Impinj Readies A Next-Generation RFID Tag

Impinj is making a new RFID chip based on the long-awaited Generation 2 specification, which EPCglobal is expected to ratify by year's end.

Elena Malykhina, Technology Journalist

December 14, 2004

2 Min Read

Impinj Inc., a designer of radio-frequency identification chips and semiconductor intellectual property, is getting ready to introduce an RFID tag based on the newly completed Generation 2 specification, which EPCglobal Inc. is expected to approve shortly.

The RFID market won't take off until the industry solves the tough performance issues, including interference that can occur from multiple readers or noise created by other RF systems, says Impinj's CEO William Colleran. The major benefits of Gen2 tags over tags based on EPCglobal's Class 0 and Class 1 specifications include throughput that is three to 10 times faster, global compliance, improved security with better password protection, and dense-reader operation, which enables 50 or more readers per kilometer to operate without interference, according to Dr. Chris Diorio, co-founder of Impinj and co-chairman of the EPCglobal Hardware Action Group, which is responsible for creating the Gen2 specification. "Our goal with Gen2 is to produce a single, worldwide UHF standard and to deliver a low-cost, high-performance RFID system," Diorio says.

Impinj's next-generation tag, the Gen2 RainierRFID chip, will be available in the first quarter of 2005. For companies who haven't yet implemented RFID, Impinj recommends they start using its Class 0 ZumaRFID chip, which has read and write capabilities and a password-protected 24-bit "kill" switch so the tag can be destroyed, and then later transitioned to a new chip. Tinier than the ZumaRFID chip, the Gen2 RainierRFID chip is designed for noisy environments and 32-bit kill-and-access passwords, according to Diorio.

Impinj also is working with system developers and engineers to develop readers, software, and systems integration for the Gen2 spec.

Impinj, along with Applied Wireless Identification, Intermec, Philips Semiconductor, and Texas Instruments, participated in the final Gen2 demonstration tests on Dec. 2. The specification has moved to EPCglobal's business and technical committees for ratification, and will then be passed to its board of governors, which has the power to fully ratify the specification. EPCglobal expects this to happen by year's end.

About the Author(s)

Elena Malykhina

Technology Journalist

Elena Malykhina began her career at The Wall Street Journal, and her writing has appeared in various news media outlets, including Scientific American, Newsday, and the Associated Press. For several years, she was the online editor at Brandweek and later Adweek, where she followed the world of advertising. Having earned the nickname of "gadget girl," she is excited to be writing about technology again for InformationWeek, where she worked in the past as an associate editor covering the mobile and wireless space. She now writes about the federal government and NASA’s space missions on occasion.

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