Whether in toll systems, as goods labels, in anti-theft systems, or for marking and tracking assets in production and logistics processes—noncontact RFID (radio frequency identification) technology is ubiquitous. Information is transferred via radio waves within the ISM band (industrial, scientific, and medical band), which ensures smooth data transmission and avoids interference with other radio systems. However, when small- and medium-sized companies are deciding on an RFID system for the first time, they are often occupied with one frequently recurring topic: How to select the most suitable RFID frequency range for their application.
Typically, passive RFID systems use either low frequency (LF), high frequency (HF), or ultra-high frequency (UHF). Based on a schematic overview, this blog article provides an initial guide to these frequency ranges and their characteristics.
Please note that the specified frequency ranges, possible read ranges, and standards refer specifically to the RFID systems from Pepperl+Fuchs and do not represent universal specifications.
LF RFID (Low-Frequency RFID)
Frequency range: 125 kHz
Possible read range: up to 10 cm
Standard: ISO/IEC 18000-2
Application area: Low-frequency RFID systems are suitable for reliable detection of tags at short distances. Despite their low data transfer rate compared to HF or UHF systems, LF RFID systems have become firmly established in certain applications due to their low susceptibility to surrounding materials. If, for example, objects with a high water content need to be equipped with RFID tags and recorded, LF RFID systems offer an excellent solution. The same applies to the marking of livestock with subcutaneously implanted RFID tags—here too, low frequency is the range of choice. LF systems are ideal for use in metallic environments, such as identifying workpieces and tools.