Advantages of RFID:
- Inventory efficiency – Because line-of-sight is not required to read RFID tags, inventory can be performed in a highly efficient method. For example, pallets in a warehouse can be read, inventoried, and their location can be determined no matter where the tag is placed on the pallet. This is because the radio waves from the reader are strong enough for the tag to respond regardless of location.
- Return on investment (ROI) – Though the cost may be high at first, the total cost of ownership should go down over the years and provide a good ROI, if the implementation provides a significant method to improve business processes.
- Vulnerability to damage minimized – Barcodes can be damaged in many ways. Although, 2D barcode types can be read even when up to 40% of the barcode is damaged.
Disadvantages of RFID:
- Dead areas and orientation problems – RFID works similar to the way a cell phone or wireless network does. Like these technologies, there may be certain areas that have weaker signals or interference. In addition, poor read rates are sometimes a problem when the tag is rotated into an orientation that does not align well with the reader. These issues are usually minimized by proper implementation of multiple readers and use of tags with multiple axis antennas.
- Security concerns – Because RFID is not a line-of-sight technology like barcoding, new security issues could develop. For example, a competitor could set up a high-gain directional antenna to scan tags in trucks going to a warehouse. From the data received, this competitor could determine flow rates of various products. Additionally, when RFID is used for high-security operations such as payment methods, fraud is always a possibility.
- Ghost tags – In rare cases, if multiple tags are read at the same time the reader will sometimes read a tag that does not exist. Therefore, some type of read verification, such as a CRC, should be implemented in either the tag, the reader or the data read from the tag.
- Proximity issues – RFID tags cannot be read well when placed on metal or liquid objects or when these objects are between the reader and the tag. Nearly any object that is between the reader and the tag reduces the distance the tag can be read from.
- High cost – Because this technology is still new, the components and tags are expensive compared to barcodes. In addition, software and support personnel needed to install and operate the RFID reading systems (in a warehouse for example) may be more costly to employ.
- Unread tags – When reading multiple tags at the same time, it is possible that some tags will not be read and there is no sure method of determining this when the objects are not in sight. This problem does not occur with barcodes, because when the barcode is scanned, it is instantly verified when read by a beep from the scanner and the data can then be entered manually if it does not scan.
- Vulnerable to damage – Water, static discharge or high-powered magnetic surges (such as lightning strike) may damage the tags.
Advantages of using UHF GEN 2 RFID tags:
UHF GEN 2 tags greatly reduce (if not eliminate) the ghost tag problem, using a mandatory hardware based CRC. The CRC is created when the tag is encoded, and the reader verifies the CRC when the tag is read. If the CRC does not match, the data read is considered invalid. In addition, more tags can be read simultaneously when using GEN2.
Posted in: RFID