Exploring RFID’s Outer Limits

While radio frequency identification, or RFID, has been around a long time the technology is advancing and migrating into new uses and applications. Learn the different types of technology and how to deploy them in ways that will win over new customers.

Integrators will like today’s RFID readers since they are capable of working with existing access systems. Reader communications include Wiegand or RS-232 interfacing, and multidrop RS-422, Ethernet, and TCP/IP networks. This allows readers to be dropped into an existing facility network. Middleware software packages are available from outfits like Cetani and Ncontrol that offer advanced features found with PRAT RFID systems. Readers can be strategically staggered at chokepoints, adjusted to a small detection range, thereby allowing for detection of direction of hands-free tag movement in/out (zones A/B, B/A) of the access portal.

Multifunction active RFID tags allow for increased security performance (see photo). In addition to detection of location and movement of assets in a facility, these tags may also include features such as duress buttons, biometric readers, motion detection, and personnel tags/badges with built-in passive RFID credential chips like HID Prox, iClass, MIFARE, and DESFire.

While tag features are impressive, remember the words of RFID industry veteran Pete Martin, president of 1st Choice Security Solutions Inc.: “Tags do not enable RFID solutions to work … it is the readers that enable the solutions. So be careful about making decisions based only on tags as so many people do. And then they find out that the readers cannot do what they wanted during the ‘pilot’ or test process. It is better to pick the reader that can solve your problem, and then look for tags that can work with that reader.”


The 5000 and 6000 Series of Cypress Computer’s RF wireless solutions provide a wireless bridge from card readers with gates or door hardware to most access control manufacturers panels. The products include both the remote (door/gate) unit and the central (AC panel) unit. Optional repeaters/extenders are also available. Photo courtesy Cypress Computer Systems Inc.Tech Talk Tool Tip

RFID systems rely on many hand-selected components from a variety of reliable vendors. This is especially true as your systems get larger, and this is why I have selected a complementary and indispensable communications product line from an old favorite company of mine, Cypress Computer Systems.

In keeping with this month’s the
me, I have selected the firm’s wireless mesh active RFID system, featuring the new 6000 Series. This system allows for fewer head-end components (than the 5000 Series) for limited installation areas in those guard shacks. If you have not used Cypress extender systems yet you are missing a real treat. Cypress has been a favorite pick of mine for years.


Tagged with: RFID Tech Talk

About the Author


Bob is currently a Security Sales & Integration "Tech Talk" columnist and a contributing technical writer. Bob installed his first DIY home intercom system at the age of 13, and formally started his technology career as a Navy communication electronics technician during the Vietnam War. He then attended the Milwaukee School of Engineering and went on to complete a Security Management program at Milwaukee Area Technical College. Since 1976, Bob has served in a variety of technical, training and project management positions with organizations such ADT, Rollins, National Guardian, Lockheed Martin, American Alarm Supply, Sonitrol and Ingersoll Rand. Early in his career, Bob started and operated his own alarm dealership. He has also served as treasurer of the Wisconsin Burglar and Fire Alarm Association and on Security Industry Association (SIA) standards committees. Bob also provides media and training consulting to the security industry.

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