Top 9 Reasons Why RFID is Not Working (2022)

Radiofrequency identification is a technology that enables us to identify almost anyobject wirelessly using collected data transmitted through radio waves. RFID applications are endless in any industryincluding healthcare, retail, manufacturing, transportation, and more.

Variouscomponents work together to comprise the RFID system functionality and are necessaryfor the technology to work including RFID tags, antennas, readers, cables, andadditional accessories such as multiplexers, and support antennas. Together they form an effective RFID system.

RFIDsystems are extremely reliable; some enterprises achieve a 99.9% systemreliability on their RFID network, but what happens when an RFID system isperforming poorly? Or an identificationtag is not read? Failures can mean dollarslost for manufacturer’s environments and dangerous risks in a hospital setting. And who is responsible when things get ugly? The tag producer? The reader manufacturer? The network integrator? There is enough blame to go around, and let’sface it, the reader and tag are codependent. One can make the other look quite bad.

AtFEIG ELECTRONICS, we have been involved in RFID for more than 50 years so let’ssay – we have seen a thing or two. Thefollowing discussion does not focus on specific tag malfunctions, but only asthey relate to the readers because that is our business, and for the purpose ofthis blog, we are going to focus on the following RFID frequencies:

Low frequency125kHz to 135 kHz
High frequency13.56 MHz
Passive UHF860MHz to 960 MHz

In ourexperience, these are some of the factors for RFID reading failures:

  • Reader Quality
  • Speed and Movement of Tags
  • Tag Density
  • Antenna Design
  • Cable Type and Length
  • Mounting Location
  • Transponder Sensitivity
  • Absorption and Reflection
  • Electrical Noise
  • Environment
  • Reader Sensitivity
  • Material Density
  • Operating Frequency/Coupling Factor
  • Application Requirements/Security Factors

Andthere are probably another 20 factors that can affect an RFID reader’sperformance but the most common reasons that keep our customer support agentsemployed are coupling factors, the material density of the tagged item, RFIDantenna patterns, antenna cables, RFID tag density, reading speed, noise, andreading distance.

Let’sanalyze each of them:

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CouplingFactor

Thebehavior of frequencies changes below 13.56 MHz, where a magnetic field is usedto transfer energy and information between the reader and the transponder. This process is known as inductive coupling. Inductive coupling is limited to a reading distanceof about one meter. Higher frequencies, usea “Backscatter” coupling technique with a reading distance well beyond onemeter. It is the coupling factor that determineswhat frequencies are optimal for a specific application.

Materialor Product Density

Thematerial density of a tagged item can cause reflection and absorption variances.Apolymeris a low-density material, glass is a middle-density material,while substances such as water or liquids have a very high-density. Highfrequency has almost no change or influence in the transmission of the signal withvarying item densities, while in UHF, the transmission characteristics can be significantlyaffected by subject densities With UltraHigh Frequency the performance of the reading will change due to the materialdensity. So, whenever working with wateror the human body (which is 50% to 65% water), the frequency of operation will need to be selected accordingly.

RFID Antenna Patterns

ElectromagneticNear Field of Inductive System (HF)

AnHF system uses a loop antenna which creates an asymmetric magnetic field. In the case of a UHF System, the antennaproduces a directional field that has an angled beam with specific gain, andpolarization that is prone to picking up stray reflections and developing possiblereading holes at the farther distances. Itis critical to take these antenna patterns into consideration when designing anRFID system.

DataSecurity

Foroptimal performance of your system, it is essential to choose the righttransponder for each specific application as every application requires a varyingdegree of security. Take for example a UID/Inventory & Assettracking application. These applicationsrequires little to no security and just a simple UID transponder will do thejob.

Ifyou require password protection for any kind of information like inanti-counterfeiting applications, a transponder with password protection wouldbe required and that is available on UHF and HF.

Formore elevated security, as in the case of encrypted information applicationsused for instance in access control, atransponder with a secure architecture where you can store access keys would benecessary.

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Thehighest security transponders in the marketplace are used for cryptographicauthentication, for access control, ticketing and financial transactions. The readersused in these applications have a cryptographic engine or processor where eachtransaction is cryptographically challenged in a different way each and everytime.

AntennaCables

Highfrequency RFID systems, use a 50 ohm impedance match between the reader and antenna. Cable length and routing can have a hugeaffect on an HF system. The antenna manufacturers will know what length willprovide the best performance for their individual antennas.

Inthe case of UHF, impendence is equally important but in addition each coaxial cabletype also has an attenuation factor according to its length. Signal can be greatlyreduced if the planning here is not done correctly.

