7 RFID Costs from Tag to Implementation | Link Labs (2023)

7 RFID Costs from Tag to Implementation | Link Labs (1)

Released November 20, 2020

Both passive and activeRFIDare commonly used in real-time location systems (RTLS). Although they perform a similar function, they use very different technologies.

Passive RFID systems use a powerful, low-frequency actuator to radiate energy onto a tag. The tag absorbs the energy and re-emits a coded message at a higher frequency and lower power to the operator.

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The main benefit of passive RFID systems is that the tags are very inexpensive, ranging from $0.10 to $1.50 per tag. These tags also don't require batteries, so they last for years. The disadvantage of passive RFID is that the infrastructure is expensive and it can only detect a tag's "presence", not its precise location.

Active RFID systems, on the other hand, use battery-powered tags that signal or connect to multiple access point readers in an area (such as a building) and transmit data to the server or cloud. Active RFID tags (like Bluetooth or ultra-wideband) are more expensive ($10 or more) but have the advantage of using a much cheaper reading infrastructure.

So the real tradeoffs between these two types of technology are 1) cost transfer from tags to infrastructure and 2) negotiation complexity and accuracy for lower overall system cost.

There are different costs depending on the type of RFID system you want to implement. Here's a breakdown of seven RFID costs so you're prepared before you choose and integrate a specific type of technology:

1. Equipment Cost

When choosing a passive RFID system, you need to consider the cost of the RFID reader in addition to the cable and antenna costs. For example oneLeitor Impinj Speedwaycan cost around $1,500, and when additional reader and cabling costs are factored in, your passive RFID system in a manufacturing environment can total $3,000 per reader.

To get the location granularity you need, you'll likely need a dense network of these readers, so make sure you budget accordingly. Keep in mind that you typically also need Power over Ethernet (POE) for passive RFID devices, which can increase device costs.

In a typical manufacturing environment, RFID readers are required at all entrances and exits, as well as in common material storage areas. If a tagged article is placed in an area where there are no readers, the article cannot be found. The location can be derived from the last input/output event seen or by manually "searching" the tag with a handheld reader. The use of portable inventory "weapons" is particularly common inRFID aerospace.

The equipment needed for active RFID is significantly cheaper (about 10 times less) than the equipment for passive RFID because the readers are not as powerful or technologically advanced. WhileBand-Ultras (UWB) can get even more expensivecompared to passive RFID, they have the advantage of incredibly precise positioning, often to within a few centimetres.

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A standard Bluetooth-based active RFID system can have varying degrees of accuracy. The AirFinder system uses a hybrid approach, placing locator beacons in areas to aid in accuracy that can only be achieved with active standard RFID.

2. Installation Costs

Passive RFID installation should be performed by an expert with experience in setting up equipment, aligning antennas, performing necessary connectivity tests, and configuring network settings and details. Readers are usually connected via a LAN to a central server, which is typically on-site and processes all RFID data.

Special antennas are used for passive RFID and must be installed and calibrated to ensure proper performance. For these reasons, the installation cost of passive RFID is significant.

On the other hand, manyactive RFID systemslike AirFinder can be installed by a member of your IT team in just one day, making the process easier and much less expensive. In general, the exact placement of an active reader is not important; You can position it where is most convenient, eliminating the cost of reinstalling. However, active ultra-wideband RFID systems have installation costs that can even exceed those of passive RFID.

The ongoing maintenance costs associated with both systems are about the same. These costs primarily relate to problems with devices that are not connected or offline for other reasons. Because passive RFID systems have larger standalone antennas, they are more prone to damage in busy industrial environments, so your installations may require some modifications to accommodate the hardware.

3. Label Cost

One of the main benefits of passive RFID is the low cost of the tags, often well under a dollar. An exception is when you need to tag a metal object, in which case the tags are a bit more expensive as ordinary passive RFID tags don't work properly. There are other highly specialized RFID tags for laundries or autoclaves that can do even more.

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Tags are one of the few items that cost more for active RFID. While RF beaconing-style active RFID tags are still cheaper than tags used for alternative technologies like Wi-Fi and ultra-wideband, you can expect to pay up to (or more) for an active RFID tag. Pay 100x more than a passive RFID tag, ranging from $5 to $15 each.

Additionally, active RFID tags can be coupled with long-range technology such as cellular and GPS for seamless location and tracking indoors and out, so they can be well worth the added cost of your application.

Another cost factor for active tags is the maintenance cost of the batteries. Some systems have disposable labels, while others allow for battery replacement. In any case, when calculating the total system cost for an active RTLS system, the battery life cycle costs and the labor involved must be taken into account.

