RFID Readers And Blockers 

RFID readers or Radio frequency identification readers in full are a marvel of the 21st century. They have made so many aspects of our daily lives easier, more convenient and smarter. If you have come across an RFID reader, you are probably asking how do they work? Well, with some little bit of physics knowledge and a little braid power, I will give you an answer to your question and satisfy your curiosity.

Understanding RFID Readers

To better understand RFID readers, let’s first take a look into the technology itself. RFID uses radio waves to detect RFID tags or microchips that are often embedded in the target item. Radio waves are a form of electromagnetic waves along the electromagnetic spectrum. They have the longest wavelengths compared to other waves in the spectrum. Their wavelengths can reach 1km and thus very useful for transmitting signals over long distances. They will often be used to transmit signals for broadcasting stations, radar, satellites and mobile radio communication. They also have minimal or no effect to human beings and are therefore safe.

How do they work? RFID readers continually send a radio signal to detect any RFID tag that may be present. If a tag is within the range of the reader, then the tag send back a signal that is picked up by the reader. You could picture this occurrence as a mirror reflecting light. If you switch on a flashlight and a mirror is placed on the path of the beam of light, it will reflect the light beam back to the flashlight. This obviously depends on the angle of the mirror, but the important thing here, is the fact that the light beam is reflected. An important thing to note here is the fact that unlike bar codes, RFID readers send a signal within a given area. If a tag is within the area, it will reflect a signal back to the reader. Bar code readers on the other hand require the bar code to be in line with the incoming beam of light from the reader. Due to the wide area covered by the reader, it is possible to tract multiple objects at the same time as long as they fall within the given area and range.

As you have probably realized by now, the RFID technology requires two major items. A reader and a tag. RFID tags a small chips that to most people, make things smart. They make it possible to get information about an object without getting into contact with it. The RFID tag may look something similar to the chip on your credit card or sim card. They are classified into three. Passive tags. These tags do not have their own energy source. They therefore rely on energy from the incoming radio wave  in order to power themselves and give back a signal to be picked up by the receiver. Semi-passive tags. These do have their own power source. These power is primarily used to power the tag and its micro CPU. The power from the radio receiver is however used to power the output from the tag that is picked up by the receiver. Active Tag. They have their own power supply that is also used to transmit a signal to the receiver. They also have a wider range compared to the other two tag variants. The tags could be embedded in a credit card, a label or even a key chain. This enables use of the tags in almost any item you can think of. This is perhaps the main reason why they are widely used in shopping malls, with door fixed RFID receivers placed at the exits of the different shops.

Women's RFID Blocking Wallet
Women's RFID Blocking Wallet
The RFID tag has several basic components: The transponder, the rectifier circuit, the controller and finally memory. The transponder receives the radio signal from the detector and also sends the signal back to the detector. The rectifier circuit, often found in a passive tag, stores energy for use in the controller and subsequently the memory. Most RFID tags have every little memory storage that is often less than 200kb.

Now let take an in depth look into the RFID readers themselves. RFID readers have three basic components; the Microcontroller, the RF signal generator and the receiver also known as the signal detector. As we mentioned earlier, the RFID radio receiver sends radio waved that are detected by a tag. The RF signal generator creates this radio wave and emits it through an antenna. Conversely the receiver receives the signal from the tag.

Once the tag sends back the radio signal, the receiver’s antenna picks up the signal and sends it to the microprocessor for interpretation and processing of the signal received. In other instances, the device may be connected directly to a computer which then acts as the microprocessor. As mentioned earlier. Radio waves are within the electromagnetic spectrum, which is basically and arrangement of different waves, according to their frequency and wavelengths.

The frequencies of most RFID systems may either be low frequency, high frequency and ultra-high frequency. Low frequencies operate between 125 and 134 kHz, they also travel shorter distances, and with a range of up to 10 cm. High frequency is at 13.56 kHz. At this frequency, the wave can travel up to a range of 1m. Ultra-high frequency on the other hand, operate between 860 and 960 kHz. They have a range of up to 10m. The frequencies used depend on the specific country or customer requirements.

How do RFID blockers work? With the knowledge on how RFID technology works there are people who are have raised concerns. There are concerns that the technology presents a security and privacy risk, especially when used on credit cards. Companies have created products that protect tags from the technology and here is a how it works.

How Do RFID Blockers Work?

RFID blocking Wallet
RFID Blocking Wallet

How do RFID blockers work? RFID  blockers work by reducing or deflecting the power of the signal
emitted by the tag. The received radio signal powers the chip and if the outgoing signal from the chip can be reduced, then the reception of the signal by the receiver will have been prevented.

With this wonderful new technology being used to supply information quicker and faster in forms of say credit cards this is giving crooks an easier foot hold in getting a hold of your personal information instead of “picking your pocket.” With the new technology crooks are able to just casually pass by you on the street and with a small scanning device and scan your pocket with you having no possible idea that your information was just violated. Causing you big headaches and a long road of recovering your personal information.

 As a way to save people from this headache and to offer protection to the public RFID blocking wallets are becoming the new go to protection for most. Most companies have made this a standard in their wallets.