Two RFID companies have announced 433 MHz hardware that they claim is the first to comply with a relatively new open air-interface protocol—IEEE 802.15.4f-2012. Omni-ID's new Power 415 tag integrates a passive EPC Gen 2 ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) inlay with an active 433 MHz transponder compliant with the IEEE standard, while Guard RFID Solutions' Tag Reader Receiver (TRR) has been newly updated to interrogate active 433 MHz tags via the open standard. The two companies each independently tested the interoperability of the reader and the tag last month, and found that the products work well together. During testing, both firms employed Guard RFID's AllGuard RTLS and Security software, while Omni-ID also used its own software to manage the collected read data.

The 2012 release of the IEEE 802.15.4f standard provided potential users of 433 MHz active RFID tags with the option of building a system based on the open standard that could mix and match products from different vendors. This, however, requires that vendors release such technology using the standard. There are 2.4 GHz RFID readers and tags already available that comply with the IEEE 802.15.4f standard, as well as ultrawide-band (UWB) tags and readers that comply with the standard, including Zebra Technologies' Dart sensor, which operates at a range of 6.35 to 6.75 GHz (see RFID Revs Up Pit-Stop Training for Crews of Two NASCAR Drivers and Zebra Releases Dart Sensor to Meet New UWB Standard). However, this week's announcement by Omni-ID and Guard RFID signals the first technology specific to 433 MHz—another active frequency that is designed to provide a long read range in the presence of metals, and is intended to avoid the busier 2.4 GHz band.



In 2012, an IEEE working group (of which Pokrajac was a member) created a physical layer (PHY) and media access control (MAC) sub-layer to the existing 802.15.4 protocol stack. Those efforts resulted in the creation of the IEEE 802.15.4f-2012 (PHY) amendment. This, he says, enables ultra-low-energy consumption and highly reliable communication to be operated in such a way that is flexible and configurable for a variety of 433 MHz RFID transmission operations, such as from a reader to a tag, a tag to a reader, a reader to a select group of tags (multicast) and one tag to another (unicast).

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