TAGDensity

Someapplications have an uncommonly high number of tags in a specific area wheretags are stacked or piled mere millimeters away from each other, as in the caseof document tracking and Kanban Systems. A few pages in a file folder with severalfiles stacked on top of one another is a recipe for potential reading errors. In these kinds of applications, an HF antennais ideal, while a UHF antenna would not perform as well if at all. An effective illustration is a stack oftagged playing cards, where HF has a 100% read rate, if you stacked 52 cards ontop of one another, a UHF antenna could not read even one card when similarly stackedon top of one another. Under ahigh-density situation, the UHF antenna cannot read RFID tags unless you separatethe items.

ReadingSpeed (UID reading)

Aswe can now see, each reader has different capabilities in various applications.Thesecapabilities however can be case specific.Take for example the HF ISO 18000 3M3 that claims to read 800 tags persecond and the UHF EPC Class 1 Gen 2 that claims 1000 tags per second accordingto information found on the Internet. Ina test comparing read rates we found the HF ISO 18000 3M3 readers reading at arate of 300 to 400 tags per second in a live setting while the UHF EPC Class 1Gen 2 read at a rate somewhere around 250 tags per second. Most of these readers require specializedhardware that differs from a standard reading environment and if this hardwarerequirement is not met, the reading speeds are substantially compromised. Performanceresults dramatically change according to the application and the environment.

Noise

RFID’sarchenemy is noise. We are not talkingabout acoustical noise here but EMV, and common ground, kind of noise. In thecase of HF, this electrical noise can come from various sources including theantenna, the power supply, any communications links, and even cabling issuesthat could cause a ground loop to create noise. To overcome these possible noise problems, we mustuse a reader with the capability to measures noise levels. When the noise rises above a normal threshold,the system indicates a problem so managers can inspect these common noisepoints (antenna, power supply, etc.) to troubleshoot the source of the issue. In the case of UHF, because of the higher frequencylevel, these kinds of analyzers are unavailable in the marketplace so thenetworks need to be designed to counteract the noise; one way is by operating ona dense reader mode, meaning the system is designed to operate in a multireader environment. In the United States,the FCC has allocated 50 channels as UHFfrequency band, so we can theoretically have 50 readers in a network, and eachwould search for an available channel on which to properly function. FEIG conducted tests on this as well in areal-life setting and measured other readers in these kinds of dense reader conditions.We found all readers dropped signal whentwo readers are on the same channel and noticeda dramatic loss in overall signal and signal strength in several readers when twoon neighboring channels In real life, this would result in a typicalservice call because each time a reader is activated, it starts looking for afree working channel and causes loss of signal as it competes with other readers.

ReadingDistance

Weoften hear the question “What distance can I get from this reader?” and thehonest answer is, it depends. As we havediscussed, all HF and UHF passive readers’ distances depend on a multitude ofcontributing factors like reader power and sensitivity, antenna tuning (readerand tag) environmental influences (metal, etc.), size and sensitivity of thetag, orientation of the tag to the reader antenna, and add dozens moreinfluencing factors.

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Bottomline: It is critical to measure and test the distance from the readers to thetag in a live environment and take all application factors into consideration.

Formore information check at our Webinar andWhite Paper on UHF RAIN Long-Range RFID Reader Comparison!

Needhelp with RFID technology? We can guide you in the right direction. Get coachedon the right frequency to use and which product will work best. Contact ustoday: https://www.feig-electronics.com/en/

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FAQs

What causes RFID to stop working? ›

If tags are placed on products that bang into one another during shipping, the chip in the transponder could become crushed, rendering the tag inoperable. If a tag is placed on a flexible product, causing it to bend to the point that its antenna separates from the chip, the tag will stop functioning.

What is the major problem with RFID? ›

RFID is prone to two main issues: Reader collision. Reader collision, when a signal from one RFID reader interferes with a second reader, can be prevented by using an anti-collision protocol to make RFID tags take turns transmitting to their appropriate reader. Tag collision.

What are three 3 problems you might face in implementing RFID? ›

The following problems that occur with RFID cards and readers identified as follows:
  • Contents of an RFID Tag Can Be Read after the Item Leaves the Supply Chain: ...
  • RFID cards is a problem of the movement (RFID Tags Are Difficult to Remove): ...
  • RFID Tags Can Be Read without Your Knowledge:

How can RFID be improved? ›

Therefore, you need shorter cables from the reader to the antenna to boost the signal. Also, look for cables with higher insulation ratings that keep more power going to antennas. Improving your read range on RFID tags, as you can see, depends solely on your hardware.

