RFID systems require a lot of components for their functioning, and while it is essential to get a detailed understanding of those parts, it is as important to zoom out and get a top-level look at those components. Designing an RFID system or product without understanding each of these components would be a critical challenge. This guide connects the dots about the major components that play a role in most RFID system architectures.
Major Integral Components Of RFID Systems:
Here is a concentrated breakdown of all the major components along with their role in the system:
Starting from the basics, an RFID tag is a device that transmits the radio waves with unique identification information. Depending on the availability of on-board power supply, there can be active RFID tags and passive RFID tags.
A reader or interrogator is a device that can read the radio waves from RFID tags to interpret the information. Often RFID readers can not only read but also write data into RFID tags in particular applications. A reader carries numerous components of its technical architecture.
Antennas are a crucial factor of the system which emits radio waves in its surrounding. It is the key to the functioning of the reader and the tag. Designing a suitable antenna for an RFID system is essential for accuracy, signal reception, avoiding loss, and dealing with noise.
- Sensors and actuators:
Sensors are essential in applications beyond simple read and write. Sensors can sense particular components, and based on that, and they can engage the reader in active mode. A sensor can be thought of as the active trigger for any application. For example, an accelerometer can trigger the reader with input to read the tags upon detecting any physical movement. Similarly, actuators can be the system’s output where a particular actuator is assigned an activity upon particular input received by the reader. Similarly to an actuator, an annunciator can be used as an indicator or alarming output.
The controller is a significant component for any embedded system with RFID communication. The role of any programmed controller is to orchestrate the communication and functioning of different elements involved in the system. The controller also facilitates the communication between the reader and an HMI device or a computer.
- User interface/software application:
Without any end-user interface or a software end application, the whole RFID system is ineffective. It is the key to creating value and meaning out of the transmission and collection of data from any RFID system.
- Network infrastructure:
RFID tags and readers communicate with their assigned radio frequencies. However, network infrastructure can include the communication between an RFID reader and the end-user interface or the internet. As such, an RFID reader may require another wired or wireless network to share information. Essentially, such network infrastructure is needed for any IoT application.
Connecting The Dots
These seven critical components play a major role in the functioning of any RFID system. Therefore, it only makes sense to diligently select these components with respect to target performance, accuracy, security, and end application. Any gap in system architecture design can lead to a crude supply chain management or, even worse, a lousy customer experience.