A report submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the award of Bachelor of Engineering In Electronics & communication Engineering July, 2007 By Pawan sharma Under the guidance of Mr. Ravi Pratap Singh Kushwah Senior R&D Engineer Bar Code India Ltd. Gurgaon, India.

Jagan Nath Gupta Institute of Engineering & Tecnology Plot No. IP-263, Sitapura Industrial Area,
Phase-IV, Jaipur-302022

Certified that Pawan Sharma pursuing the course B.E (Electronics & Communication Engineering) from Jagan Nath Gupta Institute of Engineering & Technology, jaipur, has completed her training under my supervision in the Software Division of the R&D Department. At Omnia Tecnology Pvt. Ltd, Gurgaon. The training has been carried out from 1th July ‘07 to 6th Augest ‘07.

Ravi Pratap Singh Kushwah Senior R&D Engineer Omnia Tecnology Pvt. Ltd. Gurgaon.

I hereby declare that the work that is presented in this dissertation, entitled in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of the degree of B.Tech in Elec. & Comm. Engineering from the Jagan Nath Gupta Institute of Engineering & Technology, jaipur, is an authentic record of work carried out during the period July 2007 to Augest 2007 at Omnia Tecnology Pvt. Ltd., Gurgaon. No part of this dissertation has been submitted to any other university or institution for any other degree or reward.
Research of RFID & Antenna

Date: 25th May 2007 Place: Gurgaon

PAWAN SHARMA Instt. Roll No: A-38 Electronics&CommunicationEngineeing JNIT Institute of Engg. Jaipur.

The successful realization of the project is an outgrowth of a consolidated effort of the people from disparate fronts. It’s only with their support and guidance that the developer could meet the end. I am deeply indebted to my Project In charge Mr. Ravi Paratp Singh Kushwah, Senior R& D Engineer, for his invaluable technical guidance and moral support provided during the course of my project. I am thankful to all my colleagues at Bar Code India Ltd for their full cooperation and help during my stay there. Special thanks to Dr. Y.C. Bhat, Director JNIT Institute of Engg. Jaipur, Mr. Chaturvedi, HOD Elec.&Comm. Deptt. for providing me with an opportunity to take up this project and for their constant support and encouragement.

Pawan sharma July, 2007




1.1 About Bar Code India Ltd. 1.2 Services Provided


PART-A (Study Phase)

2.1 BARCODES 2.1.1 History 2.1.2 Symbologies 2.2 Benefits of using Barcodes 2.3 Replacing Barcodes-Evolution of RFID. 2.4 Advantages of RFID vs. Barcodes



Radio Frequency Identification

3.1 Overview 3.2 RFID Frequencies 3.2.1 LF 3.2.2 HF 3.2.3 UHF 3.3.4 Microwave 3.3 How RFID Technology works? 3.4 RFID System 3.5 Reader 3.5.1 Overview 3.5.2 Components 3.5.3Types 3.5.4 Serial Reader 3.5.5 Network Reader 3.5.6 Stationary Reader 3.5.7 Handheld Reader 3.6 Tags 3.6.1 Passive Tags 3.6.2 Active Tags 3.6.3 Semi-Active Tags 3.6.4 Read-Only Tags 3.6.5 WORM 3.6.6 Read/Write 3.6.7 Non-RFID Tags 3.7 Communication between Reader and Tags 3.7.1 Modulated backscattering 3.7.2 Transmitter Type 3.7.3 Transponder Type

3.8 Reader Antenna 3.8.1 Antenna Polarization Linear Circular Patch 3.8.2 Antenna Power ERP EIRP 3.9 Host and Software System 3.9.1 Edge Interface System Middleware Enterprise Backend Interface Enterprise backend Communication Infrastructure 3.9.2 Basic Concepts Tag Collision Reader Collision Tag Readability Tag Robustness 3.9.3 Characterization of RFID systems Based on Operating System Based on Read range Based on Physical Coupling System 3.9.4 EPC Standard Classification of RFID systems. 3.10 Current Uses


PART-C Project DescriptionTechnical Implementation of the System

4.1 Serial Port Communication 4.1.1 Why Visual Basic? 4.1.2 Overview with example 4.1.3 Parameters 4.1.4 I/O Function in Visual Basic 4.2 RS-232 4.3 Some Programming Terminologies 4.3.1 Port Enabling 4.3.2 Receiving Data 4.3.3 Using Variables 4.4 Some RFID Facts 4.5 Conclusion


1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

RF Properties of Example Material Types. Properties of MSComm Control. MSComm Control Handshake Constants. OnComm Control. Error Constants. Input Mode Constants.

1. Concept of RFID 2. A schematic diagram of an RFID system 3. A RFID System with example components. 4. Simplified Block Diagram of a Reader 5. Systematic diagram of a reader 6. Symbol XR480 Reader 7. Stationary Reader from Intermec Corporation 8. IA39D Rugged Antenna 9. Advanced ID Reader HH 800 10. Components of Passive Tag 11. Backscattering Communication 12. Amplitude Modulated Backscattering Signal 13. Transmitter Communication 14. Simple Antenna Pattern 15. An example antenna pattern containing protrusions 16. Wave Pattern from a Linear polarized antenna. 17. Wave Pattern from a Circular polarized antenna. 18. A basic Patch Antenna. 19. An RFID System from IT perspective. 20. Inductive coupling 21. Operating principle of a backscatter transponder 22. Hand with the planned location of RFID chip. 23. Hand after the operation to insert the RFID tag was completed. 24. Character frame encoding 25. RS 232 System 26. Visual Basic Forms (1-10)


Omnia Technologies is a manufacturer of hi-quality RFID Tags and Labels. Our plant situated at Industrial Modern Township (IMT), Gurgaon, India has all the modern state of the art manufacturing facility for manufacturing RFID products. Omnia has the capabilities to manufacture the RFID tags and labels in various frequency ranges like 125 KHz, 13.56 MHz, 868 MHz. etc. Our Research and Development Department with analysts and designers, comprises of state-of-theart test equipment & analyzers with a focus to develop high quality, innovative and industry relevant designs at competitive prices. The Environmental Test Lab consists of all the required testing equipments that ensure products are validated at regular interval. Current product range (Different frequencies – LF, HF and UHF):

Tags Key Mount Wrist Customized Tags.

Fobs on

Metal Bands

Software Services
Apart from hardware components, the main component of any AIDC solution is the software which enables the hardware components to deliver the desired results.

Bar Code India Ltd develops these enabling software components in order to achieve the AIDC solution objective. With in-house skilled team of software developers and solution designers, the turnkey solutions are provided. In order to achieve these objectives, industry standard software development procedures are followed.

Barcode Scanners Barcode Printers Mobile Computers Wireless RFID Consumables

Manufacturing Logistics Retail In-The–Field Healthcare

Bar coding

Mobile Computing Wireless LAN RFID

Field Application System Integration Label Printing


2.1.1 History
The first barcode was developed in 1948 by two graduate students at Drexel Institute of Technology, Bernard Silver and Norman Joseph Woodland. They filed for a U.S. patent in October 1949 and it was granted in 1952. Its implementation was made possible through the work of Raymond Alexander and Frank Stietz, two engineers with Sylvania, as a result of their work on a system to identify railroad cars (who were also granted a patent). It was not until 1966 that barcodes were put to commercial use and they were not commercially successful until the 1980s. While traditionally barcode encoding schemes represented only numbers, newer symbologies add new characters such as the uppercase alphabet to the complete ASCII character set and beyond. The drive to encode more information in combination with the space requirements of simple barcodes led to the development of matrix codes (a type of 2D barcode), which do not consist of bars but rather a grid of square cells. Stacked barcodes are a compromise between true 2D barcodes and linear codes, and are formed by taking a traditional linear symbology and placing it in an envelope that allows multiple rows.

2.1.2 Symbologies
The mapping between messages and barcodes is called a symbology. The specification of a symbology includes the encoding of the single digits/characters of the message as well as the start and stop markers into bars and space, the size of the quiet zone required to be before and after the barcode as well as the computation of a checksum. Linear symbologies can be classified mainly by two properties:

Continuous vs. discrete: Characters in continuous symbologies usually abut, with one character ending with a space and the next beginning with a bar, or vice versa. Characters in discrete symbologies begin and end with bars; the inter character space is ignored, as long as it is not wide enough to look like the code ends. Two-width vs. many-width: Bars and spaces in two-width symbologies are wide or narrow; how wide a wide bar is exactly has no significance as long as the symbology requirements for wide bars are adhered to (usually two to three times more wide than a narrow bar). Bars and spaces in many-width symbologies are all multiples of a basic width called the module; most such codes use four widths of 1, 2, 3 and 4 modules.

Some symbologies use interleaving. The first character is encoded using black bars of varying width. The second character is then encoded, by varying the width of the white spaces between these bars. Thus characters are encoded in pairs over the same section of the barcode. Interleaved 2 of 5 is an example of this.

Stacked symbologies consist of a given linear symbology repeated vertically in multiple. There are a large variety of 2-D symbologies. The most common are matrix codes, which feature square or dot-shaped modules arranged on a grid pattern. 2-D symbologies also come in a variety of other visual formats. Aside from circular patterns, there are several 2-D symbologies which employ steganography by hiding an array of different-sized or -shaped modules within a user-specified image (for example, Data Glyph).

In point-of-sale management, the use of barcodes can provide very detailed upto-date information on key aspects of the business, enabling decisions to be made much more quickly and with more confidence. For example:
• • • • •

Fast-selling items can be identified quickly and automatically reordered to meet consumer demand, Slow-selling items can be identified, preventing a build-up of unwanted stock, The effects of repositioning a given product within a store can be monitored, allowing fast-moving more profitable items to occupy the best space,

Historical data can be used to predict seasonal fluctuations very accurately. Besides sales and inventory tracking, barcodes are very useful in shipping/receiving/tracking.
When a manufacturer packs a box with any given item, a Unique Identifying Number (UID) can be assigned to the box. A relational database can be created to relate the UID to relevant information about the box; such as order number, items packed, qty packed, final destination, etc... The information can be transmitted through a communication system such as Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) so the retailer has the information about a shipment before it arrives. Tracking results when shipments are sent to a Distribution Center (DC) before being forwarded to the final destination. When the shipment gets to the final destination, the UID gets scanned, and the store knows where the order came from, what's inside the box, and how much to pay the manufacturer.

• • •

• •

The reason bar codes are business friendly is that bar code scanners are relatively low costing and extremely accurate – only about 1/100,000 entries will be wrong.

RFID tags are often envisioned as a replacement for UPC or EAN barcodes, having a number of important advantages over the older barcode technology. They may

not ever completely replace barcodes, due in part to their higher cost and in other part to the advantage of more than one independent data source on the same object. The new EPC, along with several other schemes, is widely available at reasonable cost. The storage of data associated with tracking items will require many terabytes on all levels. Filtering and categorizing RFID data is needed in order to create useful information. It is likely that goods will be tracked preferably by the pallet using RFID tags or at package level with Universal Product Code (UPC) or EAN from unique barcodes. The unique identity in any case is a mandatory requirement for RFID tags, despite special choice of the numbering scheme. RFID tag data capacity is big enough that any tag will have a unique code, while current bar codes are limited to a single type code for all instances of a particular product. The uniqueness of RFID tags means that a product may be individually tracked as it moves from location to location, finally ending up in the consumer's hands. This may help companies to combat theft and other forms of product loss. Moreover, the tracing back of products is an important feature that gets well supported with RFID tags containing not just a unique identity of the tag but also the serial number of the object. This may help companies to cope with quality deficiencies and resulting recall campaigns, but also contributes to concern over postsale tracking and profiling of consumers.

