The Basics of RFID Technology

While RFID technology has been around for over 40 years, it wasn’t until recently that it became cost-effective to use on a large scale. In order to shed some light on how this technology can be leveraged to enhance your parking program, we’ve outlined the basics below.

What is RFID?

RFID stands for Radio Frequency Identification. At its simplest, RFID refers to the use of an encoded microchip (RFID Tag) applied to or incorporated into a product (such as a Parking Permit).  This allows the object to be identified at a distance, as well as, to carry unique identification information.

How Do RFID Parking Permits Work?

At a basic level, RFID Parking Permits work as follows:

  1. Data is stored within an RFID tag’s microchip.
  2. The tag is then embedded into a parking permit and waits to be read.
  3. The tag’s antenna receives a transmission from an RFID reader’s antenna.
  4. The tag sends a radio wave with the stored information back to the reader.
  5. The reader interprets the data for use by enforcement staff.

Benefits of RFID Parking Permits:

  • Scan at a Distance: Unlike barcodes, which require direct line of sight, RFID parking permits can be scanned at a distance of up to 25ft.
  • Read & Write Capabilities: Data on an RFID tag can be changed, updated and locked.
  • Gated Access:Vehicles can simply approach the gate and the RFID reader will authenticate the permit. This means hands-free and closed-window access for your permit holders.

Common RFID Terminology:

Low Frequency RFID Tags: Can be read from 3ft or less, though the data transfer rate is slow.

High Frequency RFID Tags: Can be read from less than 3 ft away and transmit data faster than a low-frequency tag.

Ultra High Frequency RFID Tags: Can be read from up to 25ft and transmit data faster than either low or high frequency RFID tags.

Active RFID Tags: These tags have their own power source, typically a built in battery, and broadcast their own signal. The lifespan of active RFID tags is based on the lifespan of the battery.

Passive RFID Tags: These tags do not require batteries and have a longer lifespan. When radio waves from the reader reach the chip’s antenna, it is converted into electricity. The tag is then able to send back information stored on the chip.

Automatic Identification: Refers to collecting data and entering it directly into a computer system. This method allows for hands-free control, since no human involvement is necessary.

Backscatter: Passive tags communicate with readers using backscatter technology to reflect back the reader radio waves. The reflected signal transmits data encoded on the tag back to the reader.

Data Transfer Rate: How quickly information can be transferred from and RFID tag to the reader.

EPC: Electronic Product Code

Gen 2: The current standard for the rules governing air communication.

Inlay: When an RFID microchip is mounted on a substrate, such as the material used for a parking permit.

Interoperability: When tags and readers from different vendors are able to communicate.

Reader (also called an Interrogator): A device which emits radio waves and receives a signal from an RFID tag e.g. a handheld scanner used for enforcing a parking lot.

Read Range: The distance from which a tag and reader can communicate. Active tags have a longer range than their passive counterparts. On passive tags, the read range is determined by a number of factors including frequency and antenna design.

Read Rate: This refers to how many RFID tags can be read within a period of time.

RFID Tag: A microchip that is attached to an antenna and can be applied to an object, such as a parking permit hang tag. RFID tags come in a variety of shapes and sizes.

UHF: Ultra High Frequency

About the Company: Rydin Decal specializes in parking enforcement products to make your parking lots easier and safer to use. We offer fully customizable parking hang tags and customizable decals at prices that will fit your budget.

This entry was posted in Parking Permits, RFID and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to The Basics of RFID Technology

  1. Michael Raines says:


    I am a member of Caterpillar security and wanted to see if it were possible to get a quote for a RFID employee parking pass. It needs to be a hang tag type and able to ID the driver of the vehicle.


    Michael Raines

  2. Dionne Mercer says:

    Looking for parking permits that can be tracked and restrict access to authorized personnel only.

  3. Todd Henehan says:

    Wolf Creek Condominium Association

    We are interested in an RFID parking pass that would engage an entrance gate along with documenting date and time stamps for arriving vehicles, can you assist? Interested in brochures/cost estimates and any information you can provide.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>