Saturday, December 27, 2008

What Every RF Engineer Should Know: RFID

What Every RF Engineer Should Know: RFID

December 27th, 2008

RFID is hot on the RF DesignLine, so I had a virtual "sit down" with some leaders in the industry to see where the technology is, and where they think it is going. The following article includes some of the thoughts and remarks of Todd Humes, Senior Director, Engineering Embedded NVM Group, Virage Logic Corporation; Darren McCarthy, Technical Marketing Manager, RF Test, Tektronix, Inc; Jeff Miller, Product Manager Tanner EDA; David Hall, Product Manager, National Instruments RF & Communications; and Dirk Morgenroth, Marketing Director, RFID, NXP Semiconductors.

After the interview, I’ve included some links to some of the most popular RFID articles on the site.

RFDL: What is the status of the technology?
Humes: RFID technology continues to become more prevalent as standards-based designs reduce die cost and drive broader market adoption. ISO standards 14443, 15693, and 18000 have created opportunities for companies to enter the RFID space without forcing proprietary solutions onto their customers.

McCarthy: RFID technologies are becoming ubiquitous. The cost and benefits of various RFID technologies have enabled the adoption in homes, cars, documents, animals, and phones. Tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) have been mandated on all cars for safety concerns about the operating pressure of our tires. Passports issued worldwide in recent years have all migrated to the ISO 14443 "proximity" RFID standard to simplify and coordinate worldwide immigrations. There is no single RFID technology that can fulfill all applications. Near Field Communications (NFC) on mobile phones and UHF RFID technologies for tracking cargo shipping containers need to operate over different distances and temperature ranges, and the amount of data and security are defined by the end-use application of an RFID technology.

Miller:RFID tags are used in a wide variety of applications around the world, and their use is expected to explode as the unit costs decrease and new markets open up.

Hall: RFID adoption is still sometimes limited by tag manufacturing costs and the need for better understanding of UHF signal propagation. However, it seems that greater awareness of the technology’s benefits is needed in order to drive widespread adoption. I am continually amazed at the new applications people are able to solve with RFID. And, further improvements in RF performance will naturally occur as a result of increased awareness.

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