4. Software Costs

Passive and active RFID readings are useless without asset management software—and that kind of software can cost a lot of money. You can learn more about themFeatures you must look for in real-time location system (RTLS) software.

In general, the complexity and specialization of the software determine the costs. Simple tag reading software can be an open source project, while maintaining an RFID integrated into a company's ERP application can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Many active RTLS systems like AirFinder use a SaaS cloud model, where the software is bundled with the cost of other parts of the system.

5. Ongoing License Fees

While active RFID licensing costs are typically bundled with software, passive RFID technologies often require ongoing licensing costs that are used for software upgrades and support. These can be quite expensive, so consider these costs before committing to passive RFID technology.

These license fees are particularly common for Wi-Fi-based RTLS systems, where location technology is an add-on to existing Wi-Fi access points.Cisco Merakiis an example of an active Wi-Fi based RTLS system that incurs an ongoing license fee.

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6. Maintenance Costs

As mentioned above, passive scanners are more complex than active scanners due to their extensive wiring, antennas, etc. problems over time.

Active RFID systems are less complex, but their tags contain batteries. This means that the tags need to be serviced from a few months to a few years, depending on their life expectancy.

Training is another aspect of ongoing system maintenance that some customers fail to consider. For the deployment of an RTLS system to be successful, all personnel must receive initial and ongoing training to achieve the full ROI from that system.

7. The integrator diet

If you choose to purchase an active or passive RFID solution from an integrator, you are likely paying a premium over what you would pay if you went directly to the technology solution provider. However, integrators often have teams of experts to help you choose the best technology for your problem, which can offset the added cost.

Some RTLS technology companies offer their own installation, design, and support services for their devices. AirFinder typically includes these services in your ongoing system costs.

It would be wrong to say that active or passive RTLS RFID systems are more suitable for a customer based on cost alone. Often, both systems can cost about the same when you consider all of the above. You need to find a balance between system resources, location accuracy, number of tags, and ongoing maintenance and support to get the most from your investment.

Large companies -- or companies with complex use cases -- may opt for standalone asset tracking software to run multiple tracking and detection solutions. But many organizations looking for tracking technology are more interested in buying a full stack.RTLS solution. If you choose an all-in-one solution, you don't have to worry about integrating hardware and software.

Learn more about a proven, cost-effective active RFID solution.

If you want more informationAirFinder, and since other organizations have saved on the cost of RFID RTLS systems, you're welcome to do socontact us. We are happy to support you with your research and planning.


How much does RFID cost for implementation? ›

An RFID implementation could cost as little as ten thousand dollars for a small, well defined project or hundreds of thousands of dollars—if you're trying to outfit a large, complicated warehouse with a mixture of mobile readers, fixed gateways and autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) with RFID capabilities.

How could the use of RFID tags reduce costs for a company in tracking its products? ›

Saving time and money through automation

RFID applications can automatically track the movement or goods and upload the information to the ERP or financial management system. Therefore they can remove the need for manual form filling and replace outdated spreadsheets.

What is the cost of active RFID reader? ›

Active RFID Reader 2.4Ghz at Rs 49500 | RFID card reader in Coimbatore | ID: 20881080733.

What is RFID and cost? ›

The tag absorbs the energy and radiates back a coded message to the actuator at a higher frequency and lower power. The primary advantage of passive RFID systems is that tags are very inexpensive, ranging from $0.10 to $1.50 per tag. These tags also don't require batteries, so they last for many years.

How long does it take to implement RFID? ›

A commercially available all-in-one RFID hardware and software solution could potentially be purchased and deployed within a few weeks. A custom RFID solution that addresses complex business problems and requires much testing and custom software development may take 6 to 12 months to fully deploy.

What are some advantages and disadvantages of using RFID technologies? ›

RFID systems are much more efficient for scanning a large number of items but can be more expensive and require more setup than barcodes. On the other hand, barcode systems can sometimes be more accurate but are less durable and secure than RFID.

What are the 3 benefits of RFID? ›

  • It Increases Operational Efficiency. ...
  • It Eliminates Human Error. ...
  • It Reduces Capital Costs. ...
  • It Grants Access to Real-Time Data. ...
  • Offers Insights for Better Decision Making.
Aug 14, 2019

What are the benefits of RFID implementation? ›

RFID can increase efficiency over standard barcode technology by reading multiple tags at once. Tags are able to store more information per chip than a barcode, and wireless scanners that have the ability to instantly identify and capture data when within scanning range.

What is the cost of reusable RFID tags? ›

Uhf 865-928 Mhz Reusable RFID Jewellery Tag (Upto 3.5 mt), Size: Small, Model Name/Number: Ets-rt 06b at Rs 25 in Delhi.

