Sunny Lu (CEO of VeChain) Jianliang Gu (CTO of VeChain) Tech Deep Dive Series of VeChain Session 1, Episode 3: RFID Technology and Deployment Before getting into the topic of RFID, we need to define RFID. Roughly speaking, broadly, we will classify RFID into three categories
. The first category is the low frequency band from 125k to 134k. The second category is high-frequency bands, such as NFC high-frequency. The third category is RFID-related products with very high frequencies above 400 mhz, and exceeding 800 mhz or 900 mhz. In fact, RFID is a technology that existed in the 1990s. It has almost 30 years of history. Yes, it is relatively mature, but other frequency bands are expanded. For example, different frequencies or different products must be selected depending on the scenario. An RFID system contains many elements, and we can see that the first one is a card reader. For example,
let's say I have a UHF code scanner in my hand. Of course, there are also NFC code scanners for near-field communication. This is for industrial/industrial use. For example, in a large corporate warehouse or logistics environment, processes can be more easily scaled mechanically and operations can be easily scaled , eliminating the inconvenience of manual tasks on the phone.
Yes, this is a typical industrial machine model. The second part is RFID. This is very important. Look at this card. The card has two parts. The first part is the chip and the second part is the antenna. We will continue to discuss the board part as a topic in the next section. Near Field Communication and RFID will also be mentioned later. A finished RFID card usually consists of a chip, an antenna, and a board. Of course, a lot of software will be included as well. In the field of RFID, the scanner that everyone can see is ultra-high frequency RFID. These chips have a wide selection from top manufacturers like IMPINJ, NXP, EM, Alien, ST, etc. That's right, there's also ST. Yes, but ST only has NFC. But there are not many companies among the leaders. Currently, there are only two companies in this industry. One is IMPINJ and the other is ST. Of course, it can be said that some manufacturers currently have reader products, but only two of them were measured by “quantitative and stability” criteria. IMPINJ has over 80% market share, second is ST which basically covers the rest of the market.
That's why we decided to build a platform with IMPINJ vendors. Yes, from now on, let's talk about the antenna and the board. And later we will focus on the reader part as well. In the reader part we see the code scanner. There are also products such as UHF readers. This is a very complex chip with baseband and analog circuitry. What you are seeing now is this. This is very important, why? Because most of the RFID scanners you see today use this chip. It's a chip called R2000. There are three types of IMPINJ: R500, R1000 and
R2000. Among them, R2000 is the flagship product. It can scan up to 900 cards per second. The configuration of this product is more complex and includes analog circuitry, digital baseband, etc. We, VeChain, are currently
using the IMPINJ R2000 product.
Of course, working with IMPINJ includes chips and gateways. This is a code scanner installed in access control. Of course, it is not designed as a chip, but as a separate
device. like. At the same time, we took an X-ray image of IMPINJ at VeChain's Shanghai branch
. You mean the set we showed before? Yes, that is correct. You can manage storage, inventory and location
. The positioning precision is about 2m. Yes, you can also track at the same time, so you can keep track of where items are moving and where they are going. You can record your travel route. you're right. It is convenient for general store operation of 100 to 140 square meters
. It has already been applied to smart warehouse solutions. Yes, that's right. The most difficult part of your RFID and NFC cards is the antenna design. Why do we talk separately about near field communication, RFID, and UHF
? Because NFC 13.56MHz UHF 860-960MHz works very differently.
If you look at this, you can see this short-range radio card and you can find the antenna behind it. However, for HF antennas, the design is completely different from RFID antennas because they work differently. The frequency of 13.56 MHz for short-range wireless communication is not very high. Therefore, the principle of its operation is that of inductive coupling. Yes, that's right. So the distance is relatively close and the frequency is low, so the antenna design is relatively simple.
But for 860-960MHz UHF RFID, the working principle uses microwave principle. Like cell phones, it is achieved by high-frequency microwaves and electromagnetic induction. Here, we need to talk about one thing like RFID. When customers come we will ask questions. During our design process, it is important to find the right product for them. In short, besides the requirements of the frequency band on which the chip is based or its own technical specifications, we need to consider the actual application scenarios. Yes. Then it might be possible to say This way, it is also used in mainstream products, as well as certificates and paper products that can be used for harder materials such as the interior of high-end products. Behind it, maybe even a QR code, a dual HD presentation used in other places. Yes, that is correct. Now I want to focus on the RFID part. This is because it is the most used by companies for logistics and storage management. When discussing with our customers, we need to figure out what they really need.
