Which RFID Technology Do I Need?

Quick Reference Guide
with respect to using the “right” technology for the “right” application.


Regardless of how harsh the environment, if the Barcode Tag does not come off of the Asset that it is tagged to, and the Barcode is still “readable” via a Laser/CCD Scanner, then a Barcode solution might be right for you. Depending on application (indoor, outdoor, harsh, et al), the size of the barcode, the symbology of the barcode (UPC, 3 of 9, Interleaved 2 of 5, etc.) the type of substrate (paper, synthetic, reflective, et al), and the type of Scanner (Laser, CCD, short range, long range) “read range” will vary anywhere between half an inch from Tag/Label to over 40 feet.

Samples of Barcodes, Scanners, PDA’s

Metal Asset Tag
2D Metal Tag
Polyester Bin
Location Tag
Teflon Paint on Tag

Non Visible–Short Range
Passive RFID

If the Asset Tag is going to be dirty, or it’s not visible, or cannot withstand a particular harsh environment, then “passive RFID” might be the right solution. However, RFID is a science, and as such applying the right RFID technology to the “problem” is complex. The RFID spectrum starts at 40 KHz and goes above 2 GHz, and within that spectrum are technologies that lend themselves better to certain applications. You can’t as an example simply apply any passive tag to any surface and expect it to work. At SPT we take all the guess work out of the equation as all of our solutions have been thoroughly tested and “matched” for optimum performance for our specific applications. Typical read range will vary from as close to a ¼ inch from Tag, to over 20 feet. Lastly, with certain Passive RFID technologies also have the benefit of “reading and writing” thus altering the data on the Tag, and also storing over 2K bytes of information.

Samples of Passive

High and Low
Frequency Tags
UHF Garment Tags
UHF Pipe Tags
Various Mount on
Metal UHF Tags

Non Visible–Long and Ultra Long Range
Active RFID, or otherwise known as Power Assisted RFID

If the RFID Tag needs to be read at a long distance (typically ranging from 20 feet and above), then Active/Power Assisted RFID will work for those environments. Additionally and as with some Passive RFID technologies, we have the ability to “read and write” to the Active Tags, we also have ability to perform various functions such as “temperature sensing”, we can detect if a Tag has been Tampered within a real time setting, we can detect a push of a button for a “panic alert”, and with certain technologies, you can detect where the item is within inches of its’ exact location by gathering X, Y and Z vector information.

Samples of Active Tags and Readers

Long Range Reader
Mount on Metal
Long Range Tag
CF Slot Long Reader
Long Range Tags
with Data Storage
Long Range Tags with
Temperature & Sense