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What is RFID and how does it work?

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Many entry and exit systems already use the RFID system to make access to the company as easy and secure as possible. However, RFID is not only use on doors or to record working hours, but is finding more and more applications in everyday life and it seems that the future will no longer be imaginable without it. In this post, you will learn what such a system entails, how it works and how you can take advantage of this technology.

We encounter the topic of RFID ( Radio-Frequency Identification) almost every day. Every morning when you open the door to your job with your chip, every afternoon when you visit the gym, and even in 2006 RFID chips were in the World Cup tickets to rule out counterfeiting.

But what is RFID actually and how does it work?

RFID describes the contactless exchange of data between an RFID transponder and an RFID-capable reader. A passive RFID transponder cannot function without an energy source. It cannot generate energy by itself and must always obtain it from an external device. This is where a reader comes in. This builds up an electromagnetic field, which then supplies the RFID transponder with energy. Data exchange is only possible when the transponder enters this energy field. An active RFID transponder, on the other hand, is equip with an internal energy source, e.g. a battery, and can control ranges of up to 100 meters.

RFID check card from PSC

What is a “transponder”?

Every RFID transponder consists of two essential things. On the one hand, there is the microchip with an integrate chip and, on the other hand, the antenna, through which communication is establish. With an active RFID transponder, a battery is of course also integrate. The choice of housing is very versatile. RFID transponders are available in a wide variety of designs, colors, and variants.

RFID chips are often offer in credit card format because they are handy and easy to fit in your wallet.

Another form is that of the transponder chip. This has the advantage that it is very robust and is therefore often use in industry. In most cases, the chip in the form of a pendant allows you to carry it on a keychain.

RFID transponder application

Depending on the area of ​​application, an RFID transponder must be able to store a certain amount of data. The most common variants are between 4 bytes and 8 bytes. On a 4-byte transponder, for example, can be only one unique number ( Unique ID = UID ) is store. This can then use as an ID number within a company for an employee, for example, to grant access, record times, or authenticate themselves for the production of operating data. But there are also RFID transponders that have larger memory, for example, 8 kByte. You could then save up to 90 lines with 180 characters each.

The different RFID reading methods

There are many reading methods that can  use by transponders. A very well-known one is, for example, “Mifare Desfire”. This functions with a frequency of 13.56 MHz and is possible with memory sizes of 2, 4, 8 kByte, and 72 kByte. Desfire has a read and writes the password that only allows IDs with this special password to use on, for example, a time and attendance terminal. Mifare Desfire is one of the safest and most up-to-date reading methods in the world.

Legic Advant

Another often use reading method is Legic Advant. This also uses the 13.56 MHz frequency and, like Mifare Desfire, also sends the serial number. Legic Advant is available from 128 to 4096 bytes. The special feature of the reading process is the freely programmable, variable segment lengths with individually programmable read and write protection.

The RFID technology is unique worldwide and a unique serial number can be generate for every little thing. In the course of time, more and more devices are likely to contain chips with the aim of making people’s lives easier and more comfortable.

Do you already use RFID technology in your company or are you on the lookout for a suitable provider? We will be happy to advise you further and together we will find an individual solution for your company.

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