What’s the Difference Between Active and Passive RFID for ID Badges?

RFIDActive RFID and Passive RFID are fundamentally different technologies that are often mistaken for one another.  While both use radio frequency energy to communicate between a tag and a reader, the method of powering the tags is different.  Active RFID uses an internal power source (battery) within the tag to continuously power the tag and its RF communication circuitry. Whereas Passive RFID relies on RF energy transferred from the reader to the tag to power the card or fob.

Active RFID allows very low-level signals from the reader to be recognized by the tag (because the reader does not need to power the tag), and the tag can generate high-level signals back to the reader. Additionally, the Active RFID tag is continuously powered whether in the reader field or not. Active tags can also ‘beacon,’ or initiate communication with a reader (or other tags) when certain conditions are present. Active tags typically contain external sensors to monitor temperature, humidity, motion, and other conditions.

Passive RFID requires stronger signals from the reader, and the signal strength returned from the tag is constrained to very low levels.  Secure issuance and physical access control applications mainly use passive RFID often referred to as prox or proximity badges. This technology is part of complete security ID solution predominately seen in Government, Education, Health Care, and Corporate markets.   Other applications include supply chain, high volume manufacturing, and applications in libraries, bookstores, pharmaceuticals, passports, electronic tolls, and item level tracking.

Pros of Passive RFID:

-Smaller tags like Micro Prox disk

-Inexpensive tags including Clamshell Prox cards

-Thinner more flexible tags with adhesive backing

-Greater choice tag options like key fobs

-Tags can last a lifetime without a battery (depending on the wear and tear)

 

New applications for active RFID systems are still being developed but include the oil and gas industry, shipping and logistics, construction, mining, and high-value manufacturing where reading from a distance is important.  Other vertical markets include auto dealerships, auto manufacturing, hospitals – asset tracking, laboratories, remote monitoring, and IT management where high value assets can be moved.

Pros of Active RFID Tags:

-Extremely Long Read Range

-Increased tag abilities with partner software technologies (GPS, sensors, etc.)

-Extremely Rugged options

AdvantIDge offers a wide variety of all of the card printer systems, or other visitor management devices, to fill any of your asset tracking, visitor management, or identification card needs. From card printers and supplies for issuance, through to badge clips and other peripherals to put them into your users hands. With more than 40 years of combined industry experience, we’re ready to help you achieve your identification goals. For specific information please contact our sales department at [email protected] or call 800-965-5932 for more information on this update– we provide excellent customer service!

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