RFID tags and barcodes both carry information about products. However, there are important differences between these two technologies:
• •

Barcode readers require a direct line of sight to the printed barcode; RFID readers do not require a direct line of sight to either active RFID tags or passive RFID tags. RFID tags can be read at much greater distances; an RFID reader can pull information from a tag at distances up to 300 feet. The range to read a barcode is much less, typically no more than fifteen feet. RFID readers can interrogate, or read, RFID tags much faster; read rates of forty or more tags per second are possible. Reading barcodes is much more time-consuming; due to the fact that a direct line of sight is required, if the items are not properly oriented to the reader it may take seconds to read an individual tag. Barcode readers usually take a half-second or more to successfully complete a read. Line of sight requirements also limit the ruggedness of barcodes as well as the reusability of barcodes. (Since line of sight is required for barcodes, the printed barcode must be exposed on the outside of the product, where it is subject to greater wear and tear.) RFID tags are typically more rugged, since the electronic components are better protected in a plastic cover. RFID tags can also be implanted within the product itself, guaranteeing greater ruggedness and reusability. Barcodes have no read/write capability; that is, you cannot add to the information written on a printed barcode. RFID tags, however, can be read/write devices; the

• • • • • • •

RFID reader can communicate with the tag, and alter as much of the information as the tag design will allow. RFID tags are typically more expensive than barcodes. Human intervention is required to scan a barcode, whereas in most applications an RFID tag can be detected "hands off." Barcodes must be visible on the outside of product packaging. RFID tags can be placed inside the packaging or even in the product itself. The readability of barcodes can be impaired by dirt, moisture, abrasion, or packaging contours. RFID tags are not affected by those conditions. More data can be stored in an RFID tag than can be stored on a barcode. RFID has portable databases. Multiple tags can be Read/Write at the same time.


1. Overview
Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is one member in the family of Automatic Identification and Data Capture (AIDC) technologies and is a fast and reliable means of identifying just about any material object automatically. Primarily, the two main components involved in a Radio Frequency Identification system are the Transponder (tags that are attached to the object) and the Interrogator (RFID reader). Communication between the RFID reader and tags occurs wirelessly and generally does not require a line of sight between the devices. Radio-frequency identification (RFID) is an automatic identification method, relying on storing and remotely retrieving data using devices called RFID tags or transponders. An RFID tag is an object that can be attached to or incorporated into a product, animal, or person for the purpose of identification using radio waves. All RFID tags contain at least two parts. One is an integrated circuit for storing and processing information, modulating and demodulating a radio frequency (RF) signal and perhaps other specialized functions. The second is an antenna for receiving and transmitting the signal. The RFID tag can automatically be read from several meters away and does not have to be in the line of sight of the reader. The current thrust in RFID use in supply chain management for large enterprises. RFID increases the speed and accuracy with which inventory can be tracked and managed thereby saving money for the business. RFID technology uses radio waves to automatically identify physical objects (either living beings or inanimate items). Therefore, the range of objects identifiable using RFID includes virtually everything on this planet (and beyond).

3.2 RFID Frequency
Radio waves are the carriers of data between the reader and transponders. The approach generally adopted for RFID communication is to allocate frequencies depending on application. The frequencies used cover a wide spectrum. These specified bands are:
• • • •

Low frequency (LF) High frequency (HF) Ultra high frequency (UHF) Microwave frequency

The following subsections discuss these frequency types. 3.2.1 Low Frequency (LF) Frequencies between 30 KHz and 300 KHz are considered low, and RFID systems commonly use the 125 KHz to 134 KHz frequency range. A typical LF RFID system operates at 125 KHz or 134.2 KHz. RFID systems operating at LF generally use passive tags, have low data-transfer rates from the tag to the reader, and are especially good if the operating environment contains metals, liquids, dirt, snow, or mud (a very important characteristic of LF systems). Active LF tags are also available from vendors. Because of the maturity of this type of tag, LF tag systems probably have the largest installed base. The LF range is accepted worldwide.

3.2.2 High Frequency (HF) HF ranges from 3 MHz to 30 MHz, with 13.56 MHz being the typical frequency used for HF RFID systems. A typical HF RFID system uses passive tags, has a slow datatransfer rate from the tag to the reader, and offers fair performance in the presence of metals and liquids. HF systems are also widely used, especially in hospitals (where it does not interfere with the existing equipment). The HF frequency range is accepted worldwide. The next frequency range is called very high frequency (VHF) and lies between 30 and 300 MHz. Unfortunately, none of the current RFID systems operate in this range. Therefore, this frequency type is not discussed any further. 3.2.3 Ultra High Frequency (UHF) UHF ranges from 300 MHz to 1 GHz. A typical passive UHF RFID system operates at 865-867 MHz in India. RFID system operates at 315 MHz and 433 MHz. A UHF system can therefore use both active and passive tags and has a fast data-transfer rate between the tag and the reader, but performs poorly in the presence of metals and liquids (not true, however, in the cases of low UHF frequencies such as 315 MHz and 433 MHz). UHF RFID systems have started being deployed widely because of the recent RFID mandates of several large private and public enterprises. The UHF range is not accepted worldwide. 3.2.4 Microwave Frequency Microwave frequency ranges upward from 1 GHz. A typical microwave RFID system operates either at 2.45 GHz or 5.8 GHz, although the former is more common, can use both semi-active and passive tags, has the fastest data-transfer rate between the tag and the reader, and performs very poorly in the presence of metals and liquids. Because antenna length is inversely proportional to the frequency, the antenna of a passive tag operating in the microwave range has the smallest length (which results in a small tag size because the tag microchip can also be made very small). The 2.4 GHz frequency range is called Industry, Scientific, and Medical (ISM) band and is accepted worldwide. International restrictions apply to the frequencies that RFID can use. Therefore, some of the previously discussed frequencies might not be valid worldwide. Radio waves are susceptible to interference from various sources, such as the following:
• • •

Weather conditions such as rain, snow, and other types of precipitation. However, as mentioned before, these are not an issue at LF and HF. The presence of other radio sources such as cell phones, mobile radios, and so on. Electrostatic discharge (ESD): ESD is a sudden flow of electrical current through a material that is an insulator under normal circumstances. If a large potential

difference exists between the two points on the material, the atoms between these two points can become charged and conduct electric current.

Table 1: RF Properties of Example Material Types
Material Clothing Dry wood Graphite LF HF UHF Microwave RF-lucent RF-absorbent RF-opaque

RF-lucent RF-lucent RF-lucent RF-lucent RF-lucent RF-lucent RF-lucent RF-lucent RF-opaque

Liquids RF-lucent RF-lucent RF-absorbent RF-absorbent (some types) Metals Motor oil Paper products Plastics Shampoo Water Wet wood RF-lucent RF-lucent RF-opaque RF-lucent RF-lucent RF-lucent RF-lucent RF-lucent RF-lucent RF-lucent RF-lucent RF-lucent RF-opaque RF-lucent RF-lucent RF-lucent (some types)

RF-lucent RF-lucent RF-absorbent RF-absorbent RF-lucent RF-lucent RF-absorbent RF-absorbent RF-lucent RF-lucent RF-absorbent RF-absorbent

3.3 How RFID technology works?
A radio device called a tag is attached to the object that needs to be identified. Unique identification data about this tagged object is stored on this tag. When such a tagged object is presented in front of a suitable RFID reader, the tag transmits this data to the reader (via the reader antenna). The reader then reads the data and has the capability to forward it over suitable communication channels, such as a network or a serial connection, to a software application running on a computer. This application can then use this unique data to identify the object presented to the reader. It can then perform a variety of actions such as updating the location information of this object in the database, sending an alert to the floor personnel, or completely ignoring it (if a duplicate read, for example). As you can understand from this description, RFID is also a data-collection technology. However, this technology has some unique characteristics that enable users to apply it in areas beyond the reach of traditional data-collection technologies, such as bar codes.

An RFID application is implemented by an RFID system, which constitutes the entire technology end-to-end.

3.4 RFID System
An RFID system is an integrated collection of components that implement an RFID solution. An RFID system consists of the following components (in singular form) from an end-to-end perspective:
• • • • • •

Tag. This is a mandatory component of any RFID system. Reader. This is a mandatory component, too. Reader antenna. This is another mandatory component. Some current readers available today have built-in antennas. Controller. This is a mandatory component. However, most of the new- generation readers have this component built in to them. Sensor, actuator and annunciator. These optional components are needed for external input and output of the system. Host and software system. Theoretically, an RFID system can function independently without this component. Practically, an RFID system is close to worthless without this component. Communication infrastructure. This mandatory component is a collection of both wired and wireless network and serial connection infrastructure needed to connect the previously listed components together to effectively communicate with each other.

Figure 2: A schematic diagram of an RFID system.

The basic system consists of central reader with its controller. The reader has an antenna for communication to take place through it. The reader has a communication interface to interact with the tag which has to be identified. The reader has a software system as its backend. The tag is placed in the vicinity of the antenna.

Figure 3: An RFID system with example components.

These figures may seem "reader-centric" because the RFID reader seems to be at the center of the entire system. Therefore, this figure might seem to be slanted, for example, toward the RFID vendor viewpoint. 1. Trigger event detected by sensors.

2. Reader is turned on. 3. Reader reads a tag. 4. Tag data is sent to the software system by the reader. 5. Software system instructs the reader to turn on the annunciator. 6. Annunciator is turned on. 7. Trigger is sent to reader.

3.5.1 Overview An RFID reader is a device that is used to interrogate an RFID tag. The reader has an antenna that emits radio waves; the tag responds by sending back its data. An RFID reader typically contains a module (transmitter and receiver), a control unit and a coupling element (antenna). The reader has three main functions: energizing, demodulating and decoding. In addition, readers can be fitted with an additional interface that converts the radio waves returned from the RFID tag into a form that can then be passed on to another system, like a computer or any programmable logic controller. Anti-Collision algorithms permit the simultaneous reading of large numbers of tagged objects, while ensuring that each tag is read only once. An RFID reader, also called an interrogator, can read from and write data to compatible RFID tags. Thus, a reader also doubles up as a writer. The act of writing the tag data by a reader is called creating a tag. The process of creating a tag and uniquely associating it with an object is called commissioning the tag. Similarly, decommissioning a tag means to disassociate the tag from a tagged object and optionally destroy it. The time during which a reader can emit RF energy to read tags is called the duty cycle of the reader. International legal limits apply to reader duty cycles. The reader is the central nervous system of the entire RFID hardware system— establishing communication with and control of this component is the most important task of any entity which seeks integration with this hardware entity. A number of factors can affect the distance at which a tag can be read (the read range). The frequency used for identification, the antenna gain, the orientation and polarization of the reader antenna and the transponder antenna, as well as the placement of the tag on the object to be identified will all have an impact on the RFID system’s read range. A reader has the following main components:
• •

Transmitter Receiver

• • •

• • •

Microprocessor Memory Input/output channels for external sensors, actuators, and annunciators (Although, strictly speaking, these are optional components, they are almost always provided with a commercial reader.) Controller (which may reside as an external component) Communication interface Power

Figure 4: Simplified Block Diagram of a RFID Reader




Antenn a Demodulat or Filter/ Amplifier

To/ Fro m RFI D Tag


Display Module

To Video Display

Figure 5: The components of an example reader.
The following subsections describe these components.

The reader’s transmitter is used to transmit AC power and the clock cycle via its antennas to the tags in its read zone. This is a part of the transceiver unit, the component responsible for sending the reader’s signal to the surrounding environment and receiving tag responses back via the reader antenna(s). The antenna ports of a reader are connected to its transceiver component. One reader antenna can be attached to each such antenna port. Currently, some readers can support up to four antenna ports.

This component is also part of the transceiver module. It receives analog signals from the tag via the reader antenna. It then sends these signals to the reader microprocessor, where it is converted to its equivalent digital form (that is, the digital representation of the data that the tag has transmitted to the reader antenna).

This component is responsible for implementing the reader protocol to communicate with compatible tags. It is performs decoding and error checking of the analog signal from the receiver. In addition, the microprocessor might contain custom logic for doing low-level filtering and processing of read tag data.

Memory is used for storing data such as the reader configuration parameters and a list of tag reads. Therefore, if the connection between the reader and the

controller/software system goes down, not all read tag data will be lost. Depending on the memory size, however, a limit applies as to how many such tag reads can be stored at any one time. If the connection remains down for an extended period with the reader reading tags during this downtime, this limit might be exceeded and part of the stored data lost (that is, overwritten by the other tags that are read later).

Input/Output Channels for External Sensors, Actuators, and Annunciators
Readers do not have to be turned on for reading tags at all times. After all, the tags might appear only at certain times in the read zone, and leaving readers perpetually on would just waste the reader’s energy. In addition, as mentioned previously, regulatory limits apply to the reader duty cycle, too. This component provides a mechanism for turning a reader on and off depending on external events. A sensor of some sort, such as a motion or light sensor, detects the presence of tagged objects in the reader’s read zone. This sensor can then set the reader on to read this tag. Similarly, this component also allows the reader to provide local output depending on some condition via an annunciator (for example, sounding an audible alarm) or an actuator (for example, opening or closing a security gate, moving a robot arm, and so forth). Sensors, actuators, and annunciators are discussed later in this chapter.

