What is RFID and How it Works, The Definitive Guide 2022


Radio Frequency Identification(RFID) technology generally stands for wireless radio frequency recognition, also named RF recognition. It is a kind of automated recognition technology, which conducts contactless two-way data communication with the aid of the wireless RF way as well as utilizes the wireless radio frequency to note down media (electronic tag or RF card) to read and write so as to identify targets and converse data. It is viewed as one of the most full-potential information technologies in the 21st C.

How to define RFID Technology?

How to define RFID Technology?

The wireless Radio Frequency recognition technology achieves fast information conversion and storage technology with the help of wireless radio waves. With the combination of wireless communication as well as the data access technology, it forms the connection to a database system to achieve contactless two way communication, therefore achieving the recognition for the data conversion in order to tandem up an extremely complex system.

In the recognition system, the reading, writing and transformation of the electrical tag are achieved with the aid of electromagnetic waves. In terms of the communication distance, the system can be categorized into the near field and the far field so the data conversion methods between the reading or writing devices as well as the electrical tags are also accordingly categorized into the load modulations and the back-scatter modulations.

How Does RFID Technology Work?

How Does RFID Technology Work?

Radio Frequency Recognition technology, also referred to as wireless RF recognition, is a communication technology that can determine a specific aim and read and write relevant data with the aid of a radio signal with no need to set up mechanical or optical contacts between the recognition system and the specific aim.

From the conceptual point of view, Radio Frequency Identification is similar to bar code scanning. As for the bar code technology, it refers to the attachment of the already encoded bar code to the target and the use of the special scanning reader to transfer the information from the strip magnetic to the scanning readers using the light signal. However, Radio Frequency recognition technology is utilizing a special Radio Frequency recognition reader and Radio Frequency Identification tags which can be attached to the targets, and then utilize the frequency signal to transfer the information from the RFID tags to the RFID reader.


Transponder: it is composed of the antenna, coupling components and a chip. Generally speaking, a tag will mainly be utilized as a transponder. Every tag has a special electronic code, which is attached to an item to identify the target.

Reader: it is comprised of the antenna, the coupling elements and a chip. The reader functions as a piece of equipment to read (sometimes also can write) the tag information. In addition, it can be designed for the handheld Radio Frequency recognition reader or a writing machine or the fixed reader & a writing machine.

Application system: It is the application layer software, which is primarily applied to further process the data that has been collected, and then send them for people to use.

How to define an RFID system?

The Radio Frequency Identification system is a kind of contactless automated recognition system. With the Radio Frequency wireless signal, the system is able to automatically identify the target object and acquire related data. The system is comprised of electronic tags, a reader, a writing machine and the computer Internet. The Radio Frequency Recognition system takes the use of electronic tags to identify the object, then the electronic tag realizes the data conversion through the radio wave as well as a reader and a writing machine. The reader may transfer the commands of reading and writing to the electronic tag, and then transfers the data which is returned by the electronic tag to the master machine. Finally, the data conversion from the master machine as well as the management system is responsible for the storage, management as well as control of the electronic tag data information

The applied case of Radio Frequency recognition technology

The applied case of Radio Frequency recognition technology

Mixed flow manufacturing of production line

Mixed-flow manufacturing is a production approach that is used to produce multiple products on the assembly lines in a certain period of time, in which multiple product varieties with the same process flow and production operation methods are scientifically organized in a production sequence on the assembly lines to implement rhythmic and proportional mixed continuous flow production, with the premise that the kind, output, working time and device load are completely balanced.

The control of tool life cycle

The aim of tool control is to achieve full life cycle information organization of tools and instantly learn about the utilization of tools and inventory status and position. Before the tools are purchased and stored, electronic tags are added to the tools as the only identifying information for tools. In the process of tool scheduling and use, with timely collection of tool information, we can clearly learn about the system if the tool has been in operation, and the specific corresponding machine tool and the cycle and the time length of use. By tracking the tool position status and the use status in time, an enterprise can learn about the use status of tools and replace them in time to ensure the safety of tool use.

Smart maintenance

A Dongguan company focusing on electrode tube manufacturing has improved CNC processing efficiency, reduced warehouse staff, reduced measured personnel, and increased EDM crop rate by over 20% by opening up the information flow and manufacturing flow from design to manufacturing of molds.

Material distribution crate management

Radio Frequency recognition technology is applied to logistics crate management, which can greatly enhance the operational efficiency of the logistics system and realize digital warehouse management (warehouse space management, fast real-time inventory) so as to achieve more scientific, timely and effective management to ensure high-quality data conversion in the supply chain, which will bring a significant increase in the efficiency of logistics, thus lowering the entire cost of the system.