What is the cost of high frequency RFID? ›

Portable HF RFID High Frequency Reader at Rs 13999 in Surat | ID: 19354133262.

Are RFID replacements free? ›

RFID users entitled to one free replacement

You can't redeem the replacement once the tag is terminated. To get a replacement, just go to the RFID Portal, click on the RFID Tag, and then select “Request replacement tag” from the drop-down menu.

What is RFID tagging system? ›

RFID tags are a type of tracking system that uses radio frequency to search, identify, track, and communicate with items and people. Essentially, RFID tags are smart labels that can store a range of information from serial numbers, to a short description, and even pages of data.

How do RFID security tags work? ›

An RFID system consists of a tiny radio transponder, a radio receiver and transmitter. When triggered by an electromagnetic interrogation pulse from a nearby RFID reader device, the tag transmits digital data, usually an identifying inventory number, back to the reader. This number can be used to track inventory goods.

What steps we should do before installing an RFID system? ›

Protect the RFID readers and antennas so they don't get bumped, moved or damaged. Ensure that LED's and visual indicators on the RFID device are easily visible.
Just to list a couple:
  1. RFID tag, hardware and software selection.
  2. Site survey and workflow analysis.
  3. Proof of concept testing.
  4. System design.
  5. Procurement.

How is RFID calculated? ›

The distance from the reader to the tag is calculated based on the travel speed of a radio wave in the speed of light (approximately 300,000 kilometers per second—see Readers That Sense Distance).

What is RFID used for example? ›

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is a technology that uses radio waves to passively identify a tagged object. It is used in several commercial and industrial applications, from tracking items along a supply chain to keeping track of items checked out of a library.

What are the challenges in implementing RFID? ›

The major challenge is the price and return on investment (ROI) in the implementation of RFID technology. Companies have to bear the cost of all RFID elements; RFID tags, readers, hardware, software along with the routine maintenance.

How long do RFID tags last? ›

Active: Active RFID tags usually last between three to five years, depending on the battery. Some tags may allow for battery replacement, while other tags may not. These tags also last much longer than other RTLS technologies such as ultra wide-band tags and WiFi tags).

How long does it take to read an RFID tag? ›

I have seen more than 50 passive high-frequency (HF) and ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) tags read within a second. So the read time is mere milliseconds. But the big advantage RFID offers over bar codes is that RFID does not require line of sight.

How much does RFID cost vs barcode? ›

A passive RFID tag may average 11 cents each vs. a barcode label costing less than a penny.

What are 2 disadvantages of RFID? ›

​​Disadvantages of RFID Technology

Limited Storage - Even most non-volatile memory requires power to keep its contents from degrading. Without an onboard battery, passive tags can't store much information. Requires Reader - Passive types of an RFID tag require a high-powered reader to even power on.

How does RFID improve efficiency and customer service? ›

RFID has made shopping more convenient for the customers. RFID tagging of individual items improves access to data, making it easier to find the item. RFID tags can be helpful to retail stores and provide better customer service through better product/service identification.

What are the three 3 main parts of the RFID system? ›

Every RFID system consists of three components: a scanning antenna, a transceiver and a transponder. When the scanning antenna and transceiver are combined, they are referred to as an RFID reader or interrogator. There are two types of RFID readers -- fixed readers and mobile readers.

What are the three main types of RFID system? ›

RFID tags can be grouped into three categories based on the range of frequencies they use to communicate data: low frequency (LF), high frequency (HF) and ultra-high frequency (UHF). Generally speaking, the lower the frequency of the RFID system, the shorter the read range and slower the data read rate.

What are the two types of RFID? ›

RFID systems can be broken down by the frequency band within which they operate. There are also two broad categories of systems—passive and active RFID.

Why do companies use RFID tags? ›

RFID technology is especially widely used in production and logistics. It allows companies to track their entire supply chain easily. They can ensure things like an uninterrupted refrigeration chain, and they can identify missing goods instantly.

What is RFID technology and how can it be used for payments? ›

Contactless payment technology allows transactions without requiring physical contact between the card and the terminal. The system uses Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), which allows the cardholder to wave the RFID card in front of a contactless payment terminal to complete a transaction.

How many RFID tags are there? ›

There are two types of RFID tags: passive RFID tags and battery-powered RFID tags. Passive RFID tags use the reader's radio wave energy to send its stored information to the reader. Battery-powered RFID tags are embedded with small batteries that power the relay of information.

How many RFID tag can I buy? ›

You can order up to TEN (10) TNG RFID Tags in a single order. However, this number may be revised as per our discretion.

Are RFID tags worth it? ›

Reduce Loss, Theft, and Shrink

RFID tagging also helps companies with inventory control by keeping track of any moving products that are not authorized to do so. This is especially important with high-value products like computers, televisions, and automobiles.

