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Intel Introduces Its First RFID Chip

The move by the world's largest chipmaker lends credibility to the fledgling technology.

Mary Hayes Weier

March 5, 2007

2 Min Read

Intel on Monday introduced its first chip designed specifically for radio frequency identification technology, indicating the world's largest chipmaker is serious about RFID. Intel's entrance as an RFID chipmaker also lends credibility to the fledgling technology.

The Intel R1000 is a chip for ultra-high-frequency RFID readers, and manufacturers of those readers are expected to start making them available as early as next month.

Intel says it has integrated most of the components found in an RFID reader radio -- including those that handle reception, transmission, baseband, modulation, and demodulation -- into an 8-millimeter by 8-millimeter chip. The result, says Intel, will be lower costs for RFID readers, which can cost $1,500 or more.

"Today, readers are too expensive, too complex, and have too much variability from manufacturer to manufacturer," says Kerry Krause, marketing manager of Intel's RFID operation. With the new Intel R1000 chip, "I wouldn't be surprised if, by end of the year, we see reader prices cut in half," he adds.

Intel claims it has no competitors for the chip, since it's the first of its type on the market to integrate various radio functions on one platform. RFID company WJ Communications is developing an integrated chip for readers, and Intel expects others will follow suit.

In addition to paying less money for readers, businesses will benefit from greater management capabilities, Krause says. Intel has worked with software companies such as Microsoft to develop software it will offer for device management and a software design kit that's compatible with many leading enterprise applications, including SAP. Businesses typically use UHF RFID readers in supply chain management, asset tracking, and access control.

Krause says Intel created an incubator to work on RFID reader chip technology three years ago. This is the company's first chip designed specifically for RFID. Several of its chip platforms, however, are being used in RFID devices and implementations.

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