Supply chain vehicle guidance and unloading management

Through Radio Frequency recognition and intelligent transportation technology as well as the integration of the demand for material supply in the factory, it realizes the reservation, queuing and recognition of the factory supplier’s vehicles, and the intelligent allocation of the factory unloading resources. This seems like the reservation system for bus tickets. Before going to the station (or factory), suppliers make reservations through the online booking system (purchase tickets), and after arriving at the factory (or station), they go with the guide of the signs to the reservation unloading location (wait and get on).

Radio Frequency recognition application in intelligent products

The smart board which is equipped with Radio Frequency Identification technology is able to realize the functions of information management and control, feedback of operation information records as well as diagnosis and analysis from the whole cycle of design, production, sales, inspection, diagnosis and maintenance, information statistics and information management. It brings a vital significance to enhance the intelligent image of products and realize the intelligence of the whole life cycle of products.

The solutions for Radio Frequency Identification technology

The solutions for Radio Frequency Identification technology

The solutions for Radio Frequency recognition-based cell phone anti-theft device design

Radio Frequency recognition technology has entered into a new development period in the 21st century. What’s more, it has attracted widespread attention around the globe, especially for the value of civilian use. Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is a contactless automatic recognition technology, which automatically identifies the targets through a radio frequency signal and obtains related data. The recognition will not be intervened manually and the system can be suitable for all kinds of harsh environments. RFID technology can recognize high-speed mobile items and multiple targets at the same time, with the features of quick and handy operation.

The detailed solutions for RFID electronic tag anti-counterfeiting system in taxi

At present, with the increasing number of urban cabs, the illegal operation of fake cabs can be commonly seen. Cab operation management gives rise to many new issues. It has been hard to deliver effective management by using the license plate to authenticate the cab. Therefore, Chengdu Lingtai Technology Company, with years of strong development capability in the RFID industry and enriched system development experience, established the cab electronic operating certificate system through the most advanced Radio Frequency Identification electronic tag technology on the basis of the handheld PDA system developed by the company, so that the twin cars, sets of cars and other black cabs have been discovered. At the same time, the system is able to achieve management of the cab vehicles, the driver qualification card information anti-counterfeiting as well as the vehicle operation and the violation information management, the driver violation information registration as well as the punishment, and the vehicle annual examination record. The operation of this system is to achieve good practice management effect and social benefits in order to achieve the functional management of department information, and efficiency and to protect the interests of the cab.

The solutions for using Radio Frequency recognition for the mall trolley to achieve tracing management

Using the radar reflection principle, the read-write machine sends out the microwave inquiry signal to the electronic tag through the antenna, and then the electronic tag is activated by the microwave energy of the read-write machine. After receiving the microwave signal, it answers and sends out the return signal with the tag data information. The basic traits of radio frequency recognition technology include using radio technology to realize the recognition of the stationary or mobile cart to recognize the identity of the cart to be recognized and extract the cart characteristic information (or the recognition information). The feature information of the cart to be identified and collected through the radio frequency recognition system is usually processed by the middle software first, and the fusion, sharing and long-distance transmission of the information are realized to serve the asset tracking application system directly.

Static control solutions for radio frequency tags (Radio Frequency recognition)

RF tags (Radio Frequency Identification) are a dynamic force in the printing industry and remain one of the most promising areas for a lot of entrepreneurs with long-term vision. In order to satisfy the requirements of different people, this article details the causes and hazards of static electricity generation on Radio Frequency recognition tags and the methods used by static electricity control experts and solution providers to protect Radio Frequency Identification chips.

Radio Frequency recognition card reader design solutions

Nowadays, when we do a payment in the supermarket, we can know the price quickly with only an identifier so we no longer use an abacus or calculator. The identifier speeds up the payment and offers good convenience to customers. RF recognition technology is one type of automated recognition technology. Every target object in the radio frequency reader corresponds to the unique electronic recognition code (UID), or “electronic tag”. The tag is attached to the objects to recognize the target objects, such as cartons, pallets or boxes, etc. The radio frequency reader(transponder) reads the recognition code from the electronic tag.

Using Radio Frequency recognition to achieve an efficient automated solution for the integrated management system of entertainment venues

The system takes use of modular design, which can be applied to different entertainment venues. Through the combination of the functional modules, it provides a complete set of efficient automation solutions for the management of existing large and medium-sized entertainment venues. The system runs based on the INTRANET network environment, and adopts the combination mode of B/S and C/S, and uses Radio Frequency recognition technology, which has the traits of security against forgery, real-time information and management integration. The adoption of the system can effectively boost the management efficiency of entertainment venues and realize the standardized and automated management of entertainment venues, thus promoting the application and growth of digital and information technology in modern entertainment venues.

How to define the Radio Frequency recognition tag?

