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Common RFID Standards And Protocols You Must Know

rfid standard

Through radio frequency signals, RFID technology automatically identifies target objects and obtains the relevant data. RFID tags and readers have to abide by the mutually agreed communication protocols to achieve reliable, secure, and effective data communication. RFID standards and protocols make the basis of RFID chip design. The common international RFID standards and protocols are ISO/IEC 14443, ISO11784, ISO/IEC 18000, ISO11785, EPC Gen2, and ISO/IEC 15693.


RFID standards and protocols


Several industry standards are in place that define the different elements of RFID and enable manufacturers to make the same products for a variety of markets and gain economies of scale. These standards enable products from different manufacturers to operate together. The two main international RFID standards bodies or organizations that govern RFID are; EPCglobal- Electronics Product Code Global incorporated and ISO- International Standards Organisation. The ISO RFID standards fall into several categories including; data content and the formatting, air interface and associated protocols, conformance testing, and applications.


1. ISO 11784/11785 (134.2 kHz LF)


They regulate the RFID of animals by attaching a transponder containing a microchip to the animal. ISO 11784 specifies the structure of the identification code including reader specification and transponder data transmission method working on 134.2 kHz. ISO 11785 specifies how a transponder is activated and how the stored information is transferred to a receiver. According to this standard, RFID tags from different manufacturers can be read using a common reader.


2. ISO/IEC 15693 (13.56 MHz HF)


It is a popular HF (13.56 MHz) standard that is widely used for credit cards and non-contact smart payments. The application is more flexible and allows a maximum reading distance of 100mm. It is widely used in jewelry inventory, asset management, production automation, access control, logistics, and supply chain.


3. ISO/IEC 14443 (13.56 MHz HF)


This protocol operates at 13.56 MHz (RFID HF) and it is divided into two types; Type A and Type B. The main difference between the two lies in their coding schemes, modulation, and anti-collision methods.


ISO/IEC 14443A

Mainly used in the transportation field, bus cards, urban construction access cards, and small stored value consumption cards with a high market share. They have a strong anti-interference ability but poor power stability.


ISO/IEC 14443B

More suitable for CPU cards and is generally used for passports, ID cards, and bank cards because the encryption coefficient is relatively high. It is relatively vulnerable to external environment interference but has good stability and is highly secure.



4. ISO/IEC 18000 series (860-960 MHz UHF)


These cover the communication frequency from 125 kHz to 2.45 GHz. They are mainly passive tags. However, active tags can be used for containers. There are 7 standards with the ISO 18000 series;

  • 18000-1; Generic parameters for air interfaces for globally accepted frequencies.
  • 18000-2; Air interface for 135 kHz.
  • 18000-3; Air interface for 13.56 MHz.
  • 18000-4; Air interface for 2.45 GHz.
  • 18000-5; Air interface for 5.8 GHz.
  • 18000-6; Air interface for 860 MHz to 930 MHz.
  • 18000-7; Air interface at 433.92 MHz.


5. EPC Gen2 (860-960 MHz UHF)


Its standard is similar to ISO 18000-6C which is widely used for medium and long distances. Tags under the EPC Gen 2 protocol have a good confidentiality performance and they can be read and written repeatedly.


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