Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID)

RFID is an underlying technology that allows RFID enabled tags and devices to communicate with other RFID enabled devices via electromagnetic fields. RFID is a low-bandwidth technology meant to be used for small communication sessions and low data transmissions; often just a unique identifier or a small amount of data stored in memory. There are two types of RFID and three different frequencies; each with its own use case, benefits, limitations and costs. RFID is one of the primary technologies behind Connected Things via NFC and UHF RFID.



There are types of RFID; passive and active RFID. Within the usage of Connected Things; passive RFID is much more common.

  • Passive RFID tags are powered by harvesting power from the RFID device; they simple components and are relatively cheap
  • Active RFID tags have their own power source, such as a battery and are inherently more complex and more expensive


There are three RFID frequencies; corresponding to different frequencies of the electromagnetic spectrum the signal operates at. Tags and devices are designed to operate on one of these frequencies and are unable to work with the other frequencies.

  • Ultra-High Frequency (UHF RFID)
  • High-Frequency (HF and NFC)
  • Low-Frequency (LF)
Last updated on July 7, 2021. We are continually improving this content; contact us with any suggested changes.