Radio Frequency tag, the electronic tag, refers to a contactless automatic recognition technology to identify the target object to obtain data information through the radio frequency signal. It doesn’t require human intervention and it is widely utilized. For example, it has a huge potential for growth and widespread applications such as supermarkets, libraries, shopping malls, animal recognition, the logistics industry, asset management, etc.

Radio Frequency recognition technology possesses the benefits of waterproof, anti-magnetic, high-temperature resistance, long service life, large reading distance, encrypted data on the tag, large capacity for data capacity storage, and the free exchange of information storage, compared with the barcode.

How to define the RF recognition reader?

In recent years, with the advancement of micro-integrated circuit technology, Radio Frequency recognition technology readers have been advanced. Passive RFID labels do not need batteries. The energy needed to work is obtained from the magnetic field generated by the RF recognition reader but the reading distance is closer. In the past days, Radio Frequency recognition active tags are large with high power consumption and shorter service life. However, the use of the latest technology to manufacture active RF recognition tags has not only a long reading distance but also has the strengths of long service life and reliable performance.

How to define the tag antenna of RF Recognition?

The tag antenna of Radio Frequency recognition is the transponder antenna of Radio Frequency Identification electronic tag, which is a kind of communication induction antenna. It is generally combined with the chip to constitute a Radio Frequency Identification electronic tag transponder. Due to the different materials and manufacturing processes, the tag antenna of RFID can be divided into a metal etched antenna, printed antenna, copper-plated antenna and other kinds.

Different kinds of RFID technology

The solutions for Radio Frequency Identification technology

Radio frequency identification technology can be categorized into three types based on its label power supply approach, namely Passive Radio Frequency identification, active Radio Frequency recognition as well as semi-active RFID.

Passive RFID

Of the three types of Radio Frequency identification items, passive Radio Frequency recognition was developed in the earliest time and it has been more widely applied. In passive Radio Frequency identification, the electronic tags identify the microwave signals transferred by the reader through radio frequency and acquire energy to temporarily power itself through the electromagnetic induction coil so as to complete this information conversion. 

As there is no power supply system, the capacity of passive RFID items can reach the centimeter level or even smaller levels, and their own structures are simplified with low price, low failure rate, and longer battery life. However, as for the shortcomings, passive Radio Frequency identification’s effective recognition distance is generally shorter and generally utilized for close touching recognition. Passive Radio Frequency recognition primarily functions in a lower frequency band of 125KHz, 13.56MKHz, etc. Its common applications cover a bus card, second-generation ID cards, meal cards and so on.

Active RFID

Active RFID has emerged in a very short time but has already been applied in various fields, which especially plays an indispensable role in the highway electronic non-stop toll collection system. With the aid of the external power supply, Active RFID initiated sends signals to the RF recognition readers. It possesses a relatively large capacity. Thus, it also owns a long transmitted range and high transmitted speed. A classic active RF recognition tag is able to set up the connection to the reader from 100 meters away, and the reading rate is able to register 1,700 reads per second. Active RFID mainly works in 900MHz, 2.45GHz, 5.8GHz and other higher frequency bands, and owns the role that is capable of determining several labels at the same time. Active Radio Frequency identification’s long distance and high efficiency make it crucial in several RFID applied areas that are in need of high performance and large coverage.

Semi-active RFID

Passive Radio Frequency identification cannot provide power for itself but the recognition distance is too short for an effective manner. Active RFID distance is long enough but requires an external power supply because of its large volume. And semi-active RF recognition is the product of making up for this shortcoming. Semi-active Radio Frequency identification is also named low-frequency activation triggering technology. Under common conditions, semi-active RF recognition items are in a dormant status, and only power parts of the tags keep the data so the power consumption is low, and is able to be kept for a long period of time.

When the tag enters the RFID reader recognition range, the reader will first precisely activate the tag to make it enter the working state with a 125KHz low-frequency signal in a small range, and then transfer the information through the 2.4GHz microwave. That is to say, the low-frequency signal will be first utilized to achieve precise positioning, and then the high-frequency signal will be applied to realize fast transmission data. The common application scenario is that several low-frequency readers are put at different positions to activate semi-active RF recognition items in a wide range that can be covered by HF signals. This accomplishes both locating and information collection as well as transmission.

What is RFID mainly comprised of?    

  • – Tag: composed of coupling components and chips. Every tag has a special electronic code, attached to the object to recognize the target.   
  • – Reader: read (can write as well) tag information devices, can be designed for handheld or the fixed type.   
  • – Antenna: transmit radio frequency signal between the label and the reader.

The basic working principle of Radio Frequency identification technology is not complicated: the tag enters a magnetic field and receives a Radio Frequency signal from the decoder.

