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RFID vs. barcodes

While both RFID chips and barcodes provide a source of product information, the differences between the two technologies are vast. RFID technology offers much greater reliability and functionality compared to barcode technology.

Features making RFID technology superior to barcodes:

  • greater speed of reading service - RFID tags do not need to be in line of sight to be read, so they can be read without moving goods near the readers, as their reading range is greater, and multiple tags can be read simultaneously - for example, all tags from products on a given pallet;
  • Increased amount of product information - barcode is limited and static product information, RFID tags, on the other hand, have an EPC code linked to a database, so the amount of information is limited only by the capacity of the database, and the data can be changed dynamically, as the company can update it in real time in the information system;
  • The ability to use the same RFID tags throughout the supply chain. With barcodes, it happens that the information on them is not used by the next link in the chain, because the barcode has a different standard or is unreadable. The EPC code is a widely recognized standard, so RFID tags can be used throughout the supply chain;
  • greater information security - the barcode can be read by anyone, and access to the RFID tag can be limited by a password known only to a group of recipients with granted access. The EPC code identifies each piece of product separately, so it is more difficult to forge than bar codes;
  • The possibility of use in extreme conditions - temperature, humidity. RFID tags can be equipped with additional sensors for tracking environmental parameters;
  • The ability to reuse tags after reprogramming.

All of these benefits argue for replacing barcodes with RFID tags, although there are many applications where barcodes will still perform very well. These include all those applications where a short read range, a single scan of the product is sufficient, where data does not need to be secured, and where tags do not need to be used repeatedly.

Source: based on article published by RFID Arena