RFID at Glance
RFID is an identification technology that remotely stores and retrieves data using RFID tags or transponders. RFID tags use integrated circuits and antennas to track items from a distance. The integrated circuit has a unique id for each item for the purpose of identification through radio waves.
The chip helps not only in storing and processing information, but also in modulating and demodulating RF signals. The antenna helps in receiving and transmitting signals. An RF reader sends out an RF signal, and any tags within its range will respond.
The Chip-less RFID tags are also available at lower cost than the integrated circuit based tags. Traditional RFID tags are available in three varieties: Passive, Active, and Semi Passive.
Based on their features, these tags are used in specific tracking purposes.
An RFID tag is represented through an EPC (Electronic Product Code) that is currently managed by EPCglobal. It is either a 64-bit or 96-bit identifier and its namespace is segmented into four hierarchically encapsulated partitions.
Header: Identifies the EPC version number and allows for different lengths or types of EPC such as Type I, Type II, Type III, and Type IV.
EPC Manager: Identifies the manufacturer of the product the EPC is attached to.
Object Class: Identifies the exact type of product, generally, the SKU (Stock Keeping Unit)
Serial Number: Identifies the unique id of the item.
RFID Tracking Model
- Humans and items are tagged.
- Tags are read by the Reader.
- Data is filtered (Middleware).
- EPCIS (EPC Information Service) facilitates access to serialized product information.
- ONS (Object Naming Service), similar to DNS (Domain Name Server) routes requests for information about a particular EPC.
- EPC Discovery Service has authoritative registry for every EPCIS.
RFID tags are used for tracking inventory, manufacturing, shipping, networking, and supply chain systems. By 2010, RFID tagged items will be available and tracked everywhere. Mapping between RFID and IPv6 facilitates the possibility of tracking everything.
IPv6 at Glance
IPv6 is a network protocol that succeeds IPv4 and provides end to end connection with 128 bit address space. It helps IP-networked devices to communicate by providing secure and specific addresses to each of these devices. IPv6 eradicates the address depletion problem and future networks are based on IPv6.
The first 64 bits are for the subnet portion and the last 64 bits are for the interface ID portion. Address types include Unicast, Multicast, and Anycast types. Unicast address types are assigned to single network interface while Multicast and Anycast are assigned to multiple network interfaces.
RFID Message Format
IPv6 Message Format
The address formats fit without any loss of functionality. In EPC, RFID space for a company is 60 bits with 28 bit object class and 32 bit serial number. A single IPv6 subnet can map this entire space. With integration, the RFID Object Class and Serial Number become the IPv6 Interface ID. So, each RFID tag can be addressable in the IPv6 network. The IPv6 prefix defines the scope of reach. With RFID and IPv6, everything can be tracked.
RFID-IPv6 Tracking Model
How it works?
The manufacturer attaches tags to the items that are packed into cases and loaded into palettes. The cases and palettes also contain their own tags to track geographical location and the movement of items. A reader at the loading dock reads all tags and this information is sorted and selectively forwarded. The information gets registered at Local and Global Registration Centers.
While shipping, items are loaded into shipping containers with RFID tags. The shipping workers would only need to carry a RFID receiver and they would automatically know whats in each container. The distributor now knows the details of the items that arrive at his distribution center. All items are read by the readers and quickly routed to the appropriate trucks. At toll gates, the trucks do not have to slow down and give money to the attendant.
They can just drive through a special line for vehicles equipped with RFID tags and the toll will automatically be added to the respective accounts and billed accordingly. This saves a lot of time and facilitates faster delivery of items to the destination. At retail outlet, the receiving dock readers read and update inventory information automatically. As smart shelves have their own readers, they raise replenishment orders.
With RFID tags attached to all the shopping items and shopping carts, as customers select items while shopping, RFID tags transmit the information to a receiver at the cash register. The customers get a complete cost summary waiting for them when they are ready to purchase the items. At checkout counter, the customers using RFID smart cards simply walk out of the store with their purchases as the reader at the door recognizes the items in the cart and debits their smart card.
- Increased Scalability, Reliability, and Security
- Faster global tracking
- Better coverage of all-IP and beyond
- Cost Factor
- Changing over to IPv6 from IPv4
- Complying to IPv6 norms