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What Is an RFID Reader?

RFID Reader

What Is an RFID Reader?

An RFID Reader is a radio frequency identification (RFID) transmitter and receiver that communicates with RFID tags. This communication is done through a modulated signal that contains information like the tag’s protocol, managing organization, asset description, and serial number.

RFID readers can be handheld, vehicle-mounted or fixed. Handheld readers are battery-powered and work much like barcode scanners.


If you’re considering investing in RFID technology, it’s important to evaluate both the fixed and recurring costs associated with it. This includes purchasing the hardware and tags, as well as upgrading existing equipment. This can make a difference in the overall return on investment. In addition, you must consider the amount of time and money saved by using the technology.

The cost of an RFID reader depends on its type and application. For example, a handheld RFID reader can range from $1,250 to $20,000. Passive RFID readers are less expensive but may not provide the level of automation required for some applications. Active RFID readers are more expensive but offer a higher degree of automation and can be used in large areas. They detect tagged assets within their zone and automatically notify the database, removing the need for manual labor.

The RFID reader consists of an RF antenna, a control module, and a memory bank that stores the tag identifier. The control module generates a signal to wake up the tag, which is then able to send back a wireless signal RFID Reader with the encoded information stored in its memory bank. The RF antenna captures the signals, and the reader’s control module demodulates them to obtain data such as signal strength, phase, and time. The reader then transmits these signals to the database for storage.


While RFID technology can reduce the number of manual processes, it has several security concerns that require careful monitoring and maintenance. These include counterfeiting, sniffing, and tracking. RFID readers also need to be able to distinguish the difference between a valid tag and an imposter. This can be done by using encryption options like lock passwords, access control, and authentication.

RFID Readers are essentially two-part devices: a transceiver and an antenna. The transceiver transmits a low-frequency radio signal that can activate the RFID tag’s embedded sensor. The antenna converts the RF signals into usable data, which can be read in less than a millisecond.

A RFID reader can have one or more external antenna ports, depending on the application and the amount of coverage required. Using multiple antennas helps improve the range of the reader and increases the accuracy of its readings. This is important when locating items, for example in a warehouse or retail store.

In addition to reading the identifier of a tagged object, RFID systems can use information to make decisions about its location and direction. These systems are based on the time and angle of arrival of an RFID signal, but they can be affected by multipath interference and other factors. To prevent these problems, the RFID reader can apply a protocol to ensure that the signal is only sent to one or more of its connected antennas. This is known as frequency hopping.

Ease of installation

Whether you’re tracking inventory, transferring goods, or managing assets, an RFID reader makes it easier than ever to keep track of your equipment. These readers help you find items quickly and accurately, at a reduced cost. They also allow you to track tagged items over time. This allows you to identify trends and improve overall operational efficiency.

To use an RFID scanner, first install the software and hardware side of the system. This includes the RFID reader and a connected antenna. After establishing a connection between the reader and antenna, you can connect your device to the computer using a USB cable. Once you have the hardware set up, you can create event handlers that attach to the RFID reader (rfid_Attach), detach from the reader (rfid_Detach) and having a tag put near the reader (rfid_Tag).

When the RFID tag is activated, it sends out a wireless signal to the reader’s antenna. The RFID reader’s antenna picks up the signal reflected off of the tag, demodulating it and determining the unique ID for that tag. The reader then sends this information to the computer for processing.

FEIG offers a complete RFID and barcode scanning solution that can be used for self-checkout terminals or at staffed service counters. Its clear reading field eliminates errors when converting media in and out of storage, and it has excellent anti-collision capabilities, so multiple stacked media items can be processed at the same time.


The RFID system is essentially made up of two components: tags and readers. The reader’s job is to detect the tag RFID Reader and read its information. In some applications, the reader also has a display to show more detailed information. RFID readers are used in many different industries and can be handheld or fixed. The reader usually connects to a third party system that can process the data. In the security industry that could be an access control system or a car parking management system, for example.

The readers emit a radio signal which activates the RFID tags and intercepts their responses. The signal can be received over a range of several meters depending on the type of reader. The signal can also be transmitted over longer distances, using a technique called frequency hopping.

When the RFID reader is in close proximity to a tag, its antenna sends out an interrogating radio wave. This signal is reflected back to the reader’s antenna. The RFID reader then demodulates the reflected signal and collects data, such as signal strength, phase and time.

There are several factors to consider when choosing an RFID reader, including its read range and environmental conditions. In addition, you must determine whether your application requires deterministic or probabalistic detection. In deterministic detection, the RFID reader checks each digit of a coded signal bit by bit to ensure that no other reader is scanning the same tag.

What Is an RFID Reader?

