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Home News Blog Embedded Selection
Embedded Selection
Thursday, 18 February 2016 09:50

Points to Consider When Selecting an Embedded RFID Reader

Choosing an RFID reader that will be used inside another device such as a kiosk, smart shelf, packaging line, etc. can be tricky. The physical and mechanical characteristics of the host device influence RFID read/write performance, and the ability to place and orient the reader and external antennas may be limited. Some of the specifications that are typically key to reader selection are not especially useful for embedded environments. Here are some points to consider when considering an embedded RFID reader. 

There is More to Successful Reading than Range – In a distribution yard, parking lot or warehouse, long read range is usually very desirable. In embedded applications the distance between the reader and the tagged object is usually consistent (such as conveyor-mounted readers that support material handling operations, or smart cabinets and tool cribs where tagged objects pass through a defined opening). The challenging part is often getting a consistent, accurate read in an environment where there may be a lot of electromechanical interference. Therefore the range of an embedded reader is less important than the shape of its read field and how easily it can be fine tuned. The reader-antenna combination is essential, so readers that offer the ability to use different antennas are valuable. AWID is one of the few companies that designs and manufacturers our own readers and antennas, because it gives us more flexibility to give each customer exactly what is needed. 

Look Beyond Basic Standards – Standards are essential, but they are not enough to ensure proper performance. For example, most UHF systems use tags and readers that comply with the ISO 18006-C/GS1 EPCglobal Gen 2 standard. Embedded readers may need to also comply with Dense Reader Mode, which is an optional component of the Gen 2 standard. Dense Reader Mode products use RF communication protocols that help maintain accurate performance and avoid interference in usage environments where multiple RFID readers are present – such as in a store or warehouse that has smart shelves.

Sometimes Intelligence is a Smart Idea – For high-volume or high-speed applications (for example packaging verification) it is often desirable to have some tag data or other data processing capability built directly into the reader. Having an intelligent reader can eliminate dependency on another processor or a network connection to complete transactions. AWID’s MPR-8018QN Smart Network Reader/Encoder is an example of areader with onboard intelligence. 

Not sure what you need? Our engineers would be happy to talk you through it. Contact us if you’d like some guidance.

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