Radio-frequency identification (RFID) is a technology that uses communication via radio waves to exchange data between a reader and an electronic tag attached to an object or a human being, for the purpose of identification and tracking. Some tags can be read from several meters away and beyond the line of sight of the reader. The application of bulk reading enables an almost parallel reading of tags.
Radio-frequency identification involves interrogators (also known as readers), and tags (also known as labels).
Most 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 other specialized functions. The other is an antenna for receiving and transmitting the signal.
There are three types of RFID tags: passive RFID tags, which have no power source and require an external electromagnetic field to initiate a signal transmission, active RFID tags, which contain a battery and can transmit signals once an external source (‘Interrogator’) has been successfully identified, and battery assisted passive (BAP) RFID tags, which require an external source to wake up but have significant higher forward link capability providing greater range.
There are a variety of groups defining standards and regulating the use of RFID, including the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), ASTM International, the DASH7 Alliance and EPC global.