Active Radio Frequency Identification

Definition of Active Radio Frequency Identification

Active Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) refers to a type of RFID system where battery-powered tags are used to send signals to a reader through radio frequency communication. These active tags can transmit data over long distances, typically up to 100 meters, and have a longer life span due to their internal power source. This technology is primarily used in applications such as real-time location tracking, inventory management, and monitoring of high-value assets.


The phonetics of the keyword “Active Radio Frequency Identification” are as follows:Active: /ˈak.tɪv/Radio: /ˈreɪ.dɪ.oʊ/Frequency: /ˈfriː.kwə /aɪˌdɛn.tɪˈfi.keɪ.ʃən/

Key Takeaways

  1. Active RFID tags have an onboard power source, enabling them to transmit data at greater distances compared to passive RFID tags.
  2. These tags can perform real-time location tracking and monitoring, which makes them suitable for applications like asset tracking, security, and supply chain management.
  3. Despite their increased functionality, active RFID tags generally have a higher cost and shorter lifespan than passive RFID tags due to their reliance on an internal battery.

Importance of Active Radio Frequency Identification

Active Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is an important technology term as it refers to a wireless communication system that employs radio frequency signals for the automatic identification and tracking of tagged objects or people.

Active RFID tags contain a battery that enables them to broadcast a signal independently, which boosts their range and makes them capable of transmitting dynamic information in real time.

This enhanced capability is particularly beneficial in numerous industries, including supply chain management, asset tracking, healthcare, security, and retail, as it allows for the efficient monitoring and management of resources, optimizing processes, reducing losses, and improving overall productivity.


Active Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is a robust technology designed to streamline various tracking and identification processes across multiple industries. It serves as an advanced solution to traditional inventory and asset management methods, aiming to improve productivity, enhance security, and optimize the real-time monitoring of items.

Active RFID systems are commonly used in diverse sectors, including logistics, healthcare, supply chain management, agriculture, and access control, thanks in large part to their ability to share crucial data with minimal human intervention. One of the primary uses of Active RFID is providing a more efficient tracking method, as the technology significantly reduces the time and effort associated with manual inventory tracking and asset management.

These systems eliminate the need for line-of-sight reading, which is often required with barcode systems, leading to a smoother and more accurate workflow. Additionally, Active RFID tags offer a longer read range and emit their own radio frequency signals at predetermined intervals, making the real-time locating of tagged items a seamless process.

This empowers businesses to quickly obtain comprehensive, accurate information regarding their assets and make informed decisions, eventually resulting in reduced losses, improved asset utilization, and better overall operational efficiency.

Examples of Active Radio Frequency Identification

Active Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology is widely used in various industries and applications. Here are three real-world examples of Active RFID technology implementations:

Asset Tracking and Inventory Management:In industries such as manufacturing, logistics, or retail, Active RFID tags are often attached to valuable assets, equipment, or inventory items. Organizations use Active RFID systems to locate and monitor these assets in real-time, ensuring optimal utilization and preventing theft or loss. For example, car manufacturers may attach Active RFID tags to vehicles in their facility for real-time tracking, which helps in streamlining their production process and inventory management.

Patient and Staff Tracking in Hospitals:Active RFID technology is used in hospitals and healthcare facilities to track the movement of patients, staff, and medical equipment. Patients can wear wristbands with embedded RFID tags, allowing medical personnel to locate them in real-time, leading to better patient care and safety. Additionally, healthcare staff may carry RFID tags on their badges or uniforms, improving staff accountability, productivity, and ensuring that the right staff is present when needed.

Cold Chain Monitoring:Active RFID technology is also employed in cold chain monitoring to maintain the optimal temperature for perishable goods such as pharmaceuticals, food, and vaccines during transport and storage. RFID tags with built-in temperature sensors are placed with the items while they travel through the supply chain, collecting temperature data in real-time. The data is then relayed to a central system via the Active RFID system, notifying responsible parties if there are any temperature deviations, allowing for quick intervention and ensuring the product’s quality and safety is maintained.

FAQ: Active Radio Frequency Identification

1. What is active Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)?

Active RFID is a type of Radio Frequency Identification technology in which battery-powered RFID tags actively transmit radio signals to communicate data with RFID readers. Active tags have a longer range and can store more information than passive tags, making them suitable for applications where greater distances and more data are required.

2. How does active RFID work?

Active RFID systems consist of readers and active RFID tags. The tags contain a microchip and an antenna that transmit radio signals to communicate data, such as identification or location information. The RFID reader is responsible for detecting the signals from the active tags, decoding the information, and forwarding it to a computer system for processing and further action.

3. What are the common applications of active RFID?

Active RFID is often used in applications that require real-time location tracking, long-range communication, and larger data storage. Examples include asset tracking, vehicle and container tracking, personnel identification, and access control in industries like healthcare, manufacturing, logistics, and defense.

4. What are the advantages of active RFID over passive RFID?

Active RFID offers several advantages over passive RFID, including longer reading range, higher data storage capacity, more frequent communication, and better signal penetration through obstacles. These factors make active RFID better suited for specific applications where real-time data based on longer distances and more robust tracking are essential.

5. What are the limitations of active RFID?

Active RFID has some limitations, such as higher cost due to battery requirements, larger tag size, and limited battery life as compared to passive RFID. Additionally, the signal strength of active RFID may cause potential interference with other systems operating in the same frequency range. Therefore, active RFID may not be the best solution for all RFID applications.

Related Technology Terms

  • RFID Tags
  • RFID Readers
  • Real-time Location Systems (RTLS)
  • RFID Middleware
  • RFID Antennas

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