Mobile and Stationary RFID Readers

In our last blog post, we discussed the standardized recording of information encoded into the chip of an RFID tag. We will now explore how this information is captured for processing.

End users access information encoded into the chip by detecting an RFID tag using either mobile or stationary RFID readers. There are several primary differences between a mobile device and a stationary one.

First, a mobile RFID reader operates on battery power while a stationary device uses wall power or is powered via the network (POE).

Second, using a mobile device, the end user is able to walk around, detecting tags without having line of sight to be concerned with and is able to automatically reconcile tags being detected to existing information sources.

A stationary RFID reader emits an energy wave and depends upon the movement of a tagged item coming within range of it.

Lastly, under typical conditions, the mobile device stores information locally and downloads later for central processing. A stationary reader is attached to the network and relays information as it is received for real time central processing.

Each of these has advantages as well as disadvantages. For example, because the mobile device is powered via battery, the energy wave being emitted is weaker and the read range is not as great as a wall-powered, stationary reader. This is particularly true as the battery charge weakens.

On the other hand, using a mobile device greatly speeds up inventory-taking as multiple tags can be read simultaneously without requiring line of sight. While stationary devices primarily monitor movement, they can also provide control. For example, positioning a stationary reader at a doorway provides one the ability to signal an alarm when unauthorized movement is detected such as a restricted device leaving a building.

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