A controller is an entity that allows an external entity, either a human or a computer program, to communicate with and control a reader’s functions and to control annunciators and actuators associated with this reader. Often, manufacturers integrate this component into the reader itself (as firmware, for example). However, it is also possible to package this as a separate hardware/software component that must be bought together with the reader. Controllers are discussed in detail later in this chapter.

Communication Interface
The communication interface component provides the communication instructions to a reader that allow it to interact with external entities, via a controller, to transfer its stored data and to accept commands and send back the corresponding responses. You can assume that this interface component is either part of the controller or is the medium that lies between a controller and the external entities. This entity has important characteristics that make it necessary to treat this as an independent component. A reader could have a serial as well as a network interface for communication. A serial interface is probably the most widespread type of reader interface available, but next-generation readers are being developed with network interfaces as a standard feature. Sophisticated readers offer features such as automatic discovery by an application, embedded Web servers that allow the reader to accept commands and display the results using a standard Web browser, and so forth.

This component supplies power to the reader components. The power source is generally provided to this component through a power cord connected to an appropriate external electrical outlet.

Like tags, readers can also be classified using two different criteria. The first criterion is the interface that a reader provides for communication. Based on this, readers can be classified as follows:
• •

Serial Network

The following subsections describe these reader types.

3.5.4 Serial Reader
Serial readers use a serial communication link to communicate with an application. The reader is physically connected to a computer’s serial port using an RS232 or RS-485 serial connection. Both of these connections have an upper limit on the cable length that can be used to connect a reader to a computer. RS-485 allows a longer cable length than RS-232 does. The advantage of serial readers is that the communication link is reliable compared to network readers. Therefore, the use of these readers is recommended to minimize dependency on a communication channel.

3.5.5 Network Reader
Network readers can be connected to a computer using both wired and wireless networks. In effect, the reader behaves like a network device installation that does not require any specialized knowledge of the hardware. Note, however, that SNMP-type monitoring features are currently available for just a few network reader types. Therefore, the majority of these readers cannot be monitored as standard network devices. The next classification of reader type can be made based on its mobility, as follows:
• •

Stationary Handheld

The following subsections describe these reader types.

3.5.6 Stationary Reader
A stationary reader, also called a fixed reader, is what its name implies. These readers are mounted on a wall, portal, or some suitable structure in the read zone. The structure on which the reader is mounted may not be static! For example, some stationary readers are mounted on forklifts. Similarly, you can mount these readers inside delivery trucks. In contrast to tags, readers are not generally very tolerant of harsh environmental conditions. Therefore, if you install a reader outdoors or on moving objects, take care to ruggedize it properly. Stationary readers generally need external antennas for reading tags. A reader can provide up to four external antennas ports.

Figure 6: Symbol XR480 Reader
The XR480 reader builds on Symbol’s commercially proven XR400 RFID reader platform and supports the European ETSI 302-208 standard reliable read performance for today’s industrial-scale RFID implementations. The XR480 also delivers Generation 2 (Gen 2) dense-reader mode operation which enables flexibility. The XR480 is the only commercially available EPC-compliant RFID reader approved for use in Europe to provide support for up to eight read points which helps decrease deployment complexity and increases flexibility. The Symbol XR480 is also the first commercially available EPC-compliant RFID reader. XR480 RFID reader enables seamless integration and interoperability with existing IT infrastructure while reducing the support costs associated with multi-platform environments

Figure 7: IF4 Stationary Reader from Intermec Corporation

• • • •

An intelligent peripheral – capable of internal filtering to reduce network traffic. Software configurable to read/write EPC Class 1, EPC Gen 2 and ISO tags. Factory configurable to operate in 865MHz, 869MHz, 915MHz or 950MHz RFID bands. Directly monitors and controls presence detectors and signal lights.

Figure 8: IA39D Rugged Antenna
• • •

Rigid matching network and circuit boards Stainless steel mounting hardware. The IA39D is specifically designed for operation in the 865 – 928 MHz frequency band.

A stationary reader can generally operate in the following modes:
• •

Autonomous Interactive

The following subsections describe these modes. Autonomous Mode In autonomous mode, a reader continuously read tags in its read zone. Every time a tag is read, it is saved to a list, usually called a tag list. An item on the tag list is associated with what is generally called persist time. If the associated tag cannot be read for a period of time exceeding it’s persist time, it is dropped from the tag list. An application running on a host machine can register itself to receive the tag list periodically. A tag list includes information such as the following:
• • •

Unique tag identifiers Reading time How many times a particular tag has been read since it has been discovered (that is, first read by the reader)

• •

The antenna ID that read a particular tag Reader name

Interactive Mode In interactive mode, a read receives and executes commands from an application running on a host machine or from a user using a vendor-supplied client to communicate with the reader. After the reader fully executes the current command, it waits for the next. A reader can execute a range of commands, from sending the current tag list to the command invoker to changing the reader’s configuration parameters.

3.5.7 Handheld Reader

Figure 9: Advanced ID Reader HH 800
WORK INSTRUCTION FOR ADVANCED ID READER (1) WAKE UP Push the power switch and hold it for a moment. OWNER ID Reader is now waiting for the User to enter the owner ID. (a) Inputting owner ID by reading (scanning) an RFID tag.


Once the unit reads a tag which is present in front of the antenna, it will ‘beep’ and then display Action screen. (b) Inputting owner ID by using the keyboard. Owner ID is keyed into the reader manually and then ‘OK’ is pressed to confirm. The unit will then ‘beep’. (3) ACTION Users have to select action for the reading. Users can define each action by using 16 buttons on the keyboard. Press ‘OK’ to confirm the action. TAG COUNT (a) Display current Tag Count and wait for user to continue. (b) Display current Tag Count and wait for user to reset or continue. DATA DISPLAY To read RFID tags in Read Mode, point the antenna module at tags(a) Reader will read the tags. (b) Display unique tag ID of each tag read. (c) Count continually as long as switch is pressed. (d) LCD will display the action selected. (e) If lot of tags present, it will display the last tag read.



A handheld reader is a mobile reader that a user can operate as a handheld unit. A handheld reader generally has built-in antenna(s). Although these readers are typically the most expensive (and few are commercially available), recent advances in reader technology are resulting in sophisticated handheld readers at lower prices. At Barcode India Ltd, the most frequently used reader is Advanced ID Reader as shown in figure above.

3.6 TAGS
An RFID tag is a device that can store and transmit data to a reader in a contact less manner using radio waves. RFID tags can be classified in two different ways. The following list shows the first classification, which is based on whether the tag contains an on-board power supply and/or provides support for specialized tasks:
• • •

Passive Active Semi-active (also known as semi-passive)

The following subsections discuss these in detail. (The other classification is discussed after this.)

3.6.1 Passive Tags
This type of RFID tag does not have an on-board power source (for example, a battery), and instead uses the power emitted from the reader to energize itself and transmit its stored data to the reader. A passive tag is simple in its construction and has no moving parts. As a result, such a tag has a long life and is generally resistant to harsh environmental conditions. For example, some passive tags can withstand corrosive chemicals such as acid, temperatures of 400ºF (204ºC approximately), and more. In tag-to-reader communication for this type of tag, a reader always communicates first, followed by the tag. The presence of a reader is mandatory for such a tag to transmit its data. A passive tag is typically smaller than an active or semi-active tag. It has a variety of read ranges starting with less than 1 inch to about 30 feet (9 meters approximately). A passive tag is also generally cheaper compared to an active or semi-active tag. A contact less smart card is a special type of passive RFID tag that is widely used today in various areas (for example, as ID badges in security and loyalty cards in retail). The data on this card is read when it is in close proximity to a reader. The card does not need to be physically in contact with the reader for reading. A passive tag consists of the following main components:
• •



The organization of these components is as shown in the figure below.

Figure 10: Components of a passive tag.

• •

• •

The power control/rectifier converts AC power from the reader antenna signal to DC power. It supplies power to the other components of the microchip. The clock extractor extracts the clock signal from reader antenna signal. The modulator modulates the received reader signal. The tag’s response is embedded in the modulated signal, which is then transmitted back to the reader. The logic unit is responsible for implementing the communication protocol between the tag and the reader. The microchip memory is used for storing data. This memory is generally segmented (that is, consists of several blocks or fields). Addressability means the ability to address (that is, read or write) the individual memory of a tag’s microchip. A tag memory block can hold different data types, such as a portion of the tagged object identifier data, checksum (for example, cyclic redundancy checks [CRC]) bits for checking the accuracy of the transmitted data, and so on. Recent advances in technology have shrunk the size of the microchip to less than the size of a grain of sand. However, a tag’s physical dimensions are not determined by the size of its microchip but by the length of its antenna.

3.6.2 Active Tags
Active RFID tags have an on-board power source (for example, a battery; other sources of power, such as solar, are also possible) and electronics for performing specialized tasks. An active tag uses its on-board power supply to transmit its data to a

reader. It does not need the reader’s emitted power for data transmission. The on-board electronics can contain microprocessors, sensors, and input/output ports powered by the on-board power source. An active tag consists of the following main components:
• •

Microchip. The microprocessor size and capabilities are generally greater than the microchips found in passive tags. Antenna. This can be in the form of an RF module that can transmit the tag’s signals and receive reader’s signals in response. For a semi-active tag, this is composed of thin strip(s) of metal such as copper, similar to that of a passive tag. On-board power supply.

3.6.3 Semi-Active (Semi-Passive) Tags
Semi-active tags have an on-board power source (for example, a battery) and electronics for performing specialized tasks. The on-board power supply provides energy to the tag for its operation. However, for transmitting its data, a semi-active tag uses the reader’s emitted power. A semi-active tag is also called a battery-assisted tag. The reading distance of a semi-active tag can be 100 feet (30.5 meters approximately) under ideal conditions using a modulated backscatter scheme (in UHF and microwave). The next classification, as shown here, is based on the capability to support data rewrites:
• • •

Read-only (RO) Write once, read many (WORM) Read-write (RW)

Both active and passive tags can be RO, WORM, and RW. The following sections discuss these classifications in detail.

3.6.4 Read Only (RO)
An RO tag can be programmed (that is, written) just once in its lifetime. The data can be burned into the tag at the factory during the manufacturing stage. To accomplish this, the individual fuses on the tag microchip are burned permanently using a finepointed laser beam. After this is done, the data cannot be rewritten for the entire lifetime of the tag. Such a tag is also called factory programmed. The tag manufacturer supplies the data on the tag, and the tag users typically do not have any control over it. This type of tag is good for small applications only, but is impractical for large manufacturing or when tag data needs to be customized based on the application. This tag type is used today in small pilots and business applications.

3.6.5 Write Once, Read Many (WORM)
A WORM tag can be programmed or written once, which is generally done not by the manufacturer but by the tag user right at the time when the tag needs to be created. In practice, however, because of buggy implementation, it is possible to overwrite particular types of WORM tag data several times (about 100 times is not uncommon)! If the data for such a tag is rewritten more than a certain number of times, the tag can be damaged permanently. A WORM tag is also called field programmable. This type of tag offers a good price-to-performance ratio with reasonable data security, and is the most prevalent type of tag used in business today.

3.6.6 Read Write (RW)
An RW tag can be reprogrammed or rewritten a large number of times. Typically, this number varies between 10,000 and 100,000 times and above! This re writability offers a tremendous advantage because the data can be written either by the readers or by the tag itself (in case of active tags). An RW tag typically contains a Flash or a FRAM memory device to store its data. An RW tag is also called field programmable or reprogrammable. Data security is a challenge for RW tags. In addition, this type of tag is most expensive to produce. RW tags are not widely used in today’s applications, a fact that might change in the future as the tag technology and applicability increases with a decrease in tag cost. It is important to briefly pause here and describe a type of RFID tag called surface acoustic wave (SAW) before moving on to the next topic. 3.6.7 Non-RFID Tags The concept of attaching a tag and having it wirelessly transmit its unique ID to a reader is not the exclusive domain of RF waves. You can use other types of wireless communications for this purpose. For example, you can use ultrasonic and infrared waves for tag-to-reader communication. Ultrasonic communication has the additional advantages that it does not cause interference with existing electrical equipment and cannot penetrate through walls. As a result, ultrasonic tagging systems can be deployed in hospitals, where such technology can coexist with the existing medical equipment. In addition, an ultrasonic reader and a tag must be within the same room for the tag to be read by the reader. This required proximity can prove helpful in asset monitoring and tracking. An infrared tag uses light to transmit its data to a reader. Because light cannot penetrate through walls, an infrared tag and reader must both be in the same room for

communication. If an obstacle covers the light source of a tag, the tag can no longer communicate with a reader (a serious disadvantage).

