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What is RFID and How does the RFID system work?

What is RFID and How does the RFID system work?

23 March 2022

What is RFID and How does the RFID system work?


RFID system stands for Radiofrequency Identification. It is a technology that enables not only the contactless identification of the objects but also data exchange. An RFID tag or transponder contains the data that can be read by RFID readers from a distance.

RFID systems are most commonly used for livestock tracking, inventory management, supply chain logistics and vehicle tracking and are prevalent in industries such as health care, manufacturing retail business and even home atomisation, RFID is also what makes contactless payment or tap to pay possible, Tapping a smartphone or RFID enabled credit card against a payment terminal, instead of swiping is possible due to RFID technology.

Background of RFID

If you are aware of Barcode technologies then you already know what key role this technology play in improving identification, traceability and productivity. In the case of a barcode, the object and the scanner should be in the line of sight, wherein RFID the object can be detected from anywhere within the RF zone of the reader,

RFID technology uses Radio waves technology to transfer the data.  Radio Frequency Identification is used to automatically identify or track the objects, this object could be anything. like any item of the shopping mall, inventory in the warehouse or maybe it could be your car and not only the object but it can be used for the tracking the animals as well.

RFID is another powerful technology and plays a very important part in today’s world of technologies in track and trace applications.

In RFID technology the RFID Tag is used to get attached to the object which we want to track.

The RFID reader continuously transmits the RF signal or RF waves,  so whenever this object is in the range of the reader the RFID tag transfer the information stored inside in form of a signal to the reader.

How does the RFID system work?

The basic RFID system contains two main components, an RFID Reader and an RFID Tag, mainly there are two types of RFID Tags – Active Tags and Passive Tags 

Passive tags are those tags that are small in size and work without a battery, for Active Tag external battery is used to initiate the data transfer.

RFID Tag has a coil or antenna and a low power chip or microcontroller that can save some data and send them back to the reader whenever needed.

Now passive tag does not have their own power supply, so this passive tag relies on the radio waves coming from the RFID reader while Active Tags used to have their own power supply and transmit the signal back to the reader they rely on their own power supply.

Working principle

The RFID reader continuously sends radio waves with a particular frequency from the Reader and creates an RF zone around the reader, when an RFID tag comes into this RF Zone, The small antenna inside the Tag detects the RF signal and induces small energy to activate the chip inside the Tag, RF signal read the data inside the chip and transfer the information back to the reader in form of electric signal through the same RF signal, and this data transfer takes places in Nanoseconds.  Once the RFID reader receives the electric signal from the Tag it converts it to the data stored in the chip and can be used further based on the test case. 

Application of RFID

RFID is used in many applications like equipment tracking, access controls including personal and vehicle, logistic, baggage, items security in departmental store Tollgate system and many more.


RFID holds real benefits for sectors like manufacturing, retail, logistics equipment tracking, access controls, tracking vehicles, baggage, items security in departmental store Tollgate system and many more.

Education and awareness always play a big role in adopting new technology, although RFID has been around for well over half a century, it is still relatively unknown to many industries and individuals.

The real value of the technology and its potential is something more than an asset-tracking technique. Whether it’s intelligent factories, keyless ignition for your car or moisture-sensing diapers, RFID technology has huge potential for both consumer and business environments. In industrial automation, control and data acquisition systems, RFID have the potential to become a hugely useful and widespread technology and complement existing control and data acquisition systems.

Let’s understand and conclude the RFID with a small test case of track and trace

A farmer has to count his 10000 sheep daily manually at the end of the day, and manually recording this information on pen and paper is time-consuming and error-prone, but by upgrading to RFID Technology this job can be done quickly and accurately scan the animal information. Let’s understand how?

An RFID tag is attached to all sheep now once the tagging is done all the sheep need to pass from RFID enabled Gate where an RFID Antenna is installed and connected to a mobile application, at the end of the day when all sheep pass from that gate RFID antenna read all tags without any human intervention and once all sheep passed from the gate the mobile application will show the number of tags scanned or total no of sheep.

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