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The Difference Between the RFID Frequency Ranges (LF/HF/UHF)

The frequency range of an RFID system has a significant impact on multiple performance metrics like the read range and interference susceptibility, so it’s important to make sure you select the right frequency for your business application or use case. 

 LF/NFCHFUHF
Frequency range125 – 134.2 KHz13.56 MHz (global)433, 865 – 828 MHz (varies regionally)
Read range< 10 cm< 1 m1 – 100 m
Tag costRelatively expensiveVariesInexpensive (in high volumes)
Reader costRelatively inexpensive (established technology)Relatively inexpensive (established technology)More expensive (newer technology)
ApplicationsPet identification, access control, modern car keys, touchless payment methodsBook identification, smart cardsSupply chain tracking, inventory, livestock tracking
Performance in close proximity to conductive materialsUnaffected by nearby conductive materials (e.g., water, metal)Less affected by conductive materials than UHFHighly susceptible to nearby conductive materials (see anti-metal tags)
SecurityFew encryption capabilities, but less susceptible to eavesdroppingMultiple encryption and security featuresFew encryption options, but have read/write protection and anti-cloning capabilities
ISO standardsISO 11784, ISO 11785, ISO 18000ISO 15693, ISO 14443ISO 18000-6C
Supported tagsA wide variety of manufacturer-specific tags including NXP (Philips) HITAG, EM Microelectronic, and Texas InstrumentsA wide variety of tags including ISO 15693, ICODE (I & II) and the complete Mifare family of ISO14443 (A & B)EPC Class 1 Gen 2
Data transmission rateSlowFasterFastest
Simultaneous tag reading capabilitiesOnly single readsGoodExcellent

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