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Understand RFID, Part 1: Technology

Posted: 04 May 2009     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:RFID  NFC  CMOS 

RFID applications are rapidly growing as equipment prices drop and global markets expand. Moreover, many short-range near field communications (NFC) links based on RFID technology are also seeing broad adoption. RFID and NFC technologies share a variety of uncommon engineering measurement challenges. Transient signals, bandwidth inefficient modulations, backscattered data and passive tags all require special measurement capabilities not commonly found in traditional test instruments. In this article we will examine RFID and NFC technologies and their associated test and measurement requirements.

As the cost for passive tags drops thanks to advances in submicron complementary metal oxide semiconductors (CMOS), the use of RFID for inventory applications is becoming nearly universal. Many experts believe the 96-bit Electronic Product Code will be the next generation of the Universal Product Code, the familiar General Trade Identification Number imprinted in the barcode on a majority of products sold today. The varying applications of EPC RFID tags have moved the industry to classify the basic types of RFID devices, ranging from 1 to 5 according to the tag's read/write capability and passive or active power source.

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