Testing RFID IoT devices for enterprise deployment

RFID devices can be useful internet of things endpoints, but they should be checked for security and compatibility before deployment

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Legacy manual and barcode systems are still in widespread use, but many organizations are turning to the internet of things, specifically RFID tags, to streamline asset tracking in the data center.

It's important to test these devices before deploying, and this article addresses typical testing considerations for this type of device deployed in a networked environment, ranging from data center asset tracking, inventory management and warehouse operations to scientific labs and medical facilities.

RFID types

RFID-tags can be scanned manually using a handheld scanner and passive tags, or by using active tags and fixed readers/antennas. Active devices typically have a built-in power source whereas passive devices do not. Passive RFID tags provide information only when interrogated by a reader; active tags broadcast information that can be picked up by a reader.

As the name implies, RFID devices use radio frequencies to communicate. The coverage area of an RFID device ranges from just a few inches to several hundred feet. Since active tags have an internal power source, they have stronger signals that can overcome some interference from surrounding electromagnetic fields. The benefits of passive tags include lower cost and longer life spans.

RFID devices operate across a wide spectrum from low frequency (125 KHz) to microwave (10 GHz).

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