What can block RFID signals? ›

RFID blocking wallets block RFID signals using electromagnetic enclosure technology called a Faraday cage. This technology is said to make credit cards electromagnetically opaque by distributing electrostatic charges or radiation around the cage's exterior, thus protecting its contents from electric charges.

Does heat affect RFID? ›

sells tags designed for high-impact and high-temperature environments. Different tags can withstand temperatures ranging from 300 degrees to 650 degrees Fahrenheit (149 degrees to 343 degrees Celsius) for up to two hours.

What are advantages and disadvantages of RFID? ›

Advantages & Disadvantages of RFID
  • Scanning Range. An RFID reader can scan a tag as long as it is within frequency range. ...
  • RFID Capabilities. RFID systems can scan multiple items simultaneously. ...
  • Speed and Convenience. ...
  • RFID Costs. ...
  • Scanning Issues. ...
  • RFID Security and Privacy Concerns.

How accurate is RFID? ›

RFID increases inventory accuracy, from an average of 65 percent to more than 95 percent. And high inventory accuracy can lead to increased sales—but only if retailers use the data to improve their operations and processes. This is an important distinction, and it's key to the success of any RFID deployment.”

How do you check if your RFID is working? ›

To begin the process of testing one must first setup RFID.
  1. Go to 'Start' > 'Settings' > 'System' > 'Intermec Settings' > 'Main Menu' > 'RFID'
  2. 'RFID' > 'Enable RFID' should be ON.
  3. 'RFID' > 'Application connection', 'Allow External BRI Connections' is check by default and the field 'BRI TCP Port' is 2189.
13 Nov 2019

What are some concerns people have raised about RFID technology Why? ›

The biggest challenges identified are cost, followed by operational complexity, lack of technical expertise, knowledge in utilizing RFID data and other miscellaneous reasons. Ethical issues in tracing and tracking of individuals and equipment is a major concern while implementing RFID technology.

What is the future of RFID technology? ›

Analysts have been predicting an explosion of RFID adoption for the past decade; the market, however, has grown slowly and steadily. A Research and Markets report, though, forecasts global sourcing of RFID tags to have a compound annual growth rate of 11% through 2025. That's an $18.94 billion evaluation.

How is RFID used in real world applications? ›

Radio-frequency identification technology is a way for retailers to identify items using radio waves. It transmits data from a RFID tag to a reader, giving you accurate, real-time tracking data of your inventory.

What technology will replace RFID? ›

Next-generation asset tracking solutions based on Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) and Ultra-wideband (UWB) will rapidly replace expensive legacy systems such as passive Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) while providing increased location granularity.

How does RFID improve efficiency? ›

Inventory Management

Strategically placing RFID readers around your warehouse allows you to keep track of progress. This can improve manufacturing efficiency while providing real-time visibility into inventory levels so you can easily monitor inventory levels and prevent against shrinkage.

How far away does RFID work? ›

Far-range UHF RFID tags can read at ranges as far as 12 meters with a passive RFID tag, whereas active tags can achieve ranges of 100 meters or more. The operating frequency of UHF RFID tags ranges from 300 MHz to 3 GHz, and UHF tags are the most vulnerable to interference.

Do magnets affect RFID tags? ›

No. RFID chips send out a radio signal, which is not affected by permanent magnets. While RFID devices can be powered by a changing magnetic field (by electromagnetic induction), they can not be scrambled, erased or blocked with a strong permanent magnet.

What material is used for RFID blocking? ›

The most used metals for RFID blocking materials are copper, aluminum, and alloy nickel, among others. In particular, the one that is easiest to use is aluminum.

Do RFID cards expire? ›

The lifespan of an RFID tag depends on many factors. If the antenna and chip are exposed to harsh chemicals or high levels of heat, it might not last for very long. But under normal conditions, most tags can function for 20 years or more.

Do cell phones interfere with RFID? ›

Will radio signals from mobile phones interfere with my chip capture rate? You should not have any problem. There are four primary bands used by cell phone carriers—850 MHz, 900 MHz, 1,800 MHz and 1,900 MHz.

Does humidity affect RFID? ›

frequency shift would be observed with increase in humidity.

Do RFID cards have batteries? ›

Active RFID tags possess their own power source – an internal battery that enables them to have extremely long read ranges as well as large memory banks. Typically, active RFID tags are powered by a battery that will last between 3 - 5 years, but when the battery fails, the active tag will need to be replaced.

What are disadvantages of RFID? ›

Cost is one of the main obstacles to RFID technology for many businesses. A typical barcode label costs a few cents each, while an RFID tag can run from one dollar upwards of 30 dollars. depending on the type of tag you need. RFID readers are also about ten times more expensive than barcode scanners.

