wal-Mart did not endorse specific RFID hardware or software
  • Expected suppliers to perform their own tests of RFID technologies
  • Will impact 10,000+ Suppliers
advantages of rfid
Advantages of RFID
  • Provides non-contact, non-line-of-sight operation
  • Is difficult to counterfeit
  • Is a highly capable and proven technology for a wide range of applications
  • Provides an instantaneous read of code
rfid technology is maturing
RFID Technology is Maturing
  • Technology has improved significantly
  • Standards are being adopted and agreed upon
  • Some markets are maturing
  • Other markets being identified for possible applications
  • Significant impact expected in SCM
rfid systems
RFID Systems
  • Tags are attached to objects
  • Each tag has a certain amount of internal memory in which it stores information about the object
  • This information could be unique ID numbers, details about manufacture date and product composition
rfid systems1
RFID Systems
  • When the tags pass through a field generated by a reader, they transmit information back to the reader, identifying the object.
  • Until recently the tags and readers were used in systems with low volumes but the objective is to use them in high volume situations
possible roadblocks
Possible Roadblocks
  • Tag reading efficiencies and prices
  • Standards - Applications are global but the basis of radio regulations are national and even regional
  • Interoperability of the technologies through the supply chain
  • Who bears the cost of the RFID system in the supply chain?
possible roadblocks1
Possible Roadblocks
  • The barrier points for tags are 2 meters for range and 3GHz for frequency. Below these points, it is possible to make a low cost tag system. Beyond these points, technologies get more expensive
  • IT Infrastructure to handle the large amounts of data
  • Change of work and labor practices
  • Privacy and ethical issues
  • Security issues
improvements in rfid technology
Improvements in RFID Technology
  • From read-only tags to read-write
  • From no memory in tags to 2K, 8K and in some cases 16K bits
  • Better authentication between tag and reader
  • Anti-collision algorithms for multiple tag reads in the field
  • More sophisticated security algorithms
an rfid system
An RFID System

Reader

Command to

Retrieve Data

Control

Module

Host Computer

Data Requested

Data Received

Data sent to Host

Broadcast

Interface

Request Transmitted

Internet / Intranet

Transponder

Data Transmitted

rfid tags
RFID Tags
  • Tags can be either active (powered by a battery) or passive (powered by the reader field)
  • Tags can also be semi-active or semi-passive (same type of tag). Such tags have batteries but are only activated by a reader’s electromagnetic field
  • Tags come in various forms including smart cards, tags, labels, watches, and even embedded in cell phones
structure of a tag
Structure of a Tag

Chip + Antennae + Substrate = Tag

Chip or Integrated Circuit (IC)

Antenna

rfid operating frequencies
RFID Operating Frequencies
  • Low Frequency (125-134kHz)Used in access control, livestock, race timing, pallet tracking, wireless commerce
  • High Frequency (13.56 mHz)Smart labels – Used in supply chain, wireless commerce, ticketing, product authentication
  • Ultra-High Frequency – UHF (900+mHz)Emerging technology
  • Microwave (2.45 gHz)Not widely deployed
rfid transponder or tags
RFID Transponder or Tags
  • It is a micro-chip with a unique ID code (UID) and memory
  • It also has an antenna which is usually copper or aluminum
  • Active tags versus passive tags
  • Some chipless tags – very low cost, short read range tags
readability issues
Readability Issues
  • Dead Tags – Unreadable
  • Quiet Tags – Readable but only at a short distance
  • Quality of tags is an issue
  • Readability rates of higher quality tags are at about 97% to 98%. That translates to about 2 Sigma
electronic product code

Header

8 Bits

EPC Manager

34 Bits

Object Class

20 Bits

Serial Number

34 Bits

Electronic Product Code
  • Header: Identifies the EPC’s Version Number
  • EPC Manager: Indicates the enterprise using the EPC number
  • Object Class: Refers to the class or category of a product (similar to a Stock Keeping Unit – SKU)
  • Serial Number: Identifies a unique item being tagged

