RFID Formats and Frequencies

RFID Formats and Frequencies

As stated in the previous blog post (RFID for Beginners), RFID systems generally operate at three different frequencies. These are low frequency (LF), high frequency (HF) and ultra high frequency (UHF). There are advantages and disadvantages to all of these frequencies.

Low Frequency (LF)

Low frequency RFID systems typically operate at a frequency of 125 kHz. The typical read range of a low frequency RFID tag is typically less than 0.5 metres or 1.5 feet. Lower frequency RFID tags are less sensitive to interference so they generally perform better in harsh environments, on metal surfaces and in the presence of liquids.

Low frequency RFID uses include tracking animals, point of sale applications and product authentication.

High Frequency (HF)

High frequency systems typically operate at a frequency of 13.56 MHz. They have a higher read speed and higher read range than low frequency RFID systems. The read range for high frequency RFID is typically 1 metre or 3 feet.
High frequency RFID tags do tend to be more sensitive to liquids and metal surfaces.

High Frequency RFID uses include smart cards, product authentication and airline baggage.

Ultra High Frequency (UHF)

Ultra high frequency RFID systems typically operate at a frequency of 860MHz. They have a higher read speed and a higher read range than high frequency RFID systems. The read range for ultra high frequency RFID is typically 3 metres or 9.5 feet.

Ultra High Frequency RFID systems do tend to be very sensitive to liquids and metal surfaces which will greatly reduce the read range.

Ultra high frequency RFID systems are most commonly used in the supply chain due to its greater read range when compared with low frequency and high frequency RFID systems. Aside from this, ultra high frequency RFID systems can be used in manufacturing.

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