Tag Archives: usb rfid reader

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What is the best UHF RFID Label Tag in 2017? Best of 6 Common Retail UHF Label Tags

Category:eChain News,eChainRF-Asset Mgt,Learn,RF Hardware & Tags Tags : 

Tag Test 6 Common UHF RFID Label Tags by eChain Technology

There are hundreds of UHF RFID tags currently available on the market and new tags appearing every week (it seems).  Tags are customized to meet so many scenarios from on-metal, laundry, high-temp, small/micro, cable tags, zip-tie tags, wet inlay (adhesive backed sticker), printable label tags, and more…

Trying to find the best tag on the market for any given scenario can be extremely time consuming, and misleading capabilities documented by tag manufacturers don’t help at all.

From time to time, we evaluate available RFID tags to help us narrow the list to a manageable few tags for our customers and to recommend to RFID users based on a controlled tag comparison. This particular tag test provided results that was surprising even to us, and I think will help guide you to using a relatively new tag that had superior results compared to all other commonly used UHF RFID Label Tags.

Tags Tested:

  1. Alien Squiggle – ALN-9640 (Higgs 3) aftermarket, 4x.5 inch inlay
  2. AD-227m5 – Avery Dennison (Monza 5) from manufacturer, 4×2 inch label
  3. xWing – Invengo (Monza 5) from manufacturer, 3×2 inch label
  4. Alien Short – ALN-9662 (Higgs 3) aftermarket, 3×2 inch label
  5. Frog 3D, SMARTRAC (Monza 4) from manufacturer, 2×2 inch inlay
  6. AD-229r6 – Avery Dennison (Monza r6), from manufacturer, 4x.5 inch inlay


UHF USB Reader

UHF USB Reader

We decided to use the eChain High-Power USB Desktop RFID Reader for this test.  This reader is very easy to use, has a maximum output power of 26 dBm (0.4W), and connects directly to PC using USB Cable.  While we could have used a much more powerful reader like the Impinj R420, some of these tags can be read at over 60 ft using the R420 and extreme range testing is something we will plan for a future experiment.  For this test, we are focused on documenting both the reading capability of the (medium-range) eChain desktop reader on currently available, inexpensive label tags.

The reader was set to max power (26 dBm) and configured for FCC frequency hopping.  We mounted the reader on a flat surface in a vertical orientation 3 ft (1m) from the ground.  The test was conducted indoors with unobstructed field of view with a maximum possible range of 30 ft (10m).

The tags were randomly selected from batches we have available, one from each of the 6 tags listed above.  We mounted the tags on separated sheets of paper, with EPC and TID printed to help identify the tested tags.

For the test, we placed a tape measure on the floor directly below the reader extending straight out for 30 ft.   We moved all tags out of range and started the reader.  We selected 1 tag at random and slowly moved toward the front of the reader along the tape measure from the 30 ft mark (outside read range) until the reader “beeped” and the first read was recorded (distance, frequency, rssi).  We then marked the tag read location on the tape measure at precisely the greatest distance of the first read.  We repeated this with the remaining 5 tags until the test was completed, we documented the measurements of the tags, reset and repeated the experiment for a total of 5 tests for all 6 tags.


We ware amazed to see the clear winner of the test was the AD-229r6 with a maximum read observation of 24 ft (7.3m) and average max read range of 19.2 ft (5.8 m). This is an amazing 10 ft greater than the next maximum read (Frog 3D) and more than 2x the reading range of the Aveny Dennison predecessor tag, the AD-227m5.

Max Read Distance in Inches(IN)(FT)(FT)
Tag DescriptionT1T2T3T4T5AVGAVGMAX
Squiggle (Alien)98102110961031028.59.2
xWing (Invengo)95100132123891089.011.0
9662 Short (Alien)13215113211015513611.312.9
Frog 3D (SMARTRAC)16812913211714013711.414.0

Key Takeaways

  • Clear Winner: AD-229r6 for both average and maximum range read
  • 24 Ft Tag Reads: Using eChain USB Desktop Reader
  • Most Improved: AD-229r6 HUGE improvement over previous version AD-227m5
  • Best Short Tag:  Alien Short (9662) 3 inch tag had amazing performance for its size

Final Thoughts

Apologies to Alien Technology for Squiggle and Short tag test results as we used aftermarket tags.  These tags do not use the latest Alien chipset, and may not have the performance of OEM Alien tags.  Our reasoning is these Alien tags are prevalent online and provide a great price point sought after by high quantity/production clients.

