Most ID cards which are used for access control are embedded with HF (high-frequency) RFID chips operating at 13.56 MHz. This technology requires the card to be held within roughly 1″ of the reader, and offers enhanced security by, among other things, eliminating the possibility of inadvertently reading a card belonging to another person standing a few feet away.
However, there are times when long-range reading is required. For example, to read the badge of an employee as he enters/exits a secure area, without requiring “tapping”, requires the use of UHF (ultra-high-frequency) RFID, operating at 900 Mhz. At this frequency, antennas can be configured to read from several feet or even yards distance. This is, for example, the technology used in many highway systems reading a tag in your car’s windshield.

InstantCard clients use this technology in various ways to register when someone enters or leaves a given area. Depending on the way the readers are implemented, they can be used to provide tracking data, or to actually activate doors/gates.

The cost of UHF transponders (the chip/antenna combination embedded in the card) is generally lower than for HF, in part because they offer reduced functionality (like encryption). However, the cost of the readers and related infrastructure is much higher than for HF cards. As a result, there generally needs to be an excellent business case for implementing long-range badge reading.

InstantCard is able to print photo ID cards on UHF card stock. The technology we offer corresponds to the ISO 18000 standard, and is compatible with the standard for EPC (Electronic Product Code) Identification. We can also provide labels and tags using UHF standards.

Don’t hesitate to enquire if you believe that long-range RFID might be able to enhance your identity management operations.