Are Gen2 RFID Read Ranges Getting A Lot Longer?

Written by Evan Schuman
August 14th, 2008

At least one RFID vendor is arguing that they are. That vendor, SimplyRFID, is arguing that read distance targets that used to be 10 feet are today as far as 40 feet.

“In the last year or two, RFID performance has definitely gotten a lot better. It used to be 10 feet [read range] was the goal, and you’d be happy to get 12,” Simply RFiD president Carl Brown was quoted saying in an RFIDUpdate story. “Now we’re seeing 20 feet without any issues at all. You can even have the tag in strange orientations and you’re still going to get the read. This technology is moving fast. Antenna, readers, cables, tags are all changing every six months.” The story details how they arrived at their figures. Not so sure it’s all realistic, but the details make for some interesting reading.


4 Comments | Read Are Gen2 RFID Read Ranges Getting A Lot Longer?

  1. Chris Kapsambelis Says:

    Given that in most applications reader read ranges are purposely decreased, and extra measures are taken to avoid unintended reads, why is a longer range considered an advantage?

  2. Julian Says:

    Interesting article, but why is the article photo of a RF-EAS tag? It’s not even remotely an RFID tag.

  3. Evan Schuman Says:

    Editor’s Note: The only reason is that we have a fairly limited image library and that was the closest the poster could find.

  4. Carl Brown Says:

    Evan –

    RFID has changed dramatically over the last three years. The issue was the initial hype numbed everyone. The biggest changes occurred when Gen2 arrived. The standardization + the volume Wal-Mart began purchasing really made a difference to R&D spending and improved the technology quickly.
    Chris –
    Regarding ‘why is longer range considered an advantage’ — simply, smaller-faster-cheaper.

    If we can read a 4″x1″ tag from 60 feet — we can read a 0.1″x0.1″ from 1 foot. The better our antenna technology, the more convenient we can make all aspects of RFID.

    In some applications, short range is preferred. We can always make the range shorter by decreasing power. But, when we want to ‘ping’ a pallet of 500 items at 60 miles an hour — that’s when range is handy because it implies speed/signal strength/redundancy/reliability.

    The biggest problem we face now is securing the signal. Short or long range, we need a better way to make sure people can’t access our tag data.


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