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FAQs

Within the IST’s program framework, several projects have been set up.

Is RFID more secure than the bar codes technology ?

We consider that RFID is not necessarily "better" than bar codes. However the contactless technology presents some key advantages over the bar codes one.

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No line of sight needed

The contactless chips do not need any line of sight to be read by the readers improving the process. For instance, the chips can even be read when they are stored in boxes without opening them. At the opposite, bar codes need to be oriented to be identified by the scanner.

   
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Anti-collision management

Unlike bar codes, several RFID chips can be read by the same reader simultaneously (up to 50 chips per second). The anti-collision management enables faster products inventories or people identification.

   
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Withstand harsh environmental conditions

RFID chips can be embedded in some packaging withstanding harsh environmental conditions like high temperatures, water, shocks. On the contrary when the bar codes label is soiled, ripped or withstands under harsh conditions, the reading can not be performed anymore.

   
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Information storage and Read/Write capability

The amount of information which can be stored onto the RFID chip is much more important than the amount stored on the bar codes. Onto the RFID chip, information related to the product or owner (name, picture, fingerprint) can be easily saved and modified several times.

http://www.insidecontactless.com

   

Will RFID replace bar codes?

Probably not. Bar codes are inexpensive and effective for certain tasks. It is likely that RFID and bar codes will coexist for many years

http://www.rfidjournal.com/article/articleview/207

   

Are contactless smart cards as secured as contact smart cards?

Contactless technology is only a communication channel. Transactions are made over the air for contactless instead of wires for contact. Memory protection, keys and authentication process are all the same

http://www.insidecontactless.com

   

Is there a risk of stealing information?

Information stored on both smart cards or contactless ones can be stolen or intercepted. However manufacturers have developed cryptographic security to prevent anyone to steal the information during the data exchange. Besides the security system can be enhanced by asking the owner to identify himself with a password, a pin or a biometric template.

http://www.insidecontactless.com

   

Contactless smart cards and biometrics?

One can store biometrics data onto a contactless smart card. For instance the fingerprint or picture of the cardholder can be stored onto the card.

http://www.insidecontactless.com

   

What is the difference between low-, high-, and ultra-high frequencies?

Just as your radio tunes in to different frequency to hear different channels, RFID tags and readers have to be tuned to the same frequency to communicate. RFID systems use many different frequencies, but generally the most common are low- (around 125 KHz), high- (13.56 MHz) and ultra-high frequency, or UHF (850-900 MHz). Microwave (2.45 GHz) is also used in some applications. Radio waves behave differently at different frequency, so you have to choose the right frequency for the right application.

http://www.rfidjournal.com/article/articleview/207

   

What’s the difference between passive and active tags?

Active RFID tags have a battery, which is used to run the microchip's circuitry and to broadcast a signal to a reader (the way a cell phone transmits signals to a base station). Passive tags have no battery. Instead, they draw power from the reader, which sends out electromagnetic waves that induce a current in the tag's antenna. Semi-passive tags use a battery to run the chip's circuitry, but communicate by drawing power from the reader. Active and semi-passive tags are useful for tracking high-value goods that need to be scanned over long ranges, such as railway cars on a track, but they cost a dollar or more, making them too expensive to put on low-cost items. The Auto-ID Center is focusing on passive tags, which cost under a dollar today. Their read range isn't as far - less than ten feet vs. 100 feet or more for active tags - but they are far less expensive than active tags and require no maintenance.

http://www.rfidjournal.com/article/articleview/207

   

Are there any standards for RFID

Yes. International standards have been adopted for some very specific applications, such as tracking animals. Many other standards initiatives are under way. The most interesting efforts involve GTag, which is promoted by EAN and UCC as a way to communicate with UHF tags; ISO 18000-6, which is an international effort that forms the foundation for the GTag standard; and the Auto-ID Center’s electronic product code. The EPC and the technology surrounding it is not a standard in any formal way, but the Auto-ID Center hopes that it will be widely adopted and become the de facto standard

http://www.rfidjournal.com/article/articleview/207

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