3.7 Communication between a Reader and a Tag
Depending on the tag type, the communication between a reader and a tag can be one of the following:
• • •

Modulated backscatter Transmitter type Transponder type

Before delving into the details of these communication types, it is important for you to understand the concepts of near field and far field. The area between a reader antenna and one full wavelength of the RF wave emitted by the antenna is called near field. The area beyond one full wavelength of the RF wave emitted from a reader antenna is called far field. Passive RFID systems operating in LF and HF use near field communication, whereas those in UHF and microwave frequencies use far field communication. The signal strength in near field communication attenuates as the cube of the distance from the reader antenna. In far field, it attenuates as square of the distance from the reader antenna. As a result, far field communication is associated with a longer read range compared with near field communication. Next, a comparison between tag read and tag write is in order. Tag write takes a longer time than tag read under the same conditions because a write operation consists of multiple additional steps, including an initial verification, erasing any existing tag data, writing the new tag data, and a final verification phase. In addition, the data is written on the tag in blocks in multiple steps. As a result, a single tag write can take hundreds of milliseconds to complete and increases with the increase in data size. In contrast, several tags can be read in this time interval by the same reader. Also, tag write is a sensitive process that needs the target tag to be closer (compared to its corresponding read distance) to the reader antenna for the entire write operation. This closer proximity ensures the tag antenna can derive sufficient energy from the reader antenna signal to power its microchip so that it can execute the write instructions. The power requirement for write operation is generally significantly higher than that required for reading. The write operation might fail otherwise. However, a tag does not have to stay close to the reader during a read operation. Also, during tag write operation, any tag other than the target should not be in write range of the reader. Otherwise, in some cases, this other tag might accidentally get written rather than the

target tag. This write range issue is clearly not relevant during a read operation, when multiple tags can exist in the read range of the reader at the same time.

3.7.1 Modulated Backscattering Modulated backscatter communication applies to passive as well as to semiactive tags. In this type of communication, the reader sends out a continuous wave (CW) RF signal containing AC power and clock signal to the tag at the carrier frequency (the frequency at which the reader operates). Through physical coupling (that is, a mechanism by which the transfer of energy takes place from the reader to the tag), the tag antenna supplies power to the microchip. The word excite is frequently used to indicate a passive tag microchip drawing power from a reader’s signal to properly energize itself. About 1.2 volts are generally necessary to energize the tag microchip for reading purposes. For writing, the microchip usually needs to draw about 2.2 volts from the reader signal. The microchip now modulates or breaks up the input signal into a sequence of on and off patterns that represents its data and transmits it back. When the reader receives this modulated signal, it decodes the pattern and obtains the tag data. Thus, in modulated backscatter communication, the reader always "talks" first, followed by the tag. A tag using this scheme cannot communicate at all in the absence of a reader because it depends totally on the reader’s power to transmit its data. A related term, beam power, is also used in this context, and means that a tag is using the reader’s power to modulate the reader signal back. Note that a passive tag exclusively uses beam power to transmit its data. A semi-active tag uses beam power to clock its oscillator and generate the transmit signal back. Thus, in essence, a semi-active tag also uses beam power to transmit its data.

Figure 11: Backscatter communication.
This is the communication method used by a passive RFID tag to send data back to the reader. By repeatedly shunting the tag coil through a transistor, the tag can cause slight fluctuations in the reader’s RF carrier amplitude. The RF link behaves essentially as a transformer; as the secondary winding (tag coil) is momentarily shunted, the primary winding (reader coil) experiences a momentary voltage drop. The reader must peak-detect this data at about 60 dB down (about 100 mV riding on a 100V sine wave) as shown in Figure 1. This amplitude-modulation loading of the reader’s transmitted field provides a communication path back to the reader. The data bits can then be encoded or further modulated in a number of ways.

Figure 12: Amplitude Modulated Backscattering Signal
3.7.2 Transmitter Type This type of communication applies to active tags only. In this type of communication, the tag broadcasts its message to the environment in regular intervals,

irrespective of the presence or absence of a reader. Therefore, in this type of communication, the tag always "talks" first rather than the reader.

Figure 13: Transmitter communication.
3.7.3 Transponder Type This type of communication applies to a special type of active tags called transponders (as discussed previously). In this type of communication, the tag goes to a "sleep" or into a dormant stage in the absence of interrogation from a reader. In this state, the tag might periodically send a message to check whether any reader is listening to it. When a reader receives such a query message, it can instruct the tag to "wake up" or end the dormant state. When the tag receives this command from the reader, it exits its current state and starts to act as a transmitter tag again. (That is, it starts broadcasting its message periodically to its surroundings.) In this type of communication, the tag data is sent only when the reader specifically asks for it. 3.8 Reader Antenna A reader communicates to a tag through the reader’s antennas, a separate device that is physically attached to a reader, at one of its antenna ports, by means of a cable. This cable length is generally limited to between 6 and 25 feet. (However, this length limit may vary.) As mentioned previously, a single reader can support up to four antennas (that is, have four physical antenna ports). A reader antenna is also called the reader’s coupling element because it creates an electromagnetic field to couple with the tag. An antenna broadcasts the reader transmitter’s RF signal into its surroundings and receives tag responses on the reader’s behalf. Therefore, proper positioning of the antennas, not the readers, is essential for good read accuracy (although a reader has to be located somewhat close to an antenna because of the limitation of the antenna cable length). In addition, some stationary readers might have in-built antennas. As a result, in this case, positioning the antennas for a reader is equivalent to positioning the reader itself. In general, RFID reader antennas are shaped like rectangular or square boxes.

Figure 14: Simple antenna pattern.
In reality, because of antenna characteristics, the footprint of an antenna is never uniformly shaped like an ellipsoid but almost always contains deformities or protrusions. Each protrusion is surrounded by dead zones. Such dead zones are also called nulls. The reflection of reader antenna signals on RF-opaque objects causes what is known as multipath. In this case, the reflected RF waves are scattered and can arrive at the reader antenna at different times using different paths. Some of the arriving waves could be in phase (that is, exactly match with the original antenna signal’s wave pattern). In this case, the original antenna signal is enhanced when these waves impose with the original waves giving rise to protrusions. This phenomenon is also known as constructive interference. Some of the waves could also arrive out of phase (that is, the exact opposite of the original antenna wave pattern). In this case, the original antenna signal is cancelled when these two wave types impose on each other. This is also called destructive interference. Nulls are created as a result.

Figure 15: An example antenna pattern containing protrusions.
A tag placed in one of the protruded regions will read, but if this tag moves slightly so that it is inside the surrounding dead region, the tag cannot be read (which might lead to no intuitive tag-reading behavior). For example, when placed a certain distance away from a reader, a tag does not read, but when moved slightly in one direction, it can be read by the reader; if this tag is then moved slightly in another direction, however, it cannot be read! The read behavior of a tag near a protruded region is thus unreliable. Therefore, when you place an antenna to cover a read area, it is important that you not depend on these protruded regions to maximize the read distance. The best strategy is to stay inside the main ellipsoid-shaped region even if it means sacrificing the read range by a few feet—better safe than sorry. It is extremely important to determine the antenna footprint; the antenna footprint determines where a tag can or cannot be read. The manufacturer might provide the antenna footprint as part of the antenna’s specifications. However, you should use such information as a guideline only, because the actual footprint will most likely vary depending on the operating environment. You can use well-defined techniques such as signal analysis to map an antenna footprint. In signal analysis, the signal from the tag is measured, using equipment such as a spectrum analyzer and/or a network analyzer, under various conditions (for example, in free space, different tag orientations, and on conductive materials or absorptive materials). By analyzing these signal strengths, you can precisely determine the antenna footprint. Antenna polarization, another important concept of reader antenna design, is discussed in the following section.

3.8.1 Antenna Polarization

As discussed previously, an antenna emits electromagnetic waves into its surroundings. The direction of oscillation of these electromagnetic waves is called the polarization of the antenna. What does this mean to tag readability? A great deal! The readability of a tag, together with its reading distance and reading robustness, greatly depends on the antenna polarization and the angle at which the tag is presented to the reader. The main antenna types in UHF, based on polarization, are
• •

Linear polarized Circular polarized Linear Polarized Antenna
In this antenna type, the RF waves emanate in a linear patter from the antenna. These waves have only one energy field.

Figure 16: Wave pattern from a linear polarized antenna.
A linear polarized antenna has a narrower radiation beam with a longer read range compared to a circular polarized antenna. In addition, a narrower radiation beam helps a linear polarized antenna to read tags within a longer, narrow but well-defined read region (compared to a circular polarized antenna), instead of reading tags randomly from its surroundings. However, a linear polarized antenna is sensitive to tag orientation with respect to its polarization direction. These types of antenna are therefore useful in applications where the tag orientation is fixed and predictable. Circular Polarized Antenna RF waves radiate from a circular polarized antenna in a circular pattern. These waves have two constituting energy fields that are equal in amplitude and magnitude,

but have a phase difference of 90º. Therefore, when a wave of an energy field is at its highest value, the wave of the other field is at its lowest.

Figure 17: Wave pattern from a circular polarized antenna.
Because of the nature of polarization, a circular polarized antenna is largely unaffected by tag orientation. Therefore, this type of antenna proves ideal for applications where the tag orientation is unpredictable. A circular polarized antenna has a wider radiation beam and hence reads tags in a wider area compared to a linear polarized antenna. This antenna is preferred for an RFID system that uses high UHF or microwave frequencies in an operating environment where there is a high degree of RF reflectance (due to presence of metals and so forth). Often, a patch antenna is used for making UHF antennas, as described in the following subsection. Patch Antenna A patch antenna, also called a microstrip or planar antenna, in its basic form consists of a rectangular metal foil or a plate mounted on a substrate such as Teflon. The other side of the substrate is coated with a metallic substance. A microstrip connected to the rectangular metal foil supplies power to the antenna. The power supply type can be varied to make a patch antenna circular or linear polarized.

Figure 18: A basic patch antenna.
3.8.3 Antenna Power An antenna emits power measured in either effective radiated power (ERP) units in Europe or in equivalent isotropic radiated power (EIRP) units in the United States. ERP and EIRP are not the same but are related by the relation EIRP = 1.64 ERP. Effective radiated power (e.r.p.) (in a given direction): The power supplied to an antenna multiplied by the antenna gain in a given direction. If the direction is not specified, the direction of maximum gain is assumed. The type of reference antenna must be specified. The product of the power supplied to the antenna and its gain relative to a halfwave dipole in a given direction. If the direction is not specified, the direction of maximum gain is assumed. The effective radiated power of a transmitter (with antenna, transmission line, duplexers, etc.,) is the power that would be necessary at the input terminals of a reference half-wave dipole antenna in order to produce the same maximum field

intensity. ERP is usually calculated by multiplying the measured transmitter output power by the specified antenna system gain, relative to a half-wave dipole, in the direction of interest. Effective isotropic ally radiated power (e.i.r.p.): Effective Isotropic Radiated Power (EIRP), also known as Equivalent Isotropic ally Radiated Power, is the amount of power that would have to be emitted by an isotropic antenna (that evenly distributes power in all directions and is a theoretical construct) to produce the peak power density observed in the direction of maximum antenna gain. EIRP can take into account the losses in transmission line and connectors and includes the gain of the antenna. The EIRP is often stated in terms of decibels over a reference power level that would be the power emitted by an isotropic radiator with equivalent signal strength. The EIRP allows making comparisons between different emitters regardless of type, size or form. From the EIRP, and with knowledge of a real antenna's gain, it is possible to calculate real power and field strength values. The arithmetic product of (a) the power supplied to an antenna and (b) its gain. The maximum possible value of antenna power is limited by national and international (for example, FCC in the United States) regulations. To use an antenna with higher power than the allowable limit, you must obtain explicit permission from the appropriate regulatory body. You can always reduce antenna power, however, by placing a small device called an attenuator in the transmission line (for example, between an antenna connector and the reader port). As a result, the antenna’s signal strength is reduced, and the antenna’s read range is diminished. Attenuation proves very useful in situations where the read zone needs to be constrained as a part of system requirements so that tags are only read inside but not outside this region. The ability of an attenuator to reduce the antenna strength varies depending on the attenuator. Controller A controller is an intermediary agent that allows an external entity to communicate with and control a reader’s behavior together with the annunciators and actuators associated with this reader. A controller is the only component of an RFID system (or a reader, depending on point of view) through which reader communications are possible; no other medium or entity provides this ability. As mentioned previously, a controller for a reader can be embedded inside the reader or can be a separate component by itself. An analogy is in order. A controller to a reader is what a printer driver is for a computer printer. To print a document from a computer to a printer, the computer must have the appropriate printer driver software installed. Similarly, to retrieve tag data stored on a reader, a computer must use a controller—it cannot communicate to the reader in any other way.

