RFID Range Overview

What is the maximum read distance of RFID?

Generally speaking, RFID tag maximum read distances are as follows:

Frequency

General Read Distance

125 kHz & 134.2 kHz Around 10 cm (4 inches)
It is possible to get read distances over 30cm (1 foot), but these cases need individual assessment.
13.56 MHz Under 1 meter (3 feet)
To obtain more than 1 meter (5 feet) you need a reader with output over 1 watt.
433 MHz Over 800 meters (2624 feet)
We've obtained excellent reads over 3 kilometer (1.86 miles) away using SkyRFID OEM 433 MHz antennas.
860 - 960 MHz Over 2 meters (7 feet)
Purpose built tags work over 16 meters (53 feet) away.
Get up to 32 meters with the new Alpha 811 Reader
2.4 - 2.483 GHz Around 50 meters (160 feet)
An emerging standard.
Currently up to 100 meter (325 foot) maximum
NOTE: 2.45GHz RFID is not the same as WiFi enabled Internet-of-Things devices which also work on the 2.4GHz band.


How to determine what range you'll get from RFID?

RFID is a group of technologies, usually identified by the frequency or "wave" they use. The maximum distance you'll achieve is influenced by;

  • - The Operating Frequency (or bandwidth if multiple frequencies) of the RFID system
  • - The RFID Reader and settings of the reader for the system
  • - The Antenna - Type, Gain(dBi),Center Frequency, VSWR, Polarization, Size, IP rating
  • - Characteristics of the RFID Tag - Size, shape, polarization, tune
  • - The material the RFID Tag is attached to
  • - Orientation of the RFID Tag to the reading antenna
  • - What is used to attach the tag - adhesive, tape, staple, rivet, screw
  • - The environment the RFID solution is being used in

...and many other factors. This complexity is why some RFID vendors provide a "Free Air" read distance with a 12 dBi antenna gain to give you the comfort level of excellent RFID reads at "that critical distance". Any of Cloud Collected RFID tag read specifications are based on the RFID tag in actual usage and not in "Free Air" using our OEM handheld reader as "Free Air" and "12 dBi gain" simply is not realistic of most RFID environments. In real life implementations Cloud Collected considers all of the factors above plus many more to provide a turnkey solution configured to your own unique needs.

Cloud Collected tests our equipment at the factory and at our North American offices using the most common arrangements we see for each individual use case. The details we include on our spec sheets is what you'll get in normal use.

Frequency Specific Details

13.56 MHz. High Frequency (HF) Passive RFID Tags

Maximum read distance of 1.5 meters (4 foot 11 inches) - usually under 1 meter (3 feet) and you can use a single or multi port reader plus custom antennas to extend the read range to longer tag read distances or a wider RFID read zone. To obtain more than 1 meter you need a reader with more than 1 watt RFID output power. SkyRFID can supply 13.56 readers with RF power outputs up to 10 watts for multiple antenna connections and over 1 meter tag read distances.

860 ~ 960 MHz. Ultra High Frequency (UHF) Passive RFID Tags

Minimum read distance of over 1 meter or 3 feet. Gen2 tags can have a read range of over 16 meters or 52 feet when using the full 4 Watt EIRP legally allowed on the readers by FCC and other global regulators (For your local power regulations see our RFID Education page). Gen 2 tags can be EPCglobal multi-frequency, 860 MHz. European Union, or 902 MHz. FCC depending on the tags function and other capabilities. Gen 2 semi-passive (semi-active) tags are battery assisted and have a read range of up to 50 meters or about 162 feet. We have both passive and the emerging semi-active readers and tags available for those companies that need to be on the leading edge or simply need the range of the Gen 2 Semi-active technology.

433 MHz. Ultra High Frequency (UHF) Active RFID Tags

Fully adjustable read range from 30cm (1 foot) to over 2 kilometer (1.24 miles) using our special sensitive high gain antenna solutions. Cloud Collected offers a comprehensive line of 433 MHz fixed and portable readers, tags (ATEX Certified) antennas and accessories for a multitude of Industrial, Marine, Healthcare, Mining, Vehicle, Personnel, and other tracking and locating applications.

2.45 GHz. Super High Frequency (SHF) Active RFID Tags

Up to 100 meter read range (325 feet) There are several different modulations for 2.45 GHz. and you can also have real time location information from these active tags.

Next Topic: Near Touch RFID

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