Passive UHF RFID started around 20 years ago. At that time the read range was around 3 meters and the communication range was limited by the power demand of the tag. Today the market has changed. We currently have RAIN RFID tags exceeding 20 meters. As a result 2017 is the year of change, where for high end tags the return link became the limitation instead of the forward link. RAIN RFID addressed this topic already in 2016 and published the RAIN RFID reader sensitivity testing document.

However, since the publication of this document, it was been recognized that it does not fulfill the market requirements completely. In particular the users and system integrators do not have access to all reader functions and therefore cannot configure readers in test modes as required for such tests. At the begin of 2018 RAIN RFID forwarded its document though its mother organization AIM Inc. as liaison input to ISO. ISO/IEC JTC1 SC31 WG4 “RF communications” has taken this document and is now incorporating it into ISO/IEC 18046-2 “Information technology — Radio frequency identification device performance test methods — Part 2: Test methods for interrogator performance” .

This upcoming new revision of ISO/IEC 18046-2 will address the user requirements that will allow reader performance testing as follows:

  • Use of off-the shelf readers with default settings
  • Evaluation of readers on system parameters as e.g. phase shift
  • Evaluation of readers on tag parameters as e.g. BLF variation
  • Use of tag emulation to allow reader testing beyond the limits of tag production tolerances and the fortune to find such tags.

The work in ISO was kicked-off in the WG4 meeting on 19 February 2018 and it may be expected that a stable working draft will be available already in June 2018, resulting in a mature document at the end of 2018.

If you would like to get latest updates on the progress of ISO/IEC 18046-2, please contact the WG4  “RF Communications” convener and CISC CTO Josef Preishuber-Pflügl.

To learn more about RAIN RFID reader performance testing please see CISC RFID Xplorer.