A controller also provides (or uses, depending on viewpoint) a communication interface for the external entities to interact with it (as described previously in the section about readers).


Figure 19: An RFID System from IT perspective
The reader (together with the tag and antenna) is located at the edge of the system. This figure might be interpreted as how an RFID system looks from an IT or system-integrator perspective. An RFID system thus has two parts—the first part (edge) governed by laws of physics and the second part involving information technology (IT). Both parts are very important. A state-of-the-art IT system is worthless if the data from its physical counterpart is unreliable and patchy. Similarly, a finely tuned RFID hardware setup is useless if the associated IT system cannot intelligently manage and process the data generated by this system. Detailed discussion of these components will be done in later sections. An RFID system supports bidirectional communication flows, from the readers to the back end and from the back end to the readers.

The host and software system is an all-encompassing term for the hardware and software component that is separate from the RFID hardware (that is, reader, tag, and antenna); the system is composed of the following four main components:

• • • •

Edge interface/system Middleware Enterprise back-end interface Enterprise back end

In a nontrivial RFID system, all these components are present to some degree. The following sections discuss these components.

3.9.1 Edge Interface/System
This component integrates the entire host and software system with the RFID hardware (which consists of the reader, tag, and antenna). This integration is accomplished by establishing communication with and control of the central nervous system of RFID hardware: the readers. Therefore, this component’s main task is to get data from the readers, control the readers’ behavior and use the readers to activate the associated external actuators and annunciators. This component is logically and physically closest to the RFID hardware and can be considered to be at the edge when viewed from the host and software system perspective. Therefore, this is also the right place for this component to activate external actuators and annunciators without any need to go through the reader. This placement proves very useful because then the choice and control capabilities of annunciators and actuators are not limited by the reader support, but can be extended as and when needed by customizing the edge system. The edge system is also the perfect place to hide the nitty-gritty details of interaction with a specific reader (through its controller) from a particular manufacturer. Therefore, this component also provides an abstraction layer for any type of readers needed by the RFID system. This abstraction layer is very desirable because then the rest of the host and software system can use this abstraction to interact with any supported readers, present and future, without any need to change itself. This component can be viewed as a kind of a super controller that can be used to interact with any supported reader controller in the RFID system. Moreover, this component can do several other tasks that are beyond the responsibilities of a simple controller, such as the following:
• • • • •

Filter out duplicate reads from different readers Allow setting of event-based triggers that can automatically activate an annunciator or an actuator Provide intelligent functions such as aggregating and selectively sending out tag data to host and software system Remote reader management Remote management of itself

As apparent from the preceding discussion, this component may actually be hosted on specialized hardware as an embedded system. The rest of the host and software system can then interact with this embedded system over a wired or a wireless network. This component can be implemented using a standard such as Open Services Gateway initiative (OSGi), which defines a standard for dynamic delivery of software services to network devices (see Chapter 10). In a very simple case of a trivial, possibly throwaway, pilot, this component might be completely absent. Middleware
The middleware component can be broadly defined as everything that lies between the edge interface and the enterprise back-end interface. This component can be viewed as the central nervous system of the RFID system from the software perspective (RFID readers can be considered the same from an RFID hardware perspective) in that it provides core functionality of the system, including the following:
• • • • •

Data sharing both inside and outside of an enterprise Efficient management of massive data produced by RFID system Provide generic components that can be used as building blocks for implementing the business specific filtering and aggregation logic Open standard based so that it is compatible with a wide range of other software systems Enable loose coupling between the edge interface and the enterprise back-end interface (and thus any change in the former will minimally affect the latter)

In the extreme case of a trivial, possibly throwaway, pilot, this component might be completely absent. This is the most complex and important component of the host and software system. As a result, a principle part of the implementation effort will be spent on implementing this component. Therefore, when implementing an RFID system, it is always preferable to procure this component as an off-the-shelf system from RFID software and services vendors. You can then customize it to meet the application requirements. Enterprise Back-End Interface
The enterprise back-end interface component is used to integrate the middleware component with the enterprise back-end component. This is the place for implementing business process integration. Which processes need to be integrated with the RFID system will determine the amount of effort needed to implement this component. This effort can be substantial if business process changes are involved or comprehensive. Because the middleware is a generic component, some customization is almost always needed to trigger transactions and transfer data between it and the enterprise back end. It is not uncommon to find enterprise-scale integration interfaces natively built in to the

enterprise scale systems, such as ERP and WMS that are available from large third-party software vendors. Enterprise Back End
The enterprise back-end component encompasses the complete suite of applications and IT systems of an enterprise. This is thus the data repository and the business processes engine for the entire enterprise. In an RFID system context, this component provides the directory data for the tagged objects to the middleware component. Note that in general, integration with a handful of applications or systems is necessary to achieve a satisfactory integration with the enterprise back end and hence the business processes. This is, of course, assuming that this component is well architected and implemented. This component generally involves minimum effort from the implementation perspective of an RFID system because this is already built and functional. However, in some cases (for example, proprietary system elements), some effort might be necessary to actually modify or enhance this component to make it compatible with the RFID system that is being built. Communication Infrastructure
This component provides connectivity and enables security and systems management functionalities for different components of an RFID system, and is therefore an integral part of the system. It includes the wired and wireless network, and serial connections between readers, controllers, and computers. The wireless network type can range from a personal area network (PAN, provided by Bluetooth), to a local area network (LAN, offered by 802.11x technology), to a wide area network (WAN, provided by 2.5G/3G technologies). Satellite communication networks, for example, using geosynchronous L-band satellites are also becoming an increasing reality for RFID systems that need to work in a very wide geographical area where existence of a pervasive reader infrastructure is not guaranteed. It is now time to pause for a moment and learn about the basic concepts of an RFID system.

3.9.2 Basic Concepts
This section discusses the following terms that are frequently used in reference to an RFID system:
• • •

Frequency Tag collision Reader collision

• •

Tag readability Read robustness

Frequency is the most important attribute of an RFID system. It has already been discussed in detail in the beginning of this chapter. The remaining terms are discussed in detail now in the following subsections. Tag Collision
Contrary to popular belief, a reader can only communicate with one tag at a time. When more than one tag attempts to communicate with the reader at the same time, a tag collision is said to occur. In this case, in response to the reader’s query, multiple tags reflect back their signals at the same time to the reader, confusing it. A reader then needs to communicate with the conflicting tags using what is called a singulation protocol. The algorithm that is used to mediate tag collisions is called an anticollision algorithm. Currently, the following two types of anti-collision algorithms are most widely used:
• •

ALOHA for HF Tree Walking for UHF

Using one of these anti-collision algorithms, a reader can identify several tags in its read zone in a very short period of time. Thus, it appears that this reader is communicating with these tags almost simultaneously. Reader Collision
When the read zone (or read window) of two or more readers overlap, the signal from one reader can interfere with the signal from another. This phenomenon is called reader collision. This situation can arise if the antennas of these two readers are installed in such a manner that it gives rise to destructive interference (antenna footprint). As a result, RF energy from one of the antennas of a reader "cancels out" the RF energy from one of the antennas of the other reader. To avoid this problem, position the reader antennas so that the antenna of one reader does not directly face the antenna of another reader. If the direct facing of these antennas is unavoidable, separate them a sufficient distance so that their read zones do not overlap. You can use proper attenuators to attune the antenna power to achieve this. In addition, two antennas of the same reader can generally overlap without creating a reader collision, because the power to the antennas is physically transferred by the reader in such a manner that only one antenna is active at a time. As a result, there is no chance of two or more antennas of this reader emitting signals at the same time. You can also use another technique, called time division multiple access (TDMA), to avoid reader collision. In this scheme, the readers are instructed to read at different times rather than all reading at the same time. As a result, the antenna of only one reader is active at a time. The problem with this approach is that a tag can be read more than one time by different readers in the overlapping read zone.

Therefore, some intelligent filtering mechanism must be implemented by the controller or the edge system/interface to filter out the duplicate tag reads. Tag Readability Tag readability of an RFID system for a particular operating environment can be defined as the capability of the system to read a specific tag data successfully. Tag readability depends on a number of factors (see Chapter 9, "Designing and Implementing an RFID Solution"). From a simple perspective, an RFID system needs to read a tag successfully just once to provide good tag readability. To make this guarantee, however, the system should be designed so that it can read a single tag several times, so that even if a tag read fails several times there’s a good chance that one of the reads will succeed. In other words, an RFID system should have good read for robustness. This is the topic of the next section. Read Robustness Read robustness (also called read redundancy) is the number of times a particular tag can be read successfully when inside a read zone. As noted in the previous section, an RFID system has to be designed such that it has good read robustness for the tags. The speed of a tagged object can negatively impact the read robustness as the amount of time spent by the tag in the read zone decreases with an increase in its speed. This results in a decrease of read robustness for this tag. The number of tags present at one time in the read zone also can hamper read robustness because the number of tags that can be read by a reader per unit time is limited.

3.9.3 Characterization of an RFID System
An RFID system can be characterized in three different ways using the following attributes:
• • •

Operating frequency Read range Physical coupling method

These criteria are interrelated. The first two criteria are most frequently used in practice. All three characterizations are discussed next. Characterization Based on Operating Frequency
Operating frequency is the most important attribute of an RFID system. It is the frequency at which the reader transmits its signal. It is closely associated with the typical reading distance attribute. In most cases, the frequency of an RFID system is determined by its typical reading distance requirement. Frequency has already been described earlier in this chapter. Characterization Based on Read Range
Read range of an RFID system is defined as the reading distance between the tag and the reader. Using this criterion, an RFID system can be divided into the following three types:
• • •

Close coupled Remote coupled Long range

The following subsections describe these types. Close-Coupled System The read range of the RFID systems belonging to this class is less than 1 cm. The LF and HF RFID systems belong to this category. Remote-Coupled System The RFID systems belonging to this class have a read range of 1 cm to 100 cm. Again, this category contains LF and HF RFID systems. Long-Range System RFID systems having a read range of more than 100 cm belong to this class. RFID systems operating in the UHF and microwave frequency range belong to this group. Characterization Based on Physical Coupling Method
Physical coupling refers to the method used for coupling the tag and the antenna (that is, the mechanism by which energy is transferred to the tag from the antenna). Based on this criterion, three different types of RFID systems are possible:
• • •

Magnetic Electric Electromagnetic

These following subsections discuss these different types. Magnetic-Coupled System These types of RFID systems are also known as inductive-coupled systems or inductive-radio systems. Inductive Coupling is the transfer of energy from one circuit to another through a shared magnetic field. An electrical current passing through the coil of a primary conductor creates a magnetic field that induces an electrical current in the coil of a secondary conductor exposed to the magnetic field.

Low Frequency (LF) and High Frequency (HF) passive RFID devices use inductive coupling to transfer energy from the interrogator's antenna to the tag. The tag uses the transferred energy to power circuitry that modulates the impedance of the tag antenna, thereby sending a data stream back through the magnetic field to the interrogator The LF and HF RFID systems belong to this category. An inductively coupled transponder comprises of an electronic data carrying device, usually a single microchip and a large area coil that functions as an antenna. Inductively coupled transponders are almost always operated passively. This means that all the energy needed for the operation of the microchip has to be provided by the reader. For this purpose, the reader's antenna coil generates a strong, high frequency electro-magnetic field, which penetrates the cross-section of the coil area and the area around the coil. Because the wavelength of the frequency range used (< 135 kHz: 2400 m, 13.56 MHz: 22.1 m) is several times greater than the distance between the reader's antenna and the transponder, the electro-magnetic field may be treated as a simple magnetic alternating field with regard to the distance between transponder and antenna. A small part of the emitted field penetrates the antenna coil of the transponder, which is some distance away from the coil of the reader. By induction, a voltage Ui is generated in the transponder's antenna coil. This voltage is rectified and serves as the power supply for the data carrying device (microchip). A capacitor C1 is connected in parallel with the reader's antenna coil, the capacitance of which is selected such that it combines with the coil inductance of the antenna coil to form a parallel resonant circuit, with a resonant frequency that corresponds with the transmission frequency of the reader. Very high currents are generated in the antenna coil of the reader by resonance step-up in the parallel resonant circuit, which can be used to generate the required field strengths for the operation of the remote transponder. The antenna coil of the transponder and the capacitor C1 to form a resonant circuit tuned to the transmission frequency of the reader. The voltage U at the transponder coil reaches a maximum due to resonance step-up in the parallel resonant circuit.

