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Glossary

Active Transponder

A transponder which contains a battery that provides the energy needed to transmit information and receive data.

 

Contact Card

Device in which the chip must have physical contact with the reader to allow data transmission. The chip must therefore be located on the surface to allow readers to establish contact with the chips and communicate with them.

 

Contactless Card

Device (not always in card form) containing a chip which does not have to have physical contact with a reader to transmit data. Accordingly, the chips may be encased within the card instead of being embedded on the card’s surface.

 

Embedding

One of several technologies used to produce a transponder's antenna. In this process, a wire is embedded in exactly the right thickness into a plastic foil using pressure and heat.

 

Encryption Codes

Encryption codes use encryption algorithms to encode and decode data. 'The key and not the message is encoded'. Each time it is used, the code/key changes and therefore cannot be decoded.

 

ePassport

An RFID-enabled passport containing an embedded integrated circuit chip that is used to store and transmit identifying data, including biometric features such as pictures, fingerprints or iris scan information.

 

ePayment

RFID-based payment systems allowing cashless payments using contactless payment cards.

 

Etching

One of several technologies used to produce a transponder’s antenna. In this process, the antenna is etched out of aluminum or other metals by a chemical solution.

 

Flip-Chip

One of several technologies used by inlay manufacturers to connect an antenna to a transponder's chip. This process does not require any wire bonds. Instead, the final wafer processing step deposits solder beads on the chip pads. The flip chip is then mounted upside down on a package and the solder is reflowed.

 

High Frequency (HF)

The frequency of the electromagnetic waves used to transmit data from a transponder to a reader in an RFID system. The standard transmission frequencies for RFID systems are: low frequency (LF, 125-148.5 kHz), high frequency (HF, 13.56 MHz) and ultra high frequency (UHF, 400 MHz to 1 GHz). Differentiating characteristics include manufacturing costs of the individual components, data transmission rates and effective range.

 

Internet of Things (IoT)

The internet of things is the network of physical devices, vehicles, buildings and other items—embedded with electronics, software, sensors, actuators or passive RFID Tags and network connectivity that enable these objects to collect and exchange data.

 

ISO 14443 a/b

The international industry standard for contactless cards that operate (i.e., can be read or written to) at a distance of less than 10 centimeters (4 inches) (applicable for short range transponders).

 

ISO 15963

The international industry standard for contactless cards that operate (i.e., can be read or written to) at a distance of less than 10 centimeters (4 inches) (applicable for short range transponders).

This standard applies to long range transponders which offer a maximum read distance of 1-1.5 meters.

 

Key Fob

Small item, usually attached to a key chain that uses RFID technology for cashless payments at gas stations, for example.  

 

Label

RFID technology used for inventory tracking and supply chain management. For example, large suppliers attach labels including an RFID chip and an antenna to their products in order to enable the US Department of Defense and Wal-Mart to manage their complex supply chains in real time.

 

Low Frequency (LF)

The frequency of the electromagnetic waves used to transmit data from a transponder to a reader in an RFID system. The standard transmission frequencies for RFID systems are: low frequency (LF, 125-148.5 kHz), high frequency (HF, 13.56 MHz) and ultra high frequency (UHF, 400 MHz to 1 GHz). Differentiating characteristics include manufacturing costs of the individual components, data transmission rates and effective range.

 

Memory Chip

Integrated circuit used as a data storage device.

 

Microcontroller

Chip Integrated circuit that includes a microcontroller, i.e. a highly integrated computer chip that contains all the components comprising a controller. Since they can include sophisticated encryption functions and permit advanced data manipulation, microcontroller chips are often used in applications where data security and integrity are essential.

 

NFC Technology

Near Field Communication, or NFC, is a short-range, high frequency wireless RFID communication technology. NFC technology delivers on the promise of connecting the physical and virtual environments. NFC technology follows the ISO 14443 proximity standard.

NFC provides wireless communication between smart NFC devices, like NFC mobile phones and NFC enabled objects or other NFC receptions devices such as other mobile phones, payment terminals or identification readers.

 

Non-Secure RFID Products

RFID products that contain only a memory chip, as opposed to a microcontroller chip.

 

Passive transponder

A transponder which uses energy emitted by the reader’s electromagnetic field to power the chip and communicate signals.

 

Printing

One of several technologies used to produce a transponder’s antenna. In this process, the antenna is printed on PVC foil with a silver paste using a silk screen process.

 

Radio Frequency

The frequency of the electromagnetic waves used to transmit data from a transponder to a reader in an RFID system. The standard transmission frequencies for RFID systems are: low frequency (LF, 125-148.5 kHz), high frequency (HF, 13.56 MHz) and ultra high frequency (UHF, 400 MHz to 1 GHz). Differentiating characteristics include manufacturing costs of the individual components, data transmission rates and effective range.

 

Reader

Read and write unit for the data on the chip in a transponder.

 

RFID (Radio Frequency Identification)

Technology allowing for the contactless transmission of data between a chip and a reader via radio waves.

 

RFID System

An RFID system consists of a transponder and the reader. When the transponder is within the reader's working distance, it transmits data to the reader via radio waves.

 

Secure Printing House

Secure printing houses (which include private companies and governmental printers) produce official governmental documents such as ID cards, drivers' licenses and passports.

 

Secure RFID Products

RFID products that contain a microcontroller chip.  

 

Smart Label

RFID technology used for inventory tracking and supply chain management. For example, large suppliers attach labels including an RFID chip and an antenna to their products in order to enable the US Department of Defense and Wal-Mart to manage their complex supply chains in real time.

 

Substrate

Carrier material, such as plastic, that forms part of the finished product (for example, an ID card or key fob).

 

System Integrators

System integrators purchase printed and laminated cards from card manufacturers and printed and assembled ePassport booklets from secure printing houses. They personalize the cards and ePassports by putting software and personal data on the embedded chips and then supply the customized cards to the client or end-user.

 

Tag

General designation for a passive transponder with a customized housing.

Most RFID tags contain at least two parts. One is an integrated circuit (IC, microchip) for storing and processing information, modulating and demodulating a radio-frequency (RF) signal, and other specialized functions. The second is an antenna for receiving and transmitting the signal.  

 

Tracking

Process by which individual objects or pallets are tracked as they move through logistic systems.

 

Transponder

A transponder is a data carrier which comes in the form of a card, tag, key fob or label. It is a microelectronic circuit consisting of a microchip and an antenna bonded to a carrier material substrate.  

 

Ultrahigh Frequency (UHF)

The frequency of the electromagnetic waves used to transmit data from a transponder to a reader in an RFID system. The standard transmission frequencies for RFID systems are: low frequency (LF, 125-148.5 kHz), high frequency (HF, 13.56 MHz) and ultrahigh frequency (UHF, 400 MHz to 1 GHz). Differentiating characteristics include manufacturing costs of the individual components, data transmission rates and effective range.

 

Wire-bonding

One of several technologies used by inlay manufacturers to connect the antenna to a transponder's chip.