Radio frequency identification (RFID) technology has broad applicability to the Automatic Identification and Data Capture (AIDC) industry in item management. As a wireless communication technique based on radio frequency technology, the applications cover multiple levels of the industrial, commercial and retail supply chains. These can include
- freight containers,
- returnable transport items (RTIs),
- transport units,
- product packaging,
- product tagging.
Performance tests define test methods that deliver results that allow the comparison of different RFID systems, interrogator and tags in order to select among them for use in a particular application.
The performance characteristics of devices (tags and interrogation equipment) can vary drastically due to application factors as well as the particular RFID air interface (frequency, modulation, protocol, etc.) being supported. Of key concern is the matching of the various performance characteristics to the user application. Additionally, in an open environment users of such technology demand multiple sources for these devices from technology providers. A key challenge is a method of evaluating the differences between various technology providers' products in a consistent and equitable manner.
ISO/IEC 18046-3:2007 provides a framework for meeting the above-noted concern and challenges. To this end, clear definitions of performance as related to user applications of RFID technology in the supply chain are provided. Based on such application-based definitions, test methods are defined with attention to the test parameters required for a consistent evaluation of RFID devices.
Of particular significance, these tests are defined for RFID devices having one antenna. It is common practice to have products with both single and multiple antennas to define an RFID transaction zone sufficient for the application. The defined methods can easily be extended from equipment with a single antenna to apply to equipment with multiple antennas, in order to evaluate performance under conditions more closely matching those of a particular application.
ISO/IEC 18046-3:2007 defines test methods for performance characteristics of RFID tags for item management, and specifies the general requirements and test requirements for tags which are applicable to the selection of the devices for an application. The summary of the test reports form a unified tag datasheet. It does not apply to testing in relation to regulatory or similar requirements.