Figure 20: Inductive Coupling

Electric-Coupled System These types of RFID systems are also known as capacitive-coupled systems. The LF and HF RFID systems belong to this category. With capacitive coupling, the antenna’s resistance is no longer a critical factor, so antennas can be constructed from materials of considerably higher resistance than the metals used in inductive technology. In particular, this means that conductive inks, which have a moderate resistance, can be used to form the antenna. Electromagnetic-Coupled System The majority of RFID systems belonging to this class are also called backscatter systems. RFID systems operating in the UHF and microwave frequency range belong to this group. Electromagnetic waves are reflected by objects with dimensions greater than around half the wavelength of the wave. The efficiency with which an object reflects electromagnetic waves is described by its reflection cross-section. Objects that are in resonance with the wave front that hits them, as is the case for antenna at the appropriate frequency for example, have a particularly large reflection cross-section.

Figure 21: Operation principle of a backscatter transponder
Power P1 is emitted from the reader's antenna, a small proportion of which (free space attenuation) reaches the transponder's antenna. The power P1' is supplied to the antenna connections as HF voltage and after rectification by the diodes D1 and D2 this can be used as turn on voltage for the deactivation or activation of the power saving "power-down" mode. The diodes used here are low barrier Schottky diodes, which have a particularly low threshold voltage. The voltage obtained may also be sufficient to serve as a power supply for short ranges. A proportion of the incoming power P1' is reflected by the antenna and returned as power P2. The reflection characteristics (= reflection cross-section) of the antenna can be influenced by altering the load connected to the antenna. In order to transmit data from the transponder to the reader, a load resistor RL connected in parallel with the antenna is switched on and off in time with the data stream to be transmitted. The amplitude of the power P2 reflected from the transponder can thus be modulated (à modulated backscatter). The power P2 reflected from the transponder is radiated into free space. A small proportion of this (free space attenuation) is picked up by the reader's antenna. The reflected signal therefore travels into the antenna connection of the reader in the "backwards direction" and can be decoupled using a directional coupler and transferred to the receiver input of a reader. The "forward" signal of the transmitter, which is stronger

3.9.4 EPC Gen2- An RFID Standard Classification
EPC Gen2 is short for EPC global UHF Class 1 Generation 2.

Initially, two classes of EPC tags—Class 0 and Class 1—existed. An important development has occurred; EPC global member companies have defined a single, next-generation tag standard—UHF Class 1 Generation 2 (Gen 2).

• • • •

Read-Only (Type 0): tags that contain permanent data, commonly referred to as "type 0" tags within the EPC standard Read-Write (Type 0+): a standards-based EPC extension that allows Type 0 tags to be written in real time Read-Write (Type 1): tags that can be written over by a reader; often referred to as "type 1" tags within the EPC standard Class 1, Generation 2: Gen 2 tags retain many of the Gen 1 features while offering key performance, capacity, security and RF efficiency advantages over Gen 1 tags. EPC global is working on international standards for the use of RFID and the EPC in the identification of any item in the supply chain for companies worldwide. One of the missions of EPC global was to simplify the Babel of protocols prevalent in the RFID world in the 1990s. Two tag air interfaces (the protocol for exchanging information between a tag and a reader) were defined (but not ratified) by EPC global prior to 2003. These protocols, commonly known as Class 0 and Class 1, saw significant commercial implementation in 2002-2005. In 2004 the Hardware Action Group created a new protocol, the Class 1 Generation 2 interface, which addressed a number of problems that had been experienced with Class 0 and Class 1 tags. The EPC Gen2 standard was approved in December 2004, and is likely to form the backbone of RFID tag standards moving forward. This was approved after a contention from Intermec that the standard may infringe a number of their RFID related patents. It was decided that the standard itself did not infringe their patents, but it may be necessary to pay royalties to Intermec if the tag were to be read in a particular manner. The EPC Gen2 standard was adopted with minor modifications as ISO 18000-6C in 2006

• Passports
The RFID chips store the same information that is printed within the passport and also include a digital picture of the owner. The passports incorporate a thin metal lining to make it more difficult for unauthorized readers to "skim" information when the passport is closed.

• Transport payments
RFID cards can be used to pay for public transit. It is used in many countries.

• Product tracking
Cattle Identification ca be done using RFID tags as a replacement for barcode tags. The tags are required to identify a bovine's herd of origin and this is used for tracing when a packing plant condemns a carcass

High-frequency RFID tags are used in library book or bookstore tracking, pallet tracking, building access control, airline baggage tracking, and apparel and pharmaceutical item tracking. High-frequency tags are widely used in identification badges, replacing earlier magnetic stripe cards. These badges need only be held within a certain distance of the reader to authenticate the •

Microwave RFID tags are used in long range access control for vehicles. Ford, Honda, and several other manufacturers use rfid-equipped ignition keys as antitheft measures.

• Animal identification
Implanted RFID tags are also used for animal identification. There are several more or less incompatible systems.

• RFID in inventory systems
An advanced automatic identification technology such as the Auto-ID system based on the Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology has two values for inventory systems. First, the visibility provided by this technology allows an accurate knowledge on the inventory level by eliminating the discrepancy between inventory record and physical inventory. Second, the RFID technology can prevent or reduce the sources of errors. Benefits of using RFID include the reduction of labor costs, the simplification of business processes and the reduction of inventory inaccuracies.

• Human implants
Implantable RFID chips designed for animal tagging are now being used in humans.

Security experts are warned against using RFID for authenticating people due to the risk of Identity Theft. Due to the resource-constraints of RFIDs it is virtually impossible to protect against such attack models as this would require complex distancebinding protocols.

Hand with the planned location of the RFID chip

Just after the operation to insert the RFID tag was completed

• RFID in libraries
Among the many uses of RFID technologies is its deployment in libraries. This technology has slowly begun to replace the traditional barcodes on library items (books, CDs, DVDs, etc.). However, the RFID tag can contain identifying information, such as a book’s title or material type, without having to be pointed to a separate database

Sensors such as seismic sensors may be read using RFID transceivers, greatly simplifying remote data collection.

4.1 Serial Port Communication
4.1.1 Why Visual Basic?
Within the last ten years, Visual Basic has become one of the most popular languages for developing business and enterprise applications. In large part, the success of Visual Basic is due to its ability to hide technical complexity and allow developers to focus on the big picture. With Visual Basic, developers can create software that meets the need of their business or their customers without getting bogged down in low-level details like memory management and communications interface implementation Serial communication is a popular means of transmitting data between a computer and a peripheral device such as a programmable instrument or even another computer. Serial communication uses a transmitter to send data, one bit at a time, over a single communication line to a receiver. You can use this method when data transfer rates are low or you must transfer data over long distances. Serial communication is popular because most computers have one or more serial ports, so no extra hardware is needed other than a cable to connect the instrument to the computer or two computers together.

4.1.2 MSComm Control The MSComm control provides serial communications for an application by allowing the transmission and reception of data through a serial port. Syntax MSComm The MSComm control provides the following two ways for handling communications:

Event-driven communications is a very powerful method for handling serial port interactions. In many situations you want to be notified the moment an event takes place, such as when a character arrives or a change occurs in the Carrier Detect (CD) or Request To Send (RTS) lines. In such cases, use the MSComm

control's OnComm event to trap and handle these communications events. The OnComm event also detects and handles communications errors.

You can also poll for events and errors by checking the value of the CommEvent property after each critical function of your program. This may be preferable if your application is small and self-contained. For example, if you are writing a simple phone dialer, it may not make sense to generate an event after receiving every character, because the only characters you plan to receive are the OK response from the modem.

Each MSComm control you use corresponds to one serial port. If there is a need to access more than one serial port in an application, more than one MSComm control must be used. The port address and interrupt address can be changed from the Windows Control Panel. Although the MSComm control has many important properties, a few of them are as under: Table-2: Properties of MSComm Control Properties CommPort Settings PortOpen Input Output Description Sets and returns the communications port number. Sets and returns the baud rate, parity, data bits, and stop bits as a string. Sets and returns the state of a communications port. Also opens and closes a port. Returns and removes characters from the receive buffer. Writes a string of characters to the transmit buffer.

Table 2: Handshake Constants Constant comNone comXonXoff comRTS comRTSXOnXOff Value 0 1 2 3 Description No handshaking. XOn/XOff handshaking. Request-to-send/clear-to-send handshaking. Both request-to-send and XOn/XOff handshaking.

Table 3: OnComm Constants Constant comEvSend comEvReceive comEvCTS comEvDSR comEvCD comEvRing comEvEOF Value Description 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Send event. Receive event. Change in clear-to-send line. Change in data-set ready line. Change in carrier detect line. Ring detect. End of file.

Table 4: Error Constants Constant comEventBreak comEventFrame comEventOverrun comEventRxOver comEventRxParity comEventTxFull comEventDCB Value 1001 1004 1006 1008 1009 1010 1011 Description Break signal received Framing error Port overrun Receive buffer overflow Parity error Transmit buffer full Unexpected error retrieving Device Control Block (DCB) for the port

Table 5: InputMode Constants Constant comInputModeText Value 0 Description (Default) Data is retrieved through the Input property as text.



Data is retrieved through the Input property as binary data.

MSComm Control Example The following simple example shows basic serial communications using a modem: Private Sub Form_Load () 'Buffer to hold input string Dim Instring As String 'Use COM1. MSComm1.CommPort = 1 '9600 baud, no parity, 8 data, and 1 stop bit. MSComm1.Settings = "9600,N,8,1" 'Tell the control to read entire buffer when Input 'is used. MSComm1.InputLen = 0 'Open the port. MSComm1.PortOpen = True ‘Send the attention command to the modem. MSComm1.Output = "ATV1Q0" & Chr$(13) ' Ensure that 'the modem responds with "OK". 'Wait for data to come back to the serial port. Do DoEvents Buffer$ = Buffer$ & MSComm1.Input Loop Until InStr(Buffer$, "OK" & vbCRLF) 'Read the "OK" response data in the serial port. 'Close the serial port.

MSComm1.PortOpen = False End Sub 4.1.3 Overview of Serial Port Communication with example An IBM compatible PC is usually equipped with two serial ports and one parallel port for external communication. A serial port sends and receives data bit by bit compared to the parallel port in which data is received and transmitted in multiple bits. A serial port started out as an interface between a Data Terminal Equipment (such as a monitor) and data communication equipment (such as a modem). In the beginning the serial port was used primarily so that the data could be displayed on the terminal that was typed in by the keyboard, but with advances in technology the applications of serial ports also increased as manufacturers started using serial ports for a lot of applications. Also people started using it for a lot more applications as engineers used it for data acquisition. Programmers use it to interface additional devices like the printer or another computer for direct talking between the computers. Today with advances in technology a serial port is used for data transfer to handheld like palms. But with the serial port was the problem of programming it to do specific tasks. Earlier it was being programmed in DOS. But with advances in computer Technology with windows taking over the DOS, there needed to be ways to have a serial interface with the computer and Visual Basic seems to provide a relatively easy way of interfacing the serial port and hence we use it more often now-a-days. Examples Visual Basic uses the Microsoft Comm. Control 6.0 component for serial interfacing. Below are two examples that will guide u through how to do serial interfacing using Visual Basic. Example 1: To Display a User typed in text on a terminal connected to the serial Port of a Computer This program is to output simple text that would be displayed on a terminal connected to the serial port of the computer. The following steps will guide through the process of building a form. 1) Start Visual Basic and choose a standard exe project. 2) Create the form as shown below

Form To choose the Mscomm control, click on the Project and then components and select the Microsoft Comm Controls 6. A telephone icon is displayed on the tool box. Double click on it to select it and it is displayed on the form. The Properties of the Mscomm1 are selected as shown in the properties windows below.

