RFID transponder frequencyThere are three main frequencies used for RFID ID cards:

  1. Low-Frequency (LF) – 125kHz – the most common
  2. High-Frequency (HF) – 13.56MHz – the most secure
  3. Ultra-High Frequency (UHF) – 900MHz – the longest range

The majority of access control systems deployed over the past 25 years have used LF. While there are several standards within the LF range, the most common is referred to as “PROX” and was popularized by the industry leader in access control, HID. This technology tends to be mono-function, generally deployed only for building access.

Contactless smartcards generally operate at the HF frequency, and also are characterized by several ISO standards. Some offer various memory capacities, and others have a full microprocessor on board, which is often used to enhance security/encryption. This is the technology generally used for ID cards which allow network access or store payment information (like cafeteria credits).

Read-distances for LF and HF are generally just a few inches. Longer read-ranges, up to several meters, are available using UHF frequencies. This technology is often deployed if cards are used to open gates or garage doors. However, this technology is more typically used in item tracking applications, rather than for ID cards.

InstantCard is able to produce ID cards using all three of these frequencies. In general, the choice involves a trade-off between cost, security requirements, and the planned use-case.

Don’t hesitate to call us to discuss which technology makes the most sense for your organization!