How much does a radio tag cost? ›

The 'desi' product that is being manufactured by two Bengaluru-based startups are available at Rs 25,000 to Rs 40,000.

What is the cost of RFID antenna? ›

AN480 RFID UHF Antenna at Rs 13750/piece | RFID Reader in Chennai | ID: 17045512155.

How much does a single RFID tag cost? ›

Generally speaking, active tags are $25 and up.

Are RFID tags reusable? ›

RFID labels can be reused by deleting the stored data and replacing it with new data (read/write cycles: 500,000) . Which is also true for closed transport systems, such as transport containers.

Can my phone do RFID? ›

Can my phone be used as RFID tag? Yes, you can use your phone as RFID tag. For Android or Windows phones you enable NFC. In case of an Apple you need to enable Bluetooth.

How did Walmart implement RFID? ›

In 2020, Walmart began to deploy UHF RFID technology at its stores to track apparel goods as they were received, displayed and sold. The passive UHF RFID labels are linked to each garment to create a unique identity that can be captured via handheld or fixed readers.

Can you program your own RFID? ›

It is easy to get an RFID tag from Internet for less than 1 USD, when you get one tag, you can start you DIY programming it. When the electronic tag is close to the phone, it can be read. This is the current protocol for electronic tags. In fact, this protocol also clarifies the frequency of electronic tags.

Is RFID more expensive than barcode? ›

Cost is one of the main obstacles to RFID technology for many businesses. A typical barcode label costs a few cents each, while an RFID tag can run from one dollar upwards of 30 dollars. depending on the type of tag you need. RFID readers are also about ten times more expensive than barcode scanners.

How does target use RFID? ›

Why Does Target Company Use RFID Technology? Target has rolled out RFID technology in its store to change the display of products in-store, enhance supply chain infrastructure, bring transparency, visibility and availability.

Why Walmart wants its suppliers to adopt RFID? ›

Decision-makers at Walmart believed that the company was lacking in sales and customer satisfaction due to inaccurate stock numbers. They hoped that enhanced supply chain visibility and more accurate ordering decisions made possible by RFID could resolve these issues.

Why did Walmart require its largest suppliers to use Rfids? ›

For Walmart, RFID provides unmatched inventory accuracy. According to Shelly McDougal, Walmart's senior director of merchandising: “We have seen dramatic results in our ability to ensure product is available for our customers, leading to improved online order fulfillment and customer satisfaction.”

What are the pros and cons of RFID? ›

To ensure you receive the most ROI, consider the following pros and cons before investing in RFID for your retail business.
  • PRO: Inventory control. ...
  • PRO: Enhanced data and inventory detail. ...
  • PRO: Smart shelving. ...
  • PRO: Cut checkout wait times. ...
  • CON: Security. ...
  • CON: Privacy and transparency. ...
  • CON: Cost and integration.
Feb 21, 2023

What are the disadvantages of RFID tags? ›

​​Disadvantages of RFID Technology

Limited Storage - Even most non-volatile memory requires power to keep its contents from degrading. Without an onboard battery, passive tags can't store much information. Requires Reader - Passive types of an RFID tag require a high-powered reader to even power on.

What are the benefits any five of RFID implementation at the library? ›

Correctly operating readers and tags can have near 100% detection rates. Since the tags and sensors communicate with the Integrated Library System (ILS) it is possible to know exactly which items are moving out of the library. The high reliability is especially important when RFID is used in theft detection.

Which software is used for RFID? ›

RFID Middleware is a radio-frequency identification (RFID) software, that sits between the readers and the enterprise/business applications.

Can I use my phone as an RFID? ›

Yes, you can use your phone as RFID tag. For Android or Windows phones you enable NFC. In case of an Apple you need to enable Bluetooth. Traditionally a RFID tag is a smart card, badge, ticket or drop.

How do you write data to an RFID tag? ›

How to write 128bit data?
  1. Read your tag's PC bits with Offset as 2 and length as 2. ...
  2. If your's PC bits are 3000, your tag was configured as 96 bits EPC data only.
  3. Write your tag's PC bits data to 4000 by setting offset as 2 and length as 2.
  4. Read your tag's PC bits again and check if the value had changed to 4000.

Is RFID cost effective? ›

It Reduces Capital Costs

If any of these suddenly disappear, replacing them could cost you significantly. RFID provides an easy and relatively inexpensive way to keep track of these assets.

What are the advantages of RFID tags over barcodes? ›

RFID avoids the limitations of barcode scanning, which requires line-of-sight access to each barcode and can only be used to scan one item at a time. Instead, RFID tags do not require line-of-site, and multiple RFID tags can be detected and read remotely and simultaneously.


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