Property Window

Once the form is done as shown above, then we enter the code as described below the first part of the code would be to enable the comm port, this is done as shown in the code below. Private Sub optenable_Click() 'Enable Port MSComm1.PortOpen = True 'Configure Port as Output MSComm1.Output = "CPA00000000" + Chr(13) End Sub

As the user types the words in the text window, the words have to be outputted to the terminal through the serial port and this is achieved using the code shown below. Private Sub cmdEnter_Click() MSComm1.Output = txtInput.Text + Chr(13) End Sub Once we are done using the com port we need to disable the port and this is done using the code shown below. Private Sub optDisable_Click() MSComm1.PortOpen = False End Sub After the Program is executed if we want to quit the program we use the code shown below. Private Sub cmdExit_Click() 'Quit the application End End Sub

4.1.4 Serial communication parameters:
• • • •

The baud rate of the transmission The number of data bits encoding a character The sense of the optional parity bit The number of stop bits

Baud rate is a measure of how fast data are moving between instruments that use serial communication. RS-232 uses only two voltage states, called MARK and SPACE. In such a two-state coding scheme, the baud rate is identical to the maximum number of bits of information, including control bits that are transmitted per second. MARK is a negative voltage, and SPACE is positive. Figure 2 shows how the idealized signal looks on an oscilloscope. The following is the truth table for RS-232: Signal>3V=0 Signal>-3V=1

The output signal level usually swings between +12 V and -12 V. The dead area between +3 V and -3 V is designed to absorb line noise. A start bit signals the beginning of each character frame. It is a transition from negative (MARK) to positive (SPACE) voltage. Its duration in seconds is the reciprocal of the baud rate. If the instrument is transmitting at 9,600 baud, the duration of the start bit and each subsequent bit is about 0.104 ms. The entire character frame of eleven bits would be transmitted in about 1.146 ms. Data bits are transmitted upside down and backwards. That is, inverted logic is used, and the order of transmission is from least significant bit (LSB) to most significant bit (MSB). To interpret the data bits in a character frame, you must read from right to left and read 1 for negative voltage and 0 for positive voltage. This yields 1101101 (binary) or 6D (hex). An ASCII conversion table shows that this is the letter m. An optional parity bit follows the data bits in the character frame. The parity bit, if present, also follows inverted logic, 1 for negative voltage and 0 for positive voltage. This bit is included as a simple means of error handling. You specify ahead of time whether the parity of the transmission is to be even or odd. If the parity is chosen to be odd, the transmitter then sets the parity bit in such a way as to make an odd number of ones among the data bits and the parity bit. This transmission uses odd parity. There are five ones among the data bits, already an odd number, so the parity bit is set to 0. The last part of a character frame consists of 1, 1.5, or 2 stop bits. These bits are always represented by a negative voltage. If no further characters are transmitted, the line stays in the negative (MARK) condition. The transmission of the next character frame, if any, is heralded by a start bit of positive (SPACE) voltage.

4.1.5 I/O Functions in Visual Basic Return values: All functions return a 1 if successful and a 0 if un-successful. Except for ReadString() which returns the string read from the port. Open (PortName, Setup) Result = IO1.Open ("LPT1:", "") 'Open a parallel Port. Result = IO1.Open ("COM2:", "baud=9600 parity=N data=8 stop=1") 'Open a serial Port. Close () 'Closes an open port. Result = IO1.Close ()

WriteString(Data) Result = IO1.WriteString("Hello World" + Chr(13) + Chr(10)) 'Sends "Hello World" to a printer or other device. ReadString(Length) String = IO1.ReadString(30) 'Reads data from a port. Typically a request for data

precedes this command.

WriteByte(Data) Result = IO1.WriteByte(Chr(10)) 'Sends Line feed to a printer or other device. ReadByte(Length) Result = IO1.ReadByte() 'Reads 1 data byte from a port. Typically a request for data precedes this command.

SetTimeOut(Time) Result = IO1.SetTimeOut(20) 'Sets timeout factor, how long a request is tried before an error is returned.

SetHandshaking(HSMethod) Result = IO1.SetHandshaking(2) 'Serial ports Only. 0 = None, 1 = Xon/Xoff, 2 = Hardware

Full Example: Dim Result As Integer Dim Str As String Result = IO1.Open ("LPT1:", "") 'Open a parallel Port. Result = IO1.WriteString ("Hello World" + Chr(13) + Chr(10)) Result = IO1.WriteString (Chr(5)) 'Request data Str = IO1.ReadString(30) 'Read result Result = IO1.Close () 'Close the port now that we are done

ADR serial data acquisition interfaces require the sending and receiving of ASCII data to operate. To communicate with the ADR boards using Visual Basic, the MsComm control must be utilized to allow serial data transfer via a serial port ( Com1-Com4). MSComm is a custom control shipped with VB4.0 and VB5.0 and must be loaded using the Tools menu. .

The program was built using radio buttons for port control, three command buttons, a text box to display analog data and the MSComm control for serial communications. When run, the port is enabled using the radio buttons and then AN0 is read every time the "Read AN0" button is clicked. The analog data is then displayed in text box 1. PA0 can be set or reset using the "SET PA0" or "RESET PA0" buttons. When run, the program appears as follows,

The MSComm properties allow the setting of communication parameters including port selection and port enabling functions. The properties window is shown below. Note the default settings for MSComm allow communication with the ADR interfaces by merely selecting a com port ( com2 in our example ), and enabling the port. The communication parameters of 9600,n,8,1 are the default parameters and need not be altered to communicate with ADR products.

The com port must be enabled to allow communication with the ADR board. The code for the "Port Enable" radio button is

The port is enabled by setting MSComm1.PortOpen to TRUE. A "CPA00000000" command is then sent using the MSComm1.Output function to configure port A as output. The Chr (13) variable is a carriage return required by the ADR board. The "Read AN0" button reads analog port 0 and displays the data in text box 1. The code for this button is shown below.

The RD0 command is sent using the MSComm1.Output function and then the program loops until five characters are received into the serial buffer. ( The ADR112 returns four ASCII characters ranging from 0000 to 4095 and a carriage return in response to a RD0 command. If an ADR101 is used, the loop should be set to 4 characters as a value of 000 to 255 will be returned along with a carriage return.) The analog value is then retrieved and displayed in text box 1. The SETPA0 button simply sends a SETPA0 command to the ADR112. The code for this button is shown below.

The RESPA0 button simply sends a RESPA0 command to the ADR112. The code for this button is shown below.

Before exiting the program, the comm port must be disabled. This is done with the "Port Disable" radio button. The code for this button is shown below.


4.2 RS-232
The RS-232 is a standard developed by the Electronic Industries Association (EIA) and other interested parties, specifying the serial interface between Data Terminal Equipment (DTE) and Data Communications Equipment (DCE). The RS-232 standard includes electrical signal characteristics (voltage levels), interface mechanical characteristics (connectors), functional description of interchange circuits (the function of each electrical signal), and some recipes for common kinds of terminal-to-modem connections. The most frequently encountered revision of this standard is called RS232C. Parts of this standard have been adopted (with various degrees of fidelity) for use in serial communications between computers and printers, modems, and other equipment. The serial ports on standard IBM-compatible personal computers follow RS232.

Figure 25: (1) External Device (2) RS 232 Cable (3) RS232 Enabled CPU

Each transmitted character is packaged in a character frame that consists of a single start bit followed by the data bits, the optional parity bit, and the stop bit or bits. Figures show a typical character frame encoding the letter m.

Figure 26: Character Frame Encoding

4.3 Some Programming Terminologies:
4.3.1 PORT ENABLING Port selection and enable functions can be programmed in the "load" and "unload" subroutines in the "form" object or they may be controlled by radio buttons or pull down menus. 4.3.2 RECIEVING DATA When receiving data from the ADR board be sure to wait for the correct number of characters to be received in the serial buffer. Check your ADR programming manual for the correct number of characters to be received and add one for the carriage return. The ADR1000 sends both a carriage return and line feed thus two must be added to the number of characters expected. 4.3.3 USING VARIABLES In many cases it may be desired to send a string incorporating a command and some variable. For example, the "MAddd" command outputs to port A, the integer value ddd. If ddd is a variable named PV, a string to set the port to the value of this variable would look like; MSComm1.Output = “MA” & Str(PV) + Chr(13) The "Str" function converts the variable to an ASCII string and it is appended to "MA". The Chr(13) is a carriage return.

4.4 Some RFID facts
There isn't a day goes by when you don't read another article about RFID in one magazine or another. And the sad thing is they are being written by people who often do not have a clue as to what RFID is or how it works. Many of them are not involved in the RFID world on a daily basis and the things they report are often "hearsay" and opinion from others. Here are a few of the facts as we see them, as well as some opinions from someone who is working in the arena. 1. Standards are a long way off! – WRONG Whether you are talking ISO or EPC global™ the standards are NOT a long way off. In the ISO world, the standards for 2.45GHz, UHF (860 - 960MHz), and 433MHz (active) are already approved. The standards for 125-134 kHz and 13.56 MHz are complete and in the final ballot stage. The ballots are complete and published. The main vendors of these products have been working in the ISO arena to help create these

standards and so are fully aware of the technical specifications and have already started production in some cases to anticipate the publication. In the EPCglobal™ world, things are moving just as fast. The specifications for the original (Generation 1) Class 0 and Class 1 tags have been published and there will be interoperability testing done in the summer. The new Generation 2 specifications are also moving along and are close to completion (technically). There are various steps that have to be taken before acceptance and publication of this specification. The main vendors of the EPC technology are all participating in the work and so should know what is happening in advance of the publication of the specification to allow hardware designs to start as soon as possible. 2. What is the difference between ISO and EPCglobal™ UHF specifications? Many have questioned the difference between ISO and EPCglobal™ UHF specifications and why we have two different sets of specifications. When the work in ISO started, there was no EPCglobal™ and the consensus was that we needed a standard to provide the full read/write capabilities with memory. Thus the ISO standard which is published is for a full read/write tag without references to a numbering system. The tag can be used for any UHF application. The EPCglobal™ world set a goal for a low cost tag at the basic level. So it has limited functionality (depending on class) (read only, limited memory etc.) and has a reference to a numbering system. The class system allows for more functionality at increased cost levels. The ISO community is ready to adopt whatever EPCglobal™ comes up with as the Generation 2 air interface and move it forward as a version C of the ISO 18000 standard. 3. EPCglobal™ Generation 2 is a read only tag! – WRONG The concept of the EPCglobal™ system is to have several classes of tags that define the functionality. When the original Class 0 and Class1 tags were approved it was realized that they are not compatible with each other and that there is no path forward to make higher class tags that have backward compatibility. At the same time some users were suggesting that the current Class 0 and 1 specifications were inadequate for their needs. So EPCglobal™ decided to move on to a Generation 2 of EPC tags. From the original ideas, Class 1 tags are Write Once Read Many (WORM) tags with minimum memory to hold the EPC number. Class 2 tags are passive field programmable tags with user memory, encryption, etc. Class 3 tags are semi-passive tags with user memory, encryption, etc. And Class 4 tags are active tags with user memory, encryption, etc. The ideal goal is have one protocol that talks to all forms of UHF tags - this is Generation 2. 4. Class vs. Generation? A quick way to help understand this easily misunderstood area is to think as follows: Classes define the capability of the RFID tag from Class 0 to Class 4. Each Class has more capability than the one below it and is backwards compatible. Generations

