Radio Frequency Identification (RFID): Definitions

(some of the of terms used in RFID technology)

error correcting code
A code stored on an RFID tag to enable the reader to figure out the value of missing or garbled bits of data.

It's needed because a reader might misinterpret some data from the tag and think a wrist watch is actually a pair of socks.

error correcting mode
A mode of data transmission between the tag and reader in which errors or missing data is automatically corrected.
error correcting protocol
A set of rules used by readers to interpret data correctly from the tag.
error correction code
A code on an RFID tag that enables a reader to determine the value of missing or garbled bits of data.
error rate
The number of errors per number of transactions.
European Article Numbering, EAN
The bar code standard used throughout Europe, Asia and South America. It is administered by EAN International.
European Telecommunications Standards Institute, ETSI
The European Union body that recommends standards for adoption by member countries.
The reader is said to "excite" a passive tag when the reader transmits RF energy to wake up the tag and enable it to transmit back.
The transmitter that is part of a scanner.
eXtensible Markup Language, XML
A widely accepted way of sharing information over the internet in a way that computers can use, regardless of their operating system.
factory programming
1. Some "read-only" must have their identification number written into the silicon microchip at the time the chip is made.

The process of writing the number into the chip is called "factory programming". This data can't be written over or changed.

2. The programming of information into a tag occurring as part of the manufacturing process.

The tag is "read-only".

far-field communication
RFID reader antennas emit electromagnetic radiation (radio waves).

If an RFID tag is outside of one full wavelength of the reader, it is said to be in the "far field." If it is within one full wavelength away, it is said to be in the "near field."

The far field signal decays as the square of the distance from the antenna, while the near field signal decays as the cube of distance from the antenna.

So passive RFID systems that rely on far field communications (typically UHF and microwave systems) have a longer read range than those that use near field communications (typically low- and high-frequency systems).

field programming
1. Tags that use EEPROM, or non-volatile memory, can be programmed after it is shipped from the factory. That is, users can write data to the tag when it is placed on a product.
2. The programming of information into a tag after it has been shipped from the manufacturer, usually meaning that information specific to the application can be added by the using organization. The tag is "read only".
fluidic self-assembly
A manufacturing process, patented by Alien Technology.

It involves flowing tiny microchips in a special fluid over a base with holes shaped to catch the chips. The process is designed to mass assemble billions of RFID tags at very low cost.

The number of repetitions of a complete wave within one second.

One Hz equals one complete waveform in one second. One KHz equals 1,000 waves in a second.

RFID tags use low, high, ultra-high, and microwave frequencies. Each frequency has advantages and disadvantages that make them more suitable for some applications than for others.

List of Radio Frequency Identification or RFID articles.