Admin posted on February 3, 2014 16:36

Over the last 6 months almost every leading passive RFID tag vendor has released new thinner metal-mount RFID tags. Metalcraft, Omni-ID, Confidex, XERAFY, and most other leading tag vendors all have flexible metal-mount tags that are .05" or less thick. Although all of them seem ideal for tracking laptops because they are metal-mount and very thin, their performance varies widely.

It may seem tempting to pick the one that will look best on your laptops, but choose wisely. Don't make your selection based on the read ranges documented by the vendor, because these were likely obtained on a solid metal object in an ideal lab environment. A lot of laptop cases are plastic or "metalic" at best, so the performance will not be the same as placing the tags on solid metal. We saw read range variances of more than 10 feet between the different tags we tested. It is also important to note that some tags may work better on different laptops, so it is important to test with the make(s)/model(s) of laptops you are using. Also test on a variety of locations on the laptop as the performance can vary significantly from one spot to another. Although most organizations would prefer to place the tag on the bottom of the laptop, this will typically significantly reduce the range of the tag. Generally placing tags somewhere on the lid will provide the best performance. Unfortunately there isn't a clear-cut best tag for laptops. It really depends on the make/model and where you want to place the tag.

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Admin posted on October 16, 2013 05:30

RFID has many advantages over manual and barcode processes for physically inventorying assets. The main advantages are...

RFID Can Read Multiple Tags Simultaneously
Performing a manual inventory process requires personnel to individually match tag ID's or serial numbers. This can be a very time consuming and prone to inaccuracies. Using barcodes speeds up the inventory process and makes it more accurate, but still requires each asset to be scanned individually. Many handheld RFID readers for can read up to 20 tags or more simultaneously.

RFID Does Not Require Line-of-Sight
Both manual and barcode processes require that the tags be physically located and viewable. Another advantage of RFID is the ability to read tags that are not visible. Unlike barcodes and human readable tags that must be physically located and viewable to read, RFID tags do not need to be visible to be read. For example, tagging a PC up under a desk would require personnel to crawl up under the desk to physically locate and view the tag when using a manual or barcode process. Using an RFID tag would allow personnel to read the tag through the desk without even seeing it. There are some exceptions to this rule when metal and liquid are involved.

Process Improvement
Physically inventorying and auditing assets can be a time consuming process that can pull valuable employees from their normal job responsibilities to participate in an inventory. In many cases these employees are over-qualified and over-paid for the task. At a minimum, pulling these personnel away from their responsibilities can affect the bottom line. Implementing an RFID asset inventory solution can dramatically reduce the man-power required to keep track of your assets and provide better visibility. 

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Admin posted on April 13, 2013 10:55

NOTE: Also read this updated post: RFID Laptop Tracking - Update

Tracking laptops with RFID can be a challenge, especially if the application is security-related. 


  • Metal
  • Tag placement
  • Ensuring good read rates

Because laptops contain a lot of metal, typical passive RFID tags will be pretty much useless.  Even though the laptop may have a plastic outer shell, the amount of metal in the screen and other components will generate interference.  Therefore a "metal mount" RFID tag will be required. 

Because "metal mount" RFID tags are thicker than a label, they cannot be mounted flush on the laptop.  Most people don't like the idea of a tag that is 1/8-1/4" or more thick stuck to a laptop.  Partially for aesthetic reasons, but also because they don't want the tag catching on something when going in/out of a laptop bag.  Tags with a tapered edge would be ideal to prevent the tag from catching, but the edges of most tags don't taper.  Sometimes placing a short metal mount tag along one of the sides will work, but most laptops have too many ports and no flat surface areas large enough to place a tag on the side.  Therefore placing a tag somewhere on the lid is usually the only option.

When placing the tag on the lid of the laptop is the only option, the thinner the tag the better.  However, thinner tags usually provide shorter read ranges, so a performance vs. aesthetic/usability decision will need to be made.

If security is a requirement, passive RFID typically won't be a good option.  Because passive UHF RFID cannot read through metal or liquid, something as simple as your hand covering the tag can prevent it from being read when moving past a reader.  Active RFID provides better read rates, has less interference issues, and provides options for motion and tamper detection making it a much better choice for securing laptops.  The only downside is that the size of the tag will be even larger than a passive RFID tag because it has a battery.  The larger more visible tag can act as a deterrent. 

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Admin posted on December 15, 2012 06:10

The easiest type of RFID asset tracking solution to implement is a solution that leverages a handheld RFID reader to automate the process of inventorying assets.  These types of RFID solutions typically require far less consulting, engineering, installation and tuning than implementations that involve fixed RFID readers. 

The main steps involved in implementing a handheld RFID reader solution are:

1. Select RFID asset tracking software - unless you have internal software developers with RFID experience and plenty of time, it is typically more cost effective to purchase commercially available RFID asset tracking software solution such as RFTrack.

2. Select a handheld RFID reader - you definitely want to do this prior to or as part of the process of evaluating tags, because tag read ranges will vary from between vendors and models.  If you have already selected a software vendor, you will want to make sure you select a handheld that is supported by the software.

3. Evaluate RFID tags - there is no standard RFID asset tag, so you need to make sure you evaluate appropriate RFID tags that are designed to be used on the types of assets you plan to tag.  Select a vendor that will help you evaluate tags from multiple leading vendors to make sure you evaluate and select the best tags available.

4. Tag the assets - make sure you accurately keep track of which tags are placed on which assets.  Some RFID software solutions provide features to automate this process.


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RFID is a great technology for tracking assets, but there are some exceptions.  Passive UHF RFID in particular should typically not be implemented to secure assets.  Because of the frequency that it operates at, it cannot penetrate metal or liquid. 

If you want to secure laptops for instance from leaving a building, there are too many ways to circumvent passive RFID.  The most obvious method to circumvent the technology is to just remove the tag.  Simply putting the laptop in a metal briefcase and walking past a reader would prevent the tag from being read.  Even in a nylon or leather laptop bag, there many environmental variables that can cause interference.  A cell phone, PDA, iPod or other electronic device with a lot of metal purposely or inadvertently being placed near or on the RFID tag on the laptop can prevent the tag from being read.  Even something as simple as placing your hand over the tag will typically prevent it from being seen by the reader.  There is enough saline (liquid) in the human hand to prevent the RF from penetrating.

Although there are numerous applications where Passive UHF RFID is well suited for tracking items, technologies like Active RFID are better suited for applications where security is a requirement.  Some of the Active RFID systems operate at frequencies that are less susceptible to interference from metal and liquid.  Because they have a battery, the signal is typically much stronger and more difficult to shield.  Many of the Active RFID tags also have tamper detection capabilities, so you know if someone tries to remove the tag from the asset.  These capabilities make Active RFID a much better choice for securing assets.

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