With the energy acquired from the induction current, the product information stored in the chip is sent out (passive Tags, passive tags or passive tags), or the tag actively sends the signal of a certain frequency (Active Tags, active tags or active tags). The decoder is able to read the information and decode it and then transfer it to the central information system to process related data.

The strengths and shortcomings of the RFID

The strengths and shortcomings of the RFID

The strengths of Radio RFID electronic tag

– Scanning recognition: electronic tag (RFID) possesses a more accurate recognition, and the recognition distance is more flexible. It can do penetrated reading without any barriers.

– Memory capacity of data: the maximum capacity of RFID has a number of MegaBytes. With the rapid growth of the memory carrier, data capacity also has the trend of continuous expansion.

– Pollution resistance and durability: RFID is highly resistant to a substance like water, oil and chemicals; RFID roll labels refer to data stored in the chip so that they can be prevented from defacement.

– Reusability: RFID tags can be added many times, modified, and deleted from the data stored in the Radio Frequency recognition roll tag to boost the information update.

– Miniaturization of volume and shape diversification: When reading the information, RFID will not be restricted in size and shape. Also, it doesn’t need to read the accuracy of the paper with the fixed size and printing quality. In addition, RFID tags can be more miniaturized and diverse kinds of development in order to be applied to different products.

– Security: RF recognition stores electrical messages and its data can be protected by a password so that the data is difficult to be forged and tampered.

The drawback of the RFID electronic tag

Although RFID technology has many benefits, there are also some shortcomings that don’t follow the laws of the market in the face of rapid changes in the market. The shortcomings of RFID technology are described below:

  • Immature technology: RFID technology has emerged in a relatively short period of time so its technology is not very mature. Due to the retro-reflective characteristics of Ultra High-Frequency RFID tags, it is more difficult to be applied to metals, liquids and other goods.
  • High cost: compared to ordinary bar code tags, RFID electronic tags are more expensive, which is dozens of much costs than ordinary bar code tags. If it is utilized in large quantities, the cost will be too high, and to a large extent, greatly decrease the market enthusiasm for the use of RFID technology.
  • Weak Security: RFID technology faces several security problems, which are mainly manifested in areas like the RFID electronic tag information is illegally read and malicious tampering.
  • Non-uniformed technical standards: RFID technology has not yet formed a unified standard, and a variety of standards on the market coexist, resulting in the incompatibility of different enterprise products RFID tags, which in turn, to a certain extent, causes chaos in the application of RFID technology.
  • Although RFID technology faces a lot of issues, the success of RFID is in line with the market development in the modern market development law so whether the future applications of RFID technology can be better developed is mainly based on the market demand.



Near Field Communication technology originated from RFID but there are some differences between the two, which mainly include the following.

  • Operating frequency: NFC operates at 13.56MHz while RFID can be operated at low frequency, high frequency (13.56MHz) and Ultra High Frequency.
  • Working distance: Theoretically speaking, the operating range of NFC ranges from 0 to 20cm. However, in terms of the implementation of the products, the working distance is only 0 to10cm due to the special power suppression technology, thus better ensuring the security of the business. As RFID has differed frequencies, its worked distance varies from several centimeters to tens of meters.
  • Working model: NFC supports both the read-write model and the card model. As for RFID, the reader and the contactless card are two separate entities that cannot be switched from each other.
  • Peer-to-peer communication: NFC supports P2P mode while RFID doesn’t s.
  • Application areas: RFID is more often applied in manufacturing, transportation, tracing and asset organization while NFC works in access control, bus card, cell phone payments and other areas.
  • Standard protocols: The basic communication protocol of Near Field Communication is compatible with the basic communication standard of HF Radio Frequency recognition, i.e., it is compatible with ISO14443 or ISO15693. Near Field Communication technology also gives definition to more complete upper layer protocols including LLCP, NDEF and RTD. To sum up, despite the differences between NFC and RFID technologies, NFC technology, especially the basic communication technology, is fully compatible with high-frequency RFID technology. Therefore, NFC technology can also be utilized in the area of high frequency RFID.

The development of the future market of RFID

According to RFID Forecasts, Players and Opportunities 2019-2029, an annual global survey conducted by IDTechEx for the RFID industry, the sales of passive RFID tags in 2019 registered 13% higher than that in 2018, which includes three major frequencies of passive RFID tags (UHF, HF, and LF). In these three major frequencies, UHF RFID continues to achieve the most substantial growth. The global UHF RFID tag sales in 2019 reached around 15 billion (the same period will sell more UHF IC), an increase of 20% over 2018. In 2020, due to the global new COVID epidemic, the preliminary estimates of UHF Radio Frequency recognition tag sales around the globe will be about 14 billion.