SECTION VI: Understanding Radio Frequency IDentification (RFID)


For an RFID project to be successful, it is necessary to approach the business problem and potential RFID solution using a systems approach. In your design process, you will need to look at all the processes, be forward thinking and think creatively on how you can improve on each operation.

RFID systems should be conceived, designed, and implemented using a systematic development process in which end-users and specialists work together to design RFID systems based on the analysis of your business requirements of the organization

Implementing an RFID based system is like implementing any system. You will need to determine where RFID can be used and prioritize your strategy based on where you will achieve the fastest and highest level of benefit. You will need to think big but you should start small with pilot projects.

In addition, you will need, like any system implementation, to allow and plan for potential failures and problems. To successfully implement an RFID system, the following is a checklist that will help you in your design and the potential for problems or failures.


  • What are the Business Requirements?
  • Why are you implementing RFID?
  • Are you being mandated or are you looking at improving your internal operation?
  • Is there a requirement or preference for standards?


  • Do you require disposable tags or can you use reusable tags?
  • Type of tag required (Read only, R/W, WORM)?
  • Maximum amount of data to be stored in the tag (data capacity)?
  • What is the data format?


  • What is the required read zone (width, height, and depth)?
  • How may tags will the reader read or write to at one time?
  • What are the possible location(s) for the tag?
  • Orientation of the tag?
  • Distance between tags?
  • At what speed and direction will the tags be travelling?
  • What error control and correction will be required?
  • Do you require any data security?
  • What will the required distance be between different reader antennas?
  • What is the distance between antenna location and the reader?
  • Is portability a requirement?
  • Data interface and protocol – reader/interrogator (batch, on line, wireless, Ethernet, etc.)?
  • Reader Power Supply – DC, AC, POE?


  • Environment: Metal, Tags and reader antenna proximity to metal?
  • Temperature, humidity, and exposure to chemicals, UV and X-rays, mechanical stress?


  • How and where will the tags be applied?
  • What do you do when a tag is read?
  • What do you do if a tag is not read?

It should be noted that the larger the coverage area in the environment, the greater the implementation challenges. Therefore, the longer the reading distance between the tag and the reader, the greater noise and interference are to contend with.

There seems to be a lot of attention given to the cost of tags. The benefits that can be derived from implementing RFID can far outweigh the cost of the tags. There is an investment in time and money required however to be successful and get the best return on investment, you need to understand the technology and how it can benefit your organization.

By understanding the technology, you will be able to reduce your overall cost of implementation. In addition, you will not only be able to meet the demands that may be imposed upon your company but also achieve the increased revenue associated with implementing this technology.

As part of our marketing and educational processes, RFID Canada regularly hosts educational seminars and works with the public education sector (post-secondary institutions) to create a level of knowledge for students that can be utilized as they enter the work force.

RFID Canada is a technology provider and works closely with systems integrators to provide a complete solution.

We hope that you can benefit from this document and should you have any comments or questions, please contact RFID Canada at +1 (905) 513-8919 ext.25 or email at




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