Nowadays, the global is becoming a village. We can do many things easier and more quickly. Technology brings us the benefits and we can’t live without it. Here, we choose RFID as an example to tell you that something you need to know about. 7 frequently asked questions are gathered about RFID for you, to help you know what this technology is and how it changed our life.

1.What does RFID stand for?

RFID (radio frequency identification) is a technology that incorporates the use of electromagnetic or electrostatic coupling in the radio frequency (RF) portion of the electromagnetic spectrum to uniquely identify an object, animal, or person. RFID is coming into increasing use in industry as an alternative to the bar code.

2.What does an RFID system consist of?

An RFID system consists of three components: an antenna and transceiver  (often combined into one reader) and a transponder (the tag). The antenna uses radio frequency waves to transmit a signal that activates the transponder. When activated, the tag transmits data back to the antenna. The data is used to notify a programmable logic controller that an action should occur. The action could be as simple as raising an access gate or as complicated as interfacing with a database to carry out a monetary transaction. Low-frequency RFID systems (30 KHZ to 500 KHz) have short transmission ranges (generally less than six feet). High-frequency RFID systems (850 MHz to 950 MHZ and 2.4 GHz to 2.5 GHz) offer longer transmission ranges (more than 90 feet).

RFID systems can also be classified by the type of tag and reader. A Passive Reader Active Tag (PRAT) system has a passive reader which only receives radio signals from active tags (battery operated, transmit only). The reception range of a PRAT system reader can be adjusted from 1–2,000 feet (0–600 m), allowing flexibility in applications such as asset protection and supervision.

An Active Reader Passive Tag (ARPT) system has an active reader, which transmits interrogator signals and also receives authentication replies from passive tags.

An Active Reader Active Tag (ARAT) system uses active tags awoken with an interrogator signal from the active reader. A variation of this system could also use a Battery-Assisted Passive (BAP) tag which acts like a passive tag but has a small battery to power the tag’s return reporting signal.

3.What is the use of RFID?

RFID has many uses in our daily life, which spreads in commerce, transportation and logistics, public transport and so on. It appears with a look of tags, readers.

What is an RFID tag?

The RFID tag has an embedded transmitter and receiver. The actual RFID component contained in a tag has two parts: an integrated circuit for storing and processing information, and an antenna to receive and transmit a signal. The RFID tag has non-volatile memory storage and can include either fixed or programmable logic for processing transmission and sensor data.

RFID tags can be either passive, active or battery-assisted passive. An active tag has an on-board battery and periodically transmits its ID signal. A battery-assisted passive (BAP) has a small battery on board and is activated when in the presence of an RFID reader. A passive tag is cheaper and smaller because it has no battery; instead, the tag uses the radio energy transmitted by the reader.

RFID tags contain at least three parts: an integrated circuit for storing and processing information that modulates and demodulates a radio- frequency (RF) signals; a means of collecting DC power from the incident reader signal; and an antenna for receiving and transmitting the signal. The tag information is stored in a non-volatile memory. The RFID tag includes either fixed or programmable logic for processing the transmission and sensor data, respectively.

Tag’s uses

Tags may either be read-only, having a factory-assigned serial number that is used as a key into a database or may be read/write, where object-specific data can be written into the tag by the system user. Field programmable tags may be write-once, read-multiple; “blank” tags may be written with an electronic product code by the user.

The RFID tag can be affixed to an object and used to track and manage inventory, assets, people, etc. For example, it can be affixed to cars, computer equipment, books, mobile phones, etc.

What is the RFID reader?

An RFID reader’s function is to interrogate RFID tags. The means of interrogation is wireless and because the distance is relatively short; the line of sight between the reader and tags is not necessary. A reader contains an RF module, which acts as both a transmitter and receiver of radio frequency signals. The transmitter consists of an oscillator to create the carrier frequency; a modulator to impinge data commands upon this carrier signal and an amplifier to boost the signal enough to awaken the tag. The receiver has a demodulator to extract the returned data and also contains an amplifier to strengthen the signal for processing. A microprocessor forms the control unit, which employs an operating system and memory to filter and store the data. The data is now ready to be sent to the network.

Reader’s uses

A radio frequency identification reader (RFID reader) is a device used to gather information from an RFID tag, which is used to track individual objects. Radio waves are used to transfer data from the tag to a reader.

RFID’s uses

RFID offers advantages over manual systems or use of bar codes. The tag can be read if passed near a reader, even if it is covered by the object or not visible. The tag can be read inside a case, carton, box or other containers, and unlike barcodes, RFID tags can be read hundreds at a time. Bar codes can only be read one at a time using current devices.

