Bringing Real-Time Tracking To Logistics - InformationWeek
07:46 PM

Bringing Real-Time Tracking To Logistics

Radio-frequency ID tags offer new efficiency in supply-chain management.

Just what is RFID? And how does it work? The basic components of a radio-frequency identification system are an antenna, a transceiver, and a transponder, commonly called an RF tag. The tag is electronically programmed with information unique to the item to which it's attached.

The antenna, which is available in a variety of shapes and sizes, picks up a signal emitted by the tag and transmits it to a transceiver that's equipped with a decoder. The antenna can be always on, or it can be activated by a sensor.

The antenna often is packaged with the transceiver to become a reader that can be configured either as a handheld device or a fixed-mount device, such as those on toll booths that automatically debit motorists' accounts. The reader, which can receive radio waves from one inch to 100 feet or more, depending on power output and radio frequency, decodes the data encoded in the tag's integrated circuit, or silicon chip, and sends it to a computer for processing.

RFID tags can be read-only or can contain data that can be rewritten or modified. The former is called a passive tag, and the latter active. Passive tags usually contain 32 to 128 bits of data and often operate in a way similar to a common bar code. These tags are less expensive and lighter than the active variety and have an unlimited operational life.

Active tags, which can have as much as 1 Mbyte of memory, require internal batteries, which have a maximum life of about 10 years. In addition to having fewer capabilities, passive tags have a shorter read range and require higher-powered readers.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
To learn more about what organizations are doing to tackle attacks and threats we surveyed a group of 300 IT and infosec professionals to find out what their biggest IT security challenges are and what they're doing to defend against today's threats. Download the report to see what they're saying.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
Digital Transformation Myths & Truths
Transformation is on every IT organization's to-do list, but effectively transforming IT means a major shift in technology as well as business models and culture. In this IT Trend Report, we examine some of the misconceptions of digital transformation and look at steps you can take to succeed technically and culturally.
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Flash Poll