RFID glossary

L’intento di questo glossario RFID è quello di illustrare alcuni concetti ricorrenti in questo settore e utili per chi ci si approccia per la prima volta.

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Active Transponder (or Active Tags)

To operate, they draw energy from their own power supply, usually consisting of a long-lasting battery. These tags possess the highest operating distance of all others, even reaching distances of 500m. They can also contain sensors to read in real time some parameters of the devices on which they are applied such as pressure, temperature and heat.


It is the conductive element that allows you to send and receive the data contained within the tag. The readers have antennas to emit radio waves. These waves are collected by the antenna contained in the RFID tag and used to power the microchip which releases information to be returned to the reader.


The barcode is an identification based technology consisting of a series of high contrast graphic elements, readable by a device with a scanning sensor and decoded by a system to return the information they contain.

Reading range

Represents the range that the reader can cover. The tags that are outside this range not receiving the radio waves emitted by the reader, cannot be identified and read.

Contactless Smart Card

It is possible to incorporate RFID technology into credit cards or other cards to allow the transmission of information to a reader with only proximity, thus avoiding contact.


Acronym for Electronic Product code is the standard used to uniquely identify individual objects thanks to RFID technology. The unique code shown within the EPC is used to unambiguously identify each piece, in order to collect important information during the movement of goods along the production or supply chain and make them available thanks to RFID.


Acronym for High Frequency, these are frequencies that work at 13.56 Mhz, it is supported in the ISO 14443, ISO 15693 and NFC (Near Field Communication) standards. It is used all over the world and is characterized by a short reading distance (up to 1.20m). It can be used for the identification and tracking of books, pallets, access control, etc.


The RFID or NFC inlays represent a combination of microchips and antenna over a layer of non-adhesive film. It constitutes the initial processing of RFID tags. Depending on the combination achieved, different performances can be obtained for the possible different areas of applications.

RFID Reader

It is a device that allows you to read and write information from the transponder in contactless mode. The reader can have an integrated or external antenna, and can be mobile or fixed and have different reading and writing ranges.


Acronym for Low Frequency, low frequency, they are frequencies that work at 125 Khz or 135 Khz. It is used all over the world and is characterized by a limited reading distance, almost in contact. It can be used for alarms, keys, attendance or access control, traceability of pets and breeding, etc.


It is a line selector that in the RFID sector represents a device that can connect more than one antenna to the same reader, this to allow you to increase the reading range or simplify the reading of the tag.


An acronym for Near Field Communication, it is an RFID technology based on 13.56MHz HF frequencies and on the ISO14443 standard. This technology enables contactless bi-directional data transmission between two devices that are only a few centimeters apart. The ability to use NFC directly from the smartphone has allowed the development of this technology and its widespread use.

Passive Transponder (or Passive Tags)

They are tags that do not have their own source of energy but derive it from the electromagnetic field generated by the reader / writer. As the reader passes, the radio frequency activates the microchip inside the tag, providing the energy needed to operate. This energy during the reading phase will be reused to respond to the reader by transmitting a signal with all the information stored inside of it; in the writing phase, however, it will allow you to save the data sent by the reader. This type of tag consists of a microchip and a single antenna used for both reception and transmission.

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)

It is a technology that is used for the tracking and identification of any type of object or packaging. It is based on the storage capacity of certain electronic labels, called tags, information regarding the object to which it is coupled. These tags respond to remote interrogation by devices called readers.

Reading range

The distance that allows the RFID tag to be read correctly by the reader. Active tags have a much greater read range than passive ones, thanks to their internal power source. The antenna design of the tag can affect the reading ability of the tag.

Smart Label

An intelligent label contains, in addition to the barcode, also an RFID tag, it is called intelligent because thanks to the reader it can communicate information about the object on which it is located.

Transponder (o Tag)

The word 'Transponder' derives from the combination of Transmitter and Responder and represents a wireless communication, monitoring or control device that automatically detects and responds to an input signal. It forms the basis of RFID systems and can be active or passive.


Acronym for Ultra High Frequency, these are frequencies that work at 868 MHz or 915 MHz, normalized in the EPC reference standards. It is used all over the world, although the maximum power and frequency bands meet limits defined by the authorities of the individual countries. Tags of this type have a greater reading distance than the others and are therefore mainly used for retail, logistics, warehouse management, etc.