647.37000.123456.100000000

tag packaging formats
Tag Packaging Formats
  • Weather-proof or environment-proof enclosures
  • Pressure sensitive labels
  • Credit card size flexible labels
  • Tokens and coins
  • Embedded tags
  • Paper tags
transponder tag classes
Transponder/Tag Classes
  • Read Only
  • Write Once Read Only
  • Read/Write
  • Read/Write with On-Board Sensors (for recording parameters such as temperature, pressure, etc.)
  • Read/Write with Integrated Transmitters – Can communicate with other tags and devices without the presence of a reader
low frequency tags
Low Frequency Tags
  • Typical Maximum Read Range - <0.5 m
  • Relatively expensive even at high volumes. Low frequency requires a longer more expensive copper antenna. Least susceptible to performance degradations from metal and liquids
  • Generally passive tags
  • Applications include access control, animal tracking, POS applications including SpeedPass
  • Data rate slower than other frequencies
  • Passive tag size is larger than other frequencies
high frequency tags
High Frequency Tags
  • Typical Maximum Read Range – Approx 1m
  • Less expensive than low frequency tags. Best suited for applications that do not require long range reading of multiple tags
  • Generally passive tags
  • Applications include item-level tracking such as baggage handling (non-US)
  • Data rate slower than other ultra high frequencies (UHF)
  • Passive tag size is larger than UHF
ultra high frequency tags
Ultra High Frequency Tags
  • Typical Maximum Read Range – Approx 3m
  • In large volumes, UHF tags have the potential to be cheaper than either LF or HF tags. Offer balance between range and performance
  • Active tags with integral battery or passive tags
  • Applications include pallet tracking and item-level tracking such as baggage handling (US)
  • Data rate faster than other LF or HF tags
  • Passive tag size is smaller than LF or HF tags
microwave tags
Microwave Tags
  • Typical Maximum Read Range – Approx 1m
  • Very similar to UHF tags but with faster read rates. Most susceptible to performance degradations from metal and liquids, particularly metal
  • Active tags with integral battery or passive tags
  • Applications include SCM And toll collection
  • Data rate faster than other ultra high frequencies (UHF)
  • Passive tag size is smaller than UHF tags
rfid readers
RFID Readers
  • Readers are radio frequency devices that:
    • Transmit and receive RF signals
    • Contain a control unit to execute commands
    • Incorporate an interface to transfer data
    • Receives commands from a Host computer
    • Responds to software commands from Host
reader characteristics
Reader Characteristics
  • Stationary or Hand-held
  • Multi-protocol?
  • Weather-proof?
  • Read ranges vary from a few centimeters to a few meters
  • Read range is dependent upon broadcast signal strength, size of broadcast antenna, size of transponder antenna, and the environment
antenna characteristics
Antenna Characteristics
  • Transmits and receives RF signals
  • Typically made of copper or aluminum, new technologies emerging for printed antennas
  • Stationary or Hand-held
  • Weather-proof?
  • Fixed or Turnable
an antenna tunnel
An Antenna Tunnel

Antennas

Verification

tunnel reads

rfid system issues
RFID System Issues
  • Read Distance Requirements
    • Long read range
    • Short read range
  • Frequency
    • All frequencies have their pros and cons
  • ISO Standards
    • Proprietary or Standards-based
rfid system issues1
RFID System Issues
  • Government Regulations
    • Varies from country to country
  • Multiple Tag Reading in Same Field
    • Anti-collision algorithms
  • Hardware set-up
    • Environment can affect performance
  • Transponders
rfid players hardware
RFID Players – Hardware
  • Alien Technology
  • Intermec Technology
  • Matrics, Inc.
  • Savi Technology
  • SAMSys Technologies
  • Symbol Technologies
  • Texas Instruments
rfid players software
RFID Players - Software
  • Manhattan Associates
  • SAP
  • RedPrairie
  • JDA Software
  • Manugistics
  • EXE Technologies
rfid middleware
RFID - Middleware
  • TIBCO Software
  • Sun Microsystems
  • webMethods
  • GlobeRanger
  • ConnecTerra
rfid systems integrators
RFID – Systems Integrators
  • IBM Global Services
  • Accenture
  • Cap Gemini Ernst and Young
  • Sapient
  • Kurt Salmon Associates
  • The ePC Group