NFC - What is Radio Frequency Identification?

What is RFID?

Near Field Communication is said to be something of an evolution of Radio Frequency Identification, but to fully understand what that means, it would probably help to know what that is. Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is a term commonly used to describe an identity transmission system that wirelessly transmits the identity of an object or individual using radio waves. These unique ways of identifying objects or people come in the form of unique serial numbers. RFID is considered one of many different types of automatic identification technologies.

RFID, unlike Near Field Communication, is already in use on an everyday basis. For instance, when passing through a tollbooth, if you use EZPass (and if you don’t I highly recommend it), you use RFID. Same thing applies if you had your pet microchipped or paid for gas using SpeedPass.

What is a Radio Frequency Identification System Made Of?

Basically, a RFID system is made up of three different parts: an antenna, a transceiver and a transponder. All these components work together in order to allow certain streams of data to be transmitted from a portable device, such the EZPass box you may have in your car, to the transceiver. This transceiver then sends the information it receives and decodes from the portable device, to a computer program which collects the information and uses it in the way it is programed. To continue the EZPass example, the computer program would then bill subtract the total of the toll from your account. Because, during this process, the transceiver also determines through the unique serial number the identification of the driver, this information can also be used.

How Else is Radio Frequency Identification Used?

RFID is used in a variety of ways every day, and often without us noticing. For example, if a company needs to track containers of its goods around the world, rather than simply relying on the records of the shipping company or courier service, they might use a certain type of RFID which allows them to track the movements of their products in real time. 

Also, RFID systems are used for security purposes on a regular basis. Whereas in years past an authorized person looking to enter their locked place of employment would have to look for a key, RFID badges make it possible for that person to simply walk up to the door and open it when the next person could not. This is because the authorized person, having been given an RFID badge which he or she keeps in his or her pocket or purse has unlocked the door simply by standing near it while the unauthorized person has no such badge. This is not only a matter of convenience, but safety and money. People who have been issued a RFID badge will usually affix it to some part of their daily attire, like the zipper of a coat or the lining of a purse. This makes the possibility of losing that badge much less than having to use the badge every day. Also, because the badge is not in use every day, there is less call to have it fixed or replaced.

Further Information on Radio Frequency Identification

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