RFID technologies matter

RFID technologies are not all the same. They differ from each other according to capacity, updatability and the foremost important; security. RFID technologies mostly deployed in access control are generally divided into low frequency (125 kHz) and higher frequency (13,56 MHz) Smart Card technologies.
Low frequency applications are based on reading the RFID transponder’s unique serial number, UID. Smart Card technologies can store multiple amounts of data in transponders’ memory blocks and protect it with encryption. MIFARE® DESFire provides the most secure, practically unbreakable 128 bit encryptions.

Security

RFID technologies mostly applied in access control can be roughly divided into older UID technologies, based on reading a transponder’s unique serial number, and to more modern smart card technologies holding data in the transponders memory sectors, possibly secured by encryption. Encryption protects the card data from any hacking attempts and ensures it can be read only with a programmed reader for that transponder. A deployment’s security level can be enhanced by a personal pin code.

Capacity

Smart card RFID technologies also allow more storage space for data which means you can utilize the transponder more effectively and in more versatile applications. For example, it is possible to combine access and payment. Some RFID applications also require the reader to be able to write new data in the transponder.

Flexibility

The hallmark of a truly modern RFID system is its security, efficiency and flexibility. An ability to enhance it without constant component replacements or deactivation is crucial. If you’re an integrator, flexibility gives you unparalleled control over your RFID system today as well as freedom in expanding and developing it in the future. Flexible, updatable RFID readers also streamline your product management. Now a single RFID reader stored in your stock can accommodate (and be instantly reconfigured to) different technology deployments – responding to whatever your customers’ current needs are. Flexibility is important for the future since RFID access control systems have already evolved into complex modular entities supporting CCTV, Alarm, Time & Attendance, etc. Future versions will likely integrate with IT (and eventually even IoT) systems more, enabling unprecedented agility in over-internet administration. Ensuring your RFID system’s adaptability requires updateable devices. Why constantly replace RFID readers if you can simply and cost-effectively update them?

Open and closed technologies

Many RFID chip manufacturers build chips used in RFID transponders and RFID reader devices. Conversely, some other card and reader manufacturers develop proprietary chip technologies utilized only in their own products. This arrangement is referred to as a closed technology; the company is the source for both the RFID chip technology and the assembled RFID cards and RFID readers. Inevitably, this means the products of other manufacturers will be prohibited from interfacing with that technology. Therefore, when system architects integrate products from such suppliers, any future site enhancements or expansions will inevitably be limited to technology produced by the original manufacturer. Both the architect’s and customer’s freedom to choose supply sources by quality, functionality or price will have been lost.

New generation smart card technologies operating on 13,56 MHz frequency are often based on ISO1443 and ISO15693 standards. Devices based on these so called open technologies are compatible with each other. Open technology does not make you dependent on one single supplier, but ensures your freedom to choose a supplier in the future.

What is RFID

RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) is a relatively new technology; its first applications were developed in the 1980s. By means of a system with RFID equipment, people, assets or animals can be identified and tracked without direct contact or line of sight. This technology is very efficient in harsh environments such as are found in industrial applications. This makes RFID technology very suitable also for vehicle identification, because it is not restricted by weather conditions of any kind – it operates well in rain, snow, dirt and low temperatures. The components of an RFID based system are readers, transponders and controllers.

RFID transponder

Contains a unique serial number and or other (application) data.

RFID reader

Interrogates the data in the transponder, possibly writes new data in the transponder and sends data to the controller. Receives inputs from the controller and controls e.g. a door based on this information.

Controller

Contains database, receives data from the reader and controls the system.

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