Which of the following is a disadvantage of RFID? ›

RFID tags can suffer from orientation issues as sometimes these tags do not connect with the readers when both are misaligned concerning each other. The non-adoption of line of sight technology of the bar code leads to a major security disadvantage in parallel to its ease of use.

What are the challenges limitations for implementing RFID in libraries? ›

  • High cost : The major problems of implementing RFID technology in a library is the cost. ...
  • Exit gates: Exit gate must read tags at up to twice the distance of the other RFID readers. ...
  • Removal of tags: ...
  • RFID standards:
19 Nov 2019

How long do active RFID tags last? ›

Active: Active RFID tags usually last between three to five years, depending on the battery. Some tags may allow for battery replacement, while other tags may not. These tags also last much longer than other RTLS technologies such as ultra wide-band tags and WiFi tags).

Do RFID chips need power? ›

Unlike a passive tag, which has no internal power source, an active RFID tag will feature a long-lasting battery. This allows it to continuously send signals and transmit data stored on a tag.

What frequency does active RFID use? ›

The 433 MHz frequency is used for active tags, while the 860–960 MHz range is used mostly for passive tags and some semi-passive tags. The frequency range of 860–960 MHz is often referred to by a single frequency of 900 or 915 MHz. Tags and interrogators in this range are called UHF tags and UHF interrogators.

How long does RFID take to activate? ›

Add in your personal & vehicle details. Scan the RFID Tag or key in your tag number. Activation will be within 24 hours.

How do you test an RFID card? ›

The simple way is to bring it across an RFID scanner/reader while placing the credit card inside it. If you see any signals transmitting, you can tell that the wallet is not RFID protected.

Can you wash RFID tags? ›

Washing process is not good for the RFID Source Tagging and it will damage the electronics inside the RFID chips to some extent.

Does RFID affect health? ›

Electromagnetic fields generated by RFID devices—touted as a patient-safety technique to keep track of supplies, medical tests and samples, and people—could cause medical equipment to malfunction, according to a recent study of medical devices in Amsterdam published in the June 25 Journal of the American Medical ...

How does RFID technology impact the management of scarce resources? ›

RFID has the potential to save organizations time and money by providing real-time traceability, identification, communication, temperature, and location data for people and resources.

Does the use of RFID tags invade people's privacy? ›

Essentially, RFID tags, like barcodes, are smart labels that can store a range of information from serial numbers to a short description, and even pages of data. This means that is does leave trace and, when attached to the identification of a certain person and thus it can be considered personal data.

Is RFID here to stay? ›

It is here to stay, and it's growing. The majority of retailers (80%) said the benefits of RFID cannot be replicated by another technology. Retailers that have fully adopted RFID are reporting more than 10% ROI compared to 9.2% two years ago.

Is RFID new technology? ›

RFID technology is an essential tool for logistical applications and is being used to optimise supply chains and production processes across different industries. While this technology isn't brand new, many new ways that are being explored to optimise it for new purposes.

Is NFC and RFID the same thing? ›

What is the difference between NFC vs RFID? In short: RFID stands for Radio Frequency Identification, a contactless one-way communication method at varying distances. NFC, Near Field Communication, allows for two-way communication and requires action by the user.

Is Bluetooth a type of RFID? ›

Bluetooth classic and BLE devices communicate via RF waves on the 2.4 GHz frequency, and usually include a battery, which classifies them as active RFID technologies.

Can RFID be used for tracking? ›

Yes, RFID tags can be tracked. They can be tracked automatically using active RFID tags or manually using passive RFID tags. To be tracked RFID tags provide data related to where they have been and where they currently are.

How many RFID tags can be read at once? ›

Technically, all RFID readers can interrogate only one tag at a time. If two tags are sending signals to a reader simultaneously, there is no way for the device to distinguish one from another.

Does RFID work with 5G? ›

These technologies are the heart of the smart world, but RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) plays a significant role in IoT and 5G development. Alone and in combination, RFID is a determining factor to make IoT and 5G an ongoing trend.

What is the difference between a beacon and an RFID tag? ›

Beacons, Bluetooth tags or BLE tags are similar to active RFID tags. They have inbuilt batteries which provide them with long read-ranges. The most unique difference between BLE and RFID is that beacons work on Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology which is highly energy-efficient.

What are RFID printers? ›

RFID Printers are devices that simultaneously print and encode information on RFID inlays or labels. These devices are the only way to print on labels, and they also save time by automating the manual process of encoding each tag.

Which of these is an advantage of RFID? ›

RFID tags can be as small as a fingernail or as large as a brick. RFID tags offer significant benefits not provided by traditional barcode labels: No Need for Line of Sight – Unlike barcodes, RFID tags do not require line of sight scanning and can be read in bulk (e.g., by the pallet).