refer to the revisions of the specification. The first version (or generation) of Class 0 and Class 1 tags has been posted to the EPCglobal™ web site. The new work on UHF Generation 2 is progressing well and should be available in the Fall. Generation 2 will apply to several classes of tag. 5. Patent issues will kill RFID! – WRONG In the ISO arena there is a policy which states that standards should use technology that is freely available where possible. If technology exists that is protected by patents etc. and that technology is needed to implement a system, then the company holding the IP (Intellectual Property) signs an agreement to make it available to everyone on fair and reasonable terms without discrimination. This is how the ISO 18000 standards have been created. In EPC global™ the original goal was to have a Royalty Free (RF) set of specifications. However, in the field of RFID many people have put a lot of time and money into developing technology and they have patents that protect their work. This means that it is very difficult to design an RFID system that does not infringe on one or more of these patents. EPCglobal™ has stated they will possibly allow RAND (Reasonable and Non Discriminatory) licensing of technology as a alternative to RF. This may prove to be necessary when all the research is concluded. However, this is most likely to be a license to manufacture hardware and is unlikely to affect the user community. NOTE: EPCglobal™ only requires its "members" to sign documents about declaring IP required implementing the specification ahead of time. The thousands of patents held by companies that are not members of EPCglobal™ are still out there, and though they are mostly application patents, they may be an issue. 6. All applications can be accomplished with UHF! – WRONG There are six frequency ranges that RFID technology is allowed to operate in. They are LF (125 - 135 kHz), HF (13.56 MHz), 433 MHz, UHF (860- 960 MHz), 2.45 GHz, and 5.8 GHz. Each of these frequency areas has advantages and disadvantages. Many applications can be accomplished using UHF technology but some of them will not work as well as they might with other frequencies. UHF technology is good when longer distance reads are needed, but many companies have seen problems with UHF when exposed to liquid or metal objects. Other frequencies that are far less susceptible to the effects of these materials may be a much better solution (LF or HF are better for these applications). If an application needs to be compliant with others using UHF, then it is obvious that this is the best way to go. If it is a closed application then there are many choices in the RFID world and some of them may be much better than UHF. 7. RFID will not take off until the tags cost less than five cents! – WRONG For many projects you do not need a $0.05 tag to be able to justify the project. The cost of RFID tags has been high. Many vendors are still charging in the $0.50 range. The cost of a tag is defined by many things: cost of silicon, silicon processing, die handling and attachment process, antenna design, form factor of tag. Each of these

processes has to be optimized to get the lowest cost tag price. Many companies are working to do this, not just for EPC global™ tags but for all RFID tags. The final factor in all this is volume. If there is a large enough order, the price will fall as economies of scale come in to play. This is true for all frequencies of RFID tags. Of course some tags will always be more expensive than others; the cost of a wire antenna is likely to always be more than that of a printed one. The five cent tag is still in the future when manufacturing techniques have been devised to help reduce the cost, but many applications can show a good ROI on tags at the 50 cents level. 8. RFID is available now! – RIGHT Although you cannot buy an ISO 18000 standard yet (mid August 2004) or see the EPCglobal™ Generation 2 specification (Oct 2004?), RFID is available now in many different forms. RFID is NOT NEW. There have been commercial applications of RFID available for more than ten years. While standards are good and very important, if you are implementing a closed system, the technology you need may well be available right now. 9. I must implement RFID or my competitors will overtake me! – WRONG Although there are a lot of stories about RFID, the one where it is going to save your company and ensure large profits for the rest of your life probably isn't true. As with all business decisions, you need to look carefully at the need for RFID and determine if there is a Return on Investment or a mandate that says you must implement? 10. RFID is going to take away our privacy! – WRONG Privacy is important to all of us, but there are sometimes reasons that we are prepared to give away some of that privacy. Think about cell phones, loyalty cards, credit cards. Each of these has taken away some of our privacy but we are willing to sacrifice to get the advantage of the item. RFID will be very similar. We will be willing to share information on some things to gain the advantages it will give us. Should it be government controlled - absolutely NOT. Should the end user be made aware of the issue- YES. RFID tags cannot be read by a satellite in the sky. They do not contain your life history (or your purchasing history). You cannot tell what color underwear someone is wearing, simply by reading the tag in a library book. To tie any of these things together will require access to many databases and presume knowledge that will difficult to find.

Various readers are programmed according to the specific requirements. The memory settings and configuration of the RFID chips are studied and interfaces, with the help of software are designed to make them communicate effectively with the reader. Different interfaces can be designed to read just the Tag ID, or sometimes the page number and page settings also. All this is done with the help of Visual Basic. Although other programming languages like C or C# can also be used, but Visual Basic is often the most effective and easy interface. At Barcode India Ltd, all work is done in Visual Basic. During my stay at the company I studied the working and interfacing of the following RFID Readers: (1.) HITAG Proximity Reader Module RS232. (2.) MiFare Standard card IC MF1 IC S50

A wave is a disturbance that transports energy from one point to another. Electromagnetic waves are created by electrons in motion and consist of oscillating electric and magnetic fields. These waves can pass through a number of different material types. The highest point of a wave is called a crest, and the lowest point is called a trough. The distance between two consecutive crests or two consecutive troughs is called the wavelength. One complete wavelength of oscillation of a wave is called a cycle. The time taken by a wave to complete one cycle is called its period of oscillation. The number of cycles in a second is called the frequency of the wave. The frequency of a wave is measured in hertz (abbreviated as Hz) and named in honor of the German physicist Heinrich Rudolf Hertz. If the frequency of a wave is 1 Hz, it means that the wave is oscillating at the rate of one cycle per second. It is common to express frequency in KHz (or kilohertz = 1,000 Hz), MHz (or megahertz = 1,000,000 Hz), or GHz (or gigahertz = 1,000,000,000 Hz). Amplitude is the height of a crest or the depth of a trough from the undisturbed position. The former is also called the positive amplitude, and the latter the negative amplitude. In general, the amplitude at a certain point of a wave is its height or depth from the undisturbed position, and is called positive or negative accordingly. Radio or radio frequency (RF) waves are electromagnetic waves with wavelengths between 0.1 cm and 1,000 km. Another equivalent definition in terms of frequency is radio waves are electromagnetic waves whose frequencies lie between 30 Hz and 300 GHz. Other electromagnetic wave types are infrared, visible light wave, ultraviolet, gamma-ray, x-ray, and cosmic-ray. RFID uses radio waves that are generally between the frequencies of 30 KHz and 5.8 GHz. A continuous wave (CW) is a radio wave with constant frequency and amplitude. From a communications vantage, a CW does not have any embedded information in it but can be modulated to transmit a signal. Modulation refers to the process of changing the characteristics of a radio wave to encode some information-bearing signal. Modulation can also refer to the result of applying the modulation process to a radio wave.

Radio waves can be affected by the material through which they propagate. A material is called RF-lucent or RF-friendly for a certain frequency if it lets radio waves at this frequency pass through it without any substantial loss of energy. A material is called RF-opaque if it blocks, reflects, and scatters RF waves. A material can allow the radio waves to propagate through it but with substantial loss of energy. These types of materials are referred to as RF-absorbent. The RF-absorbent or RF-opaque property of a material is relative, because it depends on the frequency. That is, a material that is RFopaque at a certain frequency could be RF-lucent at a different frequency. The RF properties of some example materials are provided in Table 1-2, following a discussion of RFID frequency types.

Introduction The ISO RFID Data Protocol, as defined in ISO/IEC 15961 and 15962, is an interface between an application, such as a library management system, and the RFID tag. The figure below illustrates the components. ISO/IEC 15961 Application Interface The Application Commands and Responses allow business level communication between the application and the RFID tag, instead of using the lower level air interface commands. Object Identifiers are used to provide unique codes for the data. This approach offers two significant advantages: 1• The same type of standard tag can be used for different applications, bringing economies of scale to many sectors. 1• User organizations are able to define a flexible set of data elements that form the data dictionary from which the most relevant can be selected in a particular system. The data dictionary can be extended and modified over time with minimal system changes. The system information deals with features concerned with configuring the tag for access purposes across the air interface and for efficient encoding.

ISO/IEC 15962 Encoding Rules The encoding rules achieve a combination of flexibility and efficiency for the bytes that are encoded on the RFID tag:

1• Data is compacted efficiently using the set of compaction techniques that reduce the
encoding on the RFID tag and across the air interface.

1• The data formatter minimizes the encoding of the object identifiers on the RFID tag
and on the air interface, but still provides complete flexibility for identifying specific data without the recourse to rigid message structures. The syntactical encoding rules effectively create a self-defining message structure for each tag. This allows optional data from the application data dictionary to be selected, for variable length data to be encoded, and for different formats of data (e.g. numeric or alphanumeric) being encoded as efficiently as possible. Through the rules of ISO/IEC 15962, it is possible to correctly interpret the data on the tag without any prior knowledge of what data is encoded on the tag. This is important for supply chain situations and inter-library loans. The tag driver is the interface between the generic data protocol and the specific type of RFID tag used in an application. System information held on the RFID tag is used to configure a logical memory structure within the Data Protocol so that the bytes from the tag can be correctly read or bytes created in the logical memory can be correctly transferred to the RFID tag through the tag driver. The tag driver effectively converts the business level commands into a series of air interface commands; it also takes the business level data provided by the commands, processed by the encoding rules of ISO/IEC 15962 into the relevant byte stream to transfer to the RFID tag. The entire process is reversed for reading information from the tag, where the encoding rules decompose the data, recreate object identifiers, and transfer this back as application responses.

Periodicals: [1]. Sandip Lahiri “RFID-A technology Overview”, Prentice Hall PTR, Sep 30, 2005. [2]. Varchaver, Nicholas (2004-05-31) "Scanning the Globe" Fortune Retrieved on 2006-11-27. [3]. Dr.J.N.Stanford “Antenna Design Consideration for RFID Applications”, Cushcraft Corporation [4]Eugene F. Brighan, the Bar Code Manual, Thompson Learning, ISBN 0-03-016173-8 [5]. Dargan, Gaurav; Johnson, Brian; Panchalingam, Mukunthan; Stratis, Chris (2004). “The Use of Radio Frequency Identification as a Replacement for Traditional Barcoding”. Retrieved on 2006-05-31. [6]. Landt, Jerry (2001). Shrouds of Time: The history of RFID (PDF). AIM, Inc.. Retrieved on 2006-05-31. [7]. Intermec Education Services. Understanding RFID - Educational Video. Retrieved on 2006-08-26. [8]. News release: World's smallest and thinnest 0.15 x 0.15 mm, 7.5µm thick RFID IC chip. Hitachi, Ltd (2006-02-06). Retrieved on 2007-01-26. [9]. Hara, Yoshiko. "Hitachi advances paper-thin RFID chip", EETimes, 2006-02-06. Retrieved on 2007-01-26. [10]. Roberti, Mark. "[A 5-Cent Breakthrough", RFID Journal, 2006-05-06. Retrieved on 2007-01-26. [11]. Radio Frequency Identification: An Introduction for Library Professionals. Alan Butters. Australasian Public Libraries v19.n4 (2006) pp.2164-174. [12]. "The State of RFID Applications in Libraries." Jay Singh et al. Information Technology & Libraries no.1(Mar.2006) pp.24-32. [13]. "Radio Frequency Identification." Rachel Wadham. "Library Mosaics" v14 no.5 (S/O 2003) pg.22. [14]. "RFID Poses No Problem for Patron Privacy." "American Libraries" v34 no11 (D 2003) pg.86. [15]. US Customs and Border Protection NEXUS website US Customs and Border Protection SENTRI website [16]. NADRA Driving LicenseNADRA Driving License

[17]. E. Schuster, S. Allen, D. Brock: Global RFID: The Value of the EPCglobal Network for Supply Chain Management, Springer 2007 [18]. Fisher, Jill A. 2006. Indoor Positioning and Digital Management: Emerging Surveillance Regimes in Healthcare. In T. Monahan (Ed), Surveillance and Security: Technological Politics and Power in Everyday Life (pp. 77-88). New York: Routledge. [19]. RFID chips can carry viruses. Ars Technica. Retrieved on 2006-08-26. [20]. RFID Passports cracked.Easily, cheaply, and quickly wired. Retrieved on 2007-0321. [21]. RFID Passports cracked through the mail. the register. Retrieved on 2007-03-21. [22]. Spy Chips press release [23]. Greene, Thomas C. (2004). Feds approve human RFID implants. Retrieved on 200703-01. [24]. Albrecht & McIntyre (2006). The Spy chips Threat: Why Christians Should Resist RFID and Electronic Surveillance, Tennessee: Nelson Current ISBN 1595550216 [25]. Gilbert, Alorie (2006). is RFID the mark of the beast?. Retrieved on 200612-18. [26]. Brown, Jim (2005). Group Fears RFID Chips Could Herald 'Mark of the Beast'. Agape Press. Retrieved on 2006-12-18. [27]. Baard, Mark (2006). RFID: Sign of the (End) Times?. Retrieved on 200612-18.

Books: [1]. Steven Holzner “Visual Basic 6, Black Book”, Coriolis Technology Press, 2006. Websites: [1]. [2]. [3]. [4]. [5].

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