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Active RFID vs Passive RFID

Whether you end up choosing passive, active RFID or both for your organization, the overall goal is really the same:

  • Increase productivity

  • Decrease the time spent looking for assets with man-hours

  • Increase workplace safety

Everything comes down to saving money through automation with technology. RFID can help your organization achieve these goals.

Passive RFID

What is Passive RFID?

Passive RFID tags have no battery built into them. Instead, the tags have an antenna and microchip built into them. The tags are powered by an external reader. Things to consider with passive:

Limited Range

  • Passive tags only get a maximum range of about 30 feet. This is an optimal tag in an optimal environment.

  • The smaller the tag, the smaller the range.

  • Tag selection is critically important. Some tags will not work on materials such as metal. It is best to work with an RFID expert in selecting tags to maximize your range.

Many passive tags can be read at the same time

Dozens of passive RFID tags can be read simultaneously by an RFID reader. Passive RFID offers much higher throughput compared to a barcode system.

Lean on an expert for guidance with automation through RFID

Passive tags can get up to the 30 feet in optimal environments, but how many environments can really be considered optimal? Workplaces are usually complex environments and you may find in testing that you aren't getting the types of reliability that you were hoping for. This is why setting up a field trial with a trusted organization can help guide you to success with your passive RFID project

Choose the right reader hardware

RFID tags won't do anything for you without RFID readers in place. There are two primary choices for these readers:

  • Fixed RFID Readers - These readers are mounted on a wall or ceiling and are constantly monitoring for RFID tags to report to the software system.

  • Handheld Scanners - A handheld scanner which is carried around and used to read RFID tags on the go. These scanners work great for periodic inventories, shipping environments, or any environments where the user needs to be able to move around, reading RFID tags.

Active RFID

What is Active RFID?

Active tags have a battery built into them are generally far more capable than passive RFID tags. The tags don't require any receiver to be powered are capable of different advanced communication methods.

Superior range

An Active RFID tag will always be able to offer superior range compared to a passive RFID tag. Remember that a passive RFID tag can only get up to 30 feet in perfect environments. How about Active?

  • V-Tag - InfinID Technology manufactures this Active RFID tag which supports mesh networking. V-Tag provides a tag-to-tag range of up to 300 feet.

  • V-Tag GPS - InfinID Technology's primary outdoor Active RFID tag. This tag uses GPS and can get a range of nearly 1 mile!

Sensors are available

Active RFID tags can also have sensors built into them as well. These sensors can be highly useful to a variety of different industries. Here is an example of common sensors:

  • Temperature

  • Shock

  • Humidity

  • Battery Levels

Custom sensors can also be added to active RFID tag designs as they are typically designed to be expandable in their sensor configurations.

There is no one winner

When is comes to Active vs Passive RFID, there is no single winner. It mostly comes down to individual user requirements.

The hybrid approach

Many customers end up choose a hybrid approach to RFID. Some of their applications are a better fit for Passive and some require an Active RFID solution.

Choose the right solution

Picking the right technology for your business problems can challenging which is why it is recommended to consult with an industry expert before making any purchasing decisions. InfinID Technologies has a staff of RFID experts that can help you solve the most complex RFID problems.


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