Why RFID is needed? ›

RFID stands for 'radio frequency identification'. Credit cards and passports use RFID technology to allow machines to scan them from a short distance. It's this system that facilitates contactless payment and that some worry could be vulnerable to criminal manipulation.

What are the challenges and issues in RFID system? ›

RFID challenges

RFID is prone to two main issues: Reader collision. Reader collision, when a signal from one RFID reader interferes with a second reader, can be prevented by using an anti-collision protocol to make RFID tags take turns transmitting to their appropriate reader. Tag collision.

How far can RFID be scanned? ›

Passive low-frequency (LF) and high-frequency (HF) tags can be read from a distance of up to 3 feet (0.9 meter), while passive ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID transponders can typically be read from 10 to 20 feet (3 to 6 meters) away.

What is the maximum range of RFID module? ›

An active RFID system can read tags from 1,500 feet away or more, as the tags broadcast a signal and the systems are designed for longer-range applications.

Why is my RFID not scanning? ›

And there are probably another 20 factors that can affect an RFID reader's performance but the most common reasons that keep our customer support agents employed are coupling factors, the material density of the tagged item, RFID antenna patterns, antenna cables, RFID tag density, reading speed, noise, and reading ...

How do you check if your RFID is working? ›

To begin the process of testing one must first setup RFID.
  1. Go to 'Start' > 'Settings' > 'System' > 'Intermec Settings' > 'Main Menu' > 'RFID'
  2. 'RFID' > 'Enable RFID' should be ON.
  3. 'RFID' > 'Application connection', 'Allow External BRI Connections' is check by default and the field 'BRI TCP Port' is 2189.
13 Nov 2019

Do RFID tags wear out? ›

Typically, active RFID tags are powered by a battery that will last between 3 - 5 years, but when the battery fails, the active tag will need to be replaced.

How do I reset my RFID reader? ›

Using a paper clip, push and hold the reset switch for three seconds. The LEDs on the IF2 flashes. Release the reset switch.

How accurate is RFID? ›

RFID increases inventory accuracy, from an average of 65 percent to more than 95 percent. And high inventory accuracy can lead to increased sales—but only if retailers use the data to improve their operations and processes. This is an important distinction, and it's key to the success of any RFID deployment.”

Can you wash RFID tags? ›

Washing process is not good for the RFID Source Tagging and it will damage the electronics inside the RFID chips to some extent.

Can RFID read through glass? ›

Digitalization is advancing; this also applies to industrial identification. RFID technology has already been adopted by many companies.

How long does RFID take to activate? ›

Add in your personal & vehicle details. Scan the RFID Tag or key in your tag number. Activation will be within 24 hours.

How do you test an RFID card? ›

The simple way is to bring it across an RFID scanner/reader while placing the credit card inside it. If you see any signals transmitting, you can tell that the wallet is not RFID protected.

How does the RFID work? ›

An RFID system consists of a tiny radio transponder, a radio receiver and transmitter. When triggered by an electromagnetic interrogation pulse from a nearby RFID reader device, the tag transmits digital data, usually an identifying inventory number, back to the reader. This number can be used to track inventory goods.

How does RFID work without battery? ›

RFID tags typically do not have a battery (unless specified as Active or BAP tags); instead, they receive energy from the radio waves generated by the reader. When the tag receives the transmission from the reader/antenna, the energy runs through the internal antenna to the tag's chip.

Does RFID need battery? ›

Active RFID tags have a transmitter and their own power source (typically a battery). The power source is used to run the microchip's circuitry and to broadcast a signal to a reader (the way a cell phone transmits signals to a base station). Passive tags have no battery.

How long does an RFID last? ›

The lifespan of an RFID tag depends on many factors. If the antenna and chip are exposed to harsh chemicals or high levels of heat, it might not last for very long. But under normal conditions, most tags can function for 20 years or more.

How do you reprogram an RFID tag? ›

RFID Basics | How to Read & Write RFID Tags - YouTube

How do I reset my RFID password? ›

If you've forgotten your password, click on Log In under the RFID Journal logo. Then click on Forgot Your Password and follow the instructions. If you still have a problem, email info@rfidjournal.com.

How do I reset my access control device? ›

Step by Step Instruction
  1. Launch ACS Configtool.
  2. Click on Search Settings, and then enter the password of access controller. Click Ok.
  3. Go to System Settings.
  4. Select the device by putting the checkmark on the device IP address.
  5. Click on Restore menu tab.
  6. Click on Default.
29 Dec 2020

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