RFID can be used in a variety of applications, such as:

  • Tracking of goods
  • Tracking of persons and animals
  • Toll collection and contactless payment
  • Machine-readable travel documents
  • Smartdust(for massively distributed sensor networks)
  • Airport baggage tracking logistics
  • Timing sporting events
  • Tracking and billing processes

These applications play an important role in our daily life. For example, when buying goods,  you can use it to pay and to track the shipment. Memorize the data and track it is the way to serve you to have a good experience.

4.What is RFID skimming?

Although RFID is helpful, not every successful reading of a tag (an observation) is useful for business or other purposes. Even it shows amount of data breach cases are increasing. The criminal behavior is called RFID skimming. Then what is RFID skimming? Let us tell you.

RFID skimming is a form of digital theft, which enables information from RFID based smart cards to be read and duplicated. It can be used as a form of wireless identity theft or credit card theft among other forms of information theft. Typically it works by the illegitimate reading of RFID chips at a distance using an RFID reader device, which downloads the card information.

The concern is that some credit cards, passports, and driver’s licenses now come with embedded radio frequency identification chips. When activated by an RFID reader, these chips transmit certain types of information wirelessly, so that you can verify your identity or even make a purchase without swiping your card. The downside: Anyone with an RFID reader can activate those chips and pick up whatever information they’re designed to transmit. And, if they’re sneaky about it, they can do it without your knowledge.
So, what can we do to protect our data from being scanned? There are many methods to solve this problem. But one is the most common and easiest— use the RFID blocking technology.We will tell you what RFID blocking technology and materials is and how it works for you as follows.

5.What is RFID blocking technology and material?

First, we need to know what the RFID blocking is. RFID blocking is a form of passive shielding of RFID signals through either a metallic encased wallet or a passive lined material RFID blocking wallet or RFID blocking sleeve like most you see on the market currently.

In fact, RFID blocking’s principle is using material to impede the signal. There are three primary methods—shielding, shielded containers, metal foil. Shielding attempts to block radio signals from reaching the tag by enclosing it within a container made of material that blocks electromagnetic signals in the RFID spectrum by acting as a Faraday cage. Shielded containers for regular use in the form of single-document sleeves, wallets, pouches, etc. Shielding is possible simply and inexpensively by wrapping a tagged object in aluminum foil, which can be configured as a sleeve permitting a card to be slid out. Informal tests found that the shielding effect was not 100% effective, though it did very much reduce the maximum range for reading, from about 1.5 feet (50 cm) to 1–2 inches (3–5 cm).

There are two materials which impede Radio Signals with incredible success… Water & Metal. Although you could fill a bag full of water and place your money, wallet, or whatever else in it, let’s continue with the metal route. A single layer of aluminum foil of only 27 microns thick is often enough to block the RFID signals of most readers or 1mm of dilute salt water. So…many RFID wallet was designed with aluminum foil embedded inside compared with water for its convenience.

6.How does an RFID wallet work?

Usually, we purchase RFID wallet to protect our information for its easy usage and convenience. Maybe many people don’t have a clear mind of this new kind of wallet.

RFID-blocking wallets are designed to help insulate you from a very particular brand of electronic pickpocketing, called RFID skimming. Now, almost cards have RFID chips in it. In 1979, the first radio frequency identification chips that can be implanted into other things are created. It has been spreading all around the world in the past decades. Now, they are everywhere in our life. How do the chips work?

They work by using radio waves to communicate. The object, such as a credit card, contains an RFID tag with information, and an RFID reader uses radio waves to read the information from a tag. The key is that RFID chips have tiny electromagnetic fields, which is what makes them possible to read without having to “initiate” communications. All you need is proximity.

That’s the reason why, in theory, that somebody could scan you through your pocket. And yes, people in the real world have been scanned like this.

Fortunately, radio waves are relatively easy to interrupt and block, and that’s how an RFID-blocking wallet works: they encase your credit cards in a material that interferes with radio waves. If the wallet is properly constructed to be a Faraday cage, it will block all electromagnetic fields and prevent communication between your cards and RFID scanners.

7.Do you actually need an RFID-blocking wallet?

Maybe, maybe not. If your credit cards don’t have RFID chips, then obviously you don’t need one. And even if you do have RFID-chipped cards, the chance of being maliciously scanned is exceedingly low — less than 1 percent according to some. On the other hand, the possibility is there and the chance is non-zero.

Conclusion

After reading these frequency asked questions about RFID, I guess you have known the fundamental knowledge. Other information about RFID will be updated soon. If you think it’s useful for you, please share it with your friends. Thanks!

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