RFID Reader

What Is an RFID Reader?

An RFID reader is a transmitter/receiver that scans RFID tags and interprets their data. Its range depends on the application; credit cards and ID badges must be held fairly close, while active tags have batteries that boost their signal for greater range.

To mitigate co-channel interference and fading, commodity readers employ channel frequency hopping. This creates a discontinuity in phase values every 0.2 seconds.

How RFID Readers Work

Like your own personal translator, RFID readers capture information from tags with radio waves. When an RFID tag is within range of a reader, the signal activates the chip and transmits a response, such as its EPC number or other data. The reader then uses the resulting information to understand the tag and communicate with it. The type of information a reader conveys depends on the type of RFID system being used.

RFID Readers can communicate with passive or active RFID tags. Passive RFID tags gather energy from incoming radio waves to operate, while active tags have their own internal power source for operation and sending the response to the reader. These two types of RFID tags use different communication methods and operate on a variety of frequencies based on the application they are being used for.

As a result, RFID tags are extremely flexible and can be integrated into almost any object or environment. This enables them to be scanned and tracked remotely, without the need for direct line of sight. Whether you’re tracking inventory at a warehouse, identifying items at a storefront or enabling customers to pay for your products using their prepaid toll account, RFID technology improves speed and accuracy of data collection. That translates into increased productivity and better service for your clients.

Handheld Readers

RFID readers also referred to as interrogators send radio frequencies to and from RFID tags. They can vary in functional frequency ranges, mobility characteristics, connectivity options and external device capabilities.

When a worker waves a handheld RFID reader within the range of multiple assets tagged with RFID, it will automatically detect and read each tag. The resulting data is uploaded to the system in real-time, eliminating manual entry errors and saving time.

A RFID reader can read RFID Reader an RFID tag even if it is not in direct line-of-sight (LOS). However, the reader must have enough power to activate the transponder and transmit a signal. Unlike barcode scanners, RFID tags can store more information and follow instructions/commands.

Advanced RFID systems can automatically track and relay items’ movements throughout the supply chain and into an ERP or financial management system. This helps reduce human error and eliminates the need to manually fill out forms or scan paper documents.

Another benefit of RFID is that it can speed up the in-store checkout process, enabling staff to focus on customer service. Using RFID can cut the amount of time customers spend at the register by up to 40%, giving them more time to browse the store and make additional purchases. It can also help prevent return fraud, which happens when a person returns stolen or worn merchandise for money.

Fixed Readers

As their name implies, fixed readers remain stationary while providing real-time monitoring of assets and inventory. Like handhelds, fixed readers communicate with tags via antennas but are designed to operate in a specific area without the need for line-of-sight.

These readers are typically used in environments that need to track high volumes of items, including manufacturing production lines and warehouses. As a result, they simplify high-volume inventory and material movement and provide visibility into your entire operations.

Unlike a traditional barcode scanner that requires line-of-sight, RFID readers and antennas transmit and receive data in the form of radio frequency signals. These signals activate the RFID tag to record and store information, which is then transmitted back to the reader via the antenna. The reader then processes the data for reporting and alerts, providing businesses with a centralized dashboard with visibility into their assets and inventory.

Fixed readers also have external antenna ports, allowing users to connect anywhere from one additional antenna to up to four different ones. This gives users flexibility on where they place the reader to best meet their needs. For example, if you’re tracking files in and out of a office, you may only need a small area of coverage, so one antenna will work well. Alternatively, for a check-in/check-out solution, you might need multiple antennas to cover a conveyor belt or finish line.

Vehicle-Mounted Readers

A vehicle-mounted reader mounts on the backrest of a forklift or other freight handling equipment to automatically log cargo locations as it moves around a warehouse or distribution center. For example, a fleet of mobile readers mounted on forklifts can “sweep” a laydown yard and provide location updates to thousands of RFID Reader materials all at once. This frees up project staff to work on other tasks and saves labor costs.

The vehicle-mounted readers need a direct line of sight with the RFID tags to read them. In addition to windshield or hang tag applications, these readers are used with license plate tags to monitor vehicle inventory, border crossing identification, and more. The read range depends on the type of RFID tag and the conditions under which it’s being used. A simple set-up with equipment overhead and several antennas angled toward the vehicle can usually net about 20 feet of range.

Choosing an RFID reader that can identify all types of RFID tags is key to getting the right data for your application. Some readers have a built-in software program that can interpret multiple frequency bands and identify all common types of RFID tags, while others use a method called deterministic detection to determine the signal of a particular tag bit by bit. This approach is faster than probabalistic detection but can be affected by environmental factors such as RF interference and the number of nearby tags.