RFID products are mainly divided into two categories: Active and Passive. Though they both adopt RFID technology, their functionalities are completely different and have distinct characteristics and capabilities. The most obvious difference is that active RFID tags have their own power source allowing the tag to continuously send signals to the reader, whereas passive RFID tags have to rely on the RF energy sent from the reader to give a signal. With this distinctive difference, active RFID products can be applied to wider range of applications and more convenience can be provided to users.
Tracking can only be performed by active tag because only active tags can actively send out signals periodically to the reader at a longer distance. Passive tags are required to be tapped against the reader for reading which could not possibly facilitate tracking functions. Digital sensors can be added to active tags to perform environmental control, such as monitoring the temperature and relative humidity of server rooms. Passive tags which are only a simple, flat circuit could not accommodate such sophisticated feature.
In some applications, both active and passive tags can perform the task, but active tags can perform the task in a better way. For example, in access control and customer relationship management, passive tag users have to take out the tag for the reader read, while active tag users can skip this process as the reading distance for active tags is much longer and reading of tags is not affected by water and metal.
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