An Empirical Study of UHF RFID Performance

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Executive Summary

This paper examines the performance of EPC Class-1 Generation-2 UHF RFID reader systems in a realistic setting. Specifically, one identifies factors that degrade overall performance and reliability with a focus on the physical layer, and one explores the degree to which reader configuration options can mitigate these factors. The paper uses a custom software-radio based RFID monitoring system and configurable RFID readers to gather fine-grained data and assess the effects of the different factors. The paper finds that physical layer considerations have a significant impact on reader performance, and that this is exacerbated by a lack of integration between the physical and MAC layers. The paper shows that tuning physical layer operating parameters can increase the read rate for a set of tags by more than a third.

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