(eg reader, fixed or portable) Yes. And how the RFID card was installed on the product. We will evaluate based on these two aspects. They will also ask about the type of card and the materials used. When you look at this… you can see how it is in contact with the product. The design of these contact materials, these are some of the experiences we have accumulated over the last 2-3 years. When the tech team of our future community provides solutions for these different enterprise scenarios, I'm not saying that only blockchain can do it, but the Internet of Things can too.
In fact, this is a very complex process. Yes. In the perception of many in the industry , let's take an example like this card. Everyone knows that this is a card. And the black dots are real chips. Yes, it's a very small chip. Yes, it's a small chip. There are a lot of people in the industry who make this kind of chip. If you can really make this like the IMPINJ reader mentioned earlier, or something that can read these standard devices, it must meet the ISO18000-63 standard. Yes. If the criteria are not met… Universal protocol, a common protocol recognized by everyone. Yes, it will be more general. The difficulty in card design is the antenna. The price of the chips on this card is
only 40% of the total card. Most of the cost is in the antenna. And the design of the antenna. When using this RFID card, we need to discuss with the customer what his application scenario is as it is a very high frequency antenna
That's right. Therefore, its application scenario cannot be used for liquids and metals. This part should discuss this issue with the customer at an early stage. Based on this premise, we will consider the design of the antenna together. you're right. It seems to me that there are three aspects to consider when designing an antenna. The first part is the resonant frequency, the second part is the gain and the third part is the polarization. For resonant frequencies, as we mentioned earlier for Europe and America , their frequencies are different, but
we cannot design a card suitable for use only in Europe or the United States. Because we cannot ship this card. i See. So when we design our cards, we want to be able to use as many frequencies as possible.
Overall yes, but it doesn't work when using this code scanner
. You must set the appropriate frequency band for each area. Therefore, this product is designed to cover this frequency band in antenna design. There is another problem.
Do you know what the name is because there is something very important in the antenna design like this one? I don't know. This is a dipole antenna. What is a dipole? It is a dipole. The radiation from this antenna is invisible. The antenna radiates this circle. great. I need to know what kind of problem that will cause, because the crux of the problem is that the middle part is empty. There is no benefit at this point. No signal is
received in the middle. So, when we design it, we need to know where to put this card and how the card reader works.
Yes, how to read, such as from a certain direction, from a certain angle. like. Or, if you put it his way, it may not be read. Yes, you'll probably have to read it from the side. It's okay to read side by side. But maybe you need to use a mobile scanner to scan from all angles, or if you are scanning using a stationary device (for example, whether you need to install more antennas on the access control to scan). Yes. Of course, we have other designs like True3D designs. Antenna radiation can be used from any angle. That's right. We need to meet different requirements of our customers (eg item size). Yes. You have to consider which scenario you are applying for , what material is
used for the substrate, for example plastic, paper, glass, and even anti-metal tags. Look, first, there is thickness. Second, there is metal behind the antenna. All of this must be taken into account. Overall, you still have to rely on different application scenarios. The scenario is different. Right. To talk about RFID, I also want to ask a question.
This is a hotter issue being discussed in the community. RFID existed in the 1990s and has been around for nearly 30 years. The technology has been advancing, but
nothing fundamental has changed. Yes, there are no major changes. For example, since we are combining the Internet of Things, RFID, and near field communication with
blockchain, a hot topic we are talking about is the
Internet of Things (IOT) devices, and we are very clear about the active tags of these devices. . Can these RFID or NFC with passive tags communicate directly to or directly to the blockchain? That's a very good question. In order to communicate directly with the blockchain, in other words, you need to implement some transactions towards the blockchain. fetching read and write data. But the first thing we should be clear about is that this is
a passive tag that can't do anything proactively. That's right. You must have a reader like this. Active tag or data store. Yes, it will help you do that.
This is one point. Next, the second point is that
near field communication and RFID are different. This is because short-range wireless communications are closely inductively coupled. Therefore, its energy is relatively larger. great. The asymmetric encryption algorithm can be implemented like a short-range wireless communication based MCU. For example, we use the ellipse algorithm for transplantation. However, this kind of RFID by itself has relatively little energy. It's then that you use your limited energy to overcome the distance. Yes, this is the first problem. And the second problem is that implementing this kind of asymmetric encryption algorithm requires the introduction of MCUs and Card Operating System (COS)
systems. It is very difficult to implement without considering the cost. of course. There is currently nothing on the market. Yes. I think it depends on the actual application scenario. This is a cost issue. you're right. For example, if we apply these chips to clothes worth tens of dollars, I think this is unrealistic. That's right, we want to give our customers the best choice and the best quality. You also need to consider the return on investment (ROI) issue.
you're right. Next Episode: Introduction to Sensors and Smart Chips.