What are RFID standards?
RFID standards are regulations, guidelines and/or specifications for all RFID products. Standards provide guidelines about how RFID systems work, what frequencies they operate at, how data is transferred, and how the communication works between the reader and the tag.
Why are RFID standards important?
RFID standards help to ensure that RFID products are interoperable, regardless of the manufacturer or user. Standards provide regulation and guidelines by which companies can develop complementary products, such as different tag types, readers, software, and accessories. Besides all that standards help to develop and broaden markets and increase competition within the industry, which brings the prices of standardized RFID products down. RFID standards also help increase widespread confidence in the technology.
Who sets RFID standards?
Standards are developed and issued by industry-specific, national, regional, and global bodies. The more global the standard, the more bodies and organizations are involved in its development and spread. Some Internationally operating organizations that issue RFID-related standards are for example; EPCglobal (a GS1 venture), the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), the International Standards Organization (ISO), and the Joint Technical Committee (JTC 1). Regional regulatory entities that govern the use of RFID are; the Federal Communication Commission (FCC), which is in charge of the United States, the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), which operates in Europe. Other regions have their own regulatory entities.
Other organizations oversee RFID standards for specific industries these are for example; the Association of American Railroads (AAR), the Automotive Industry Standards Group (AIAG), the American Trucking Associations (ATA), and the International Air Transport Association (IATA). Additionally, the GS1 VICS Item Level RFID Initiative (VILRI) oversees standards around item-level tagging and the use of RFID technology throughout the retail supply chain.
What are the existing RFID standards?
Active RFID, passive LF RFID, passive HF RFID, and passive UHF RFID all have their own standards governing their associated products. See ‘The Different Types of RFID Systems‘ for more information.
Passive UHF RFID is currently the only type of RFID to be regulated by a single global standard. This standard is called EPCglobal UHF Gen 2 V1, or just UHF Gen 2 or RAIN RFID. UHF Gen 2 or RAIN RFID defines the communications protocol for a systems using passive backscatter, reader-talks-first radio frequency identification (RFID) operating in the 860 MHz – 960 MHz frequency range. EPCglobal certification testing covers conformance testing ensuring that RFID products are compliant with the UHF Gen2 standard, and interoperability testing, which makes sure that all aspects of the tag to reader interface are properly designed to interoperate seamlessly with other Gen 2 certified products.
An update to the UHF Gen 2 standard, called the UHF Gen 2 V2, or just G2 standard, is in the process of being ratified. This new standard builds on the original V1 standard, but ensures that future UHF RFID communications have more complex and powerful security options to protect tag data and prevent tag counterfeiting.
Within the G2 standard, the users will be able to hide all, part, or none of the tag’s memory. Depending on what the access privileges of readers (users) are, and its proximity to the tag, the reader’s ability to access and/or modify tag data varies. This prevents tag data theft or tampering with the system.
Besides the above the new G2 standard also establishes further anti-counterfeiting measures that involve cryptographically authenticating of tags. Today, UHF Gen2 V1 tags send static replies back to the reader, making it relatively easy for cloners to create counterfeit tags. Under the new to be ratified G2 standards, each time a reader sends a signal to a tag it sends a different secret number and the tag computes a different reply specific to that interaction making it far more difficult to clone the tags.
Under the G2 standard, the user is able to hide all, part, or none of the tag’s memory. Depending on what the reader’s access privileges are, and its proximity to the tag, the reader’s ability to access and/or modify tag data varies. This prevents tag data theft or tampering.
The G2 standards also establishes an anti-counterfeiting measure that involves cryptographically authenticating tags. UHF Gen2 V1 tags send static replies back to the reader, making it easy for cloners to create counterfeit tags. Under G2 standards, each time a reader sends a signal to a tag it sends a different secret number and the tag computes a reply specific to that interaction.