Through other tag tests, we have found that the aftermarket Alien Short 9662 tags do tend to perform very well and consistently with our results here.  However, bulk purchases of those aftermarket tags reveal quality issues that make reads inconsistent from tag to tag.

We are very happy with our little desktop reader providing label tag reads up to 24 Ft!

Through other tag tests, we have found that the Alien Squiggle tends to perform better than the results found in these tests.  We would be glad to revisit or retest these, or other tags on request.  Thank-you for your interest!  Lewis Kilby, eChain Technology

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eChain USB Desktop RFID Reader

Desktop RFID With Cloud Connectivity

Category:eChain News,RF Asset Management,RF Hardware & Tags Tags : 
eChain USB Desktop RFID Reader

eChain USB Desktop RFID Reader

eChain Technology adds an inexpensive Plug and Play Desktop RFID Reader to our comprehensive RFAST Cloud Asset Management solution. Our eChain USB Desktop RFID Reader connects to computer USB port for instant RFID tag reads. Experiment and test reading various RFID tags to understand the capabilities and limitations of this fascinating technology. This is one of the highest power USB desktop readers available, with max power output of 26 dBm and ability to read UHF EPC Gen2 tags up to 3 meters (9 ft). Adjustable frequency means you can legally use this reader in most countries in the world.

Do Something With Your Data

eChain Connect

eChain Connect

For most RFID experiments, this is there the fun ends. You realize that the tag data is displayed on your computer and goes no further. You can’t map the data to an actual asset or location. You can’t even get the data into another system. It simply displays on your computer in its own proprietary application.

So eChain Technology has created a communication app that installs onto your computer and interfaces with the desktop reader. eChain Connect takes the tag data streaming from the reader and securely transmits it using HTTP Post method to the internet where it is loaded into our RFAST application. Now, those seemingly random RFID tag reads become a real-time sensor feed to an enterprise asset management application tracking location and location history of your key assets up to the second.

RFID is Really Fun

eChain is well established in the global technology scene and member of associations like GS1, Technology Association of Georgia (TAG) and Georgia Tech’s Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC). We have been in business since 2001, and have seen RFID capabilities and technologies explode in the last two years, partly due to the focus brought by the Internet of Things (IoT).

RFID Scan Items In BoxRFID is no longer a glorified barcode scanner, but is a true game-changing technology! Low cost tags and antenna technology for long-range reading means that you can literally tag and track anything and everything of value or importance. Read hundreds of item tags at 35 – 50 ft. (instead of 1-5 inches) Count items inside boxes and boxes on pallets automatically. There are literally hundreds of uses for RFID technology.

With UHF RFID, you can see tags inside boxes or drawers. Notice that some tags can be read much further than others. Play with signal strength (RSSI) and frequency bandwidth. How do these settings affect read range? Notice the number of tag reads per second/minute. Can you hide a tag from RFID? Is there anything in your wallet that RFID can scan? How about your toll sticker in your car? Do the tags work on metal, people or liquid? It is really fun to test all these capabilities to fully understand the power and limitations of RFID.

Arduino Linksprite RFID AS3992

Arduino Linksprite RFID AS3992

A significant contributor to RFID visibility and adoption has been the low cost AS3992 UHF RFID Passive Reader Module Kit by Arduino and Cottonwood/Linksprite. At around $220 on eBay, an aspiring engineer can purchase this kit and experiment with UHF RFID. Many emerging tech companies are developing custom applications using the AS3992 for RFID tracking, access control and sensor-based applications.

However, because the AS3992 is actually a science project (circuit board/development kit), moving your work into a real-life production environment requires significant effort including manufacturing enclosures, finalizing software and applications, upgrading power and interface and many other challenges. This is where the eChain USB Desktop RFID Reader proves superior. In addition to being a complete, production-ready RFID reader and solution, the eChain USB Desktop RFID Reader is more powerful and flexible than AS3992.

Production Ready ROI

eChain USB Desktop RFID Reader

eChain USB Desktop RFID Reader

eChain RFAST is designed to work quickly in your environment so that ROI can be generated immediately. No development required! Use the eChain USB Desktop RFID Reader reader to familiarize yourself with RFID technology and capabilities while configuring the RFAST Cloud application to monitor real asset and workflow movements. Test from the hundreds of RFID UHF tag options to find the best tags for your particular environment.

UHF RFID and eChain RFAST Asset Management supports Unique Device Identifier (UDI) regulations, eliminates expired goods and lost inventory, enforces FIFO stocking policies, identifies specific stolen goods and returns, and provides to-the-second tracaebility across the globe and in different languages. Customers use RFAST to help anti-counterfeiting, ensure critical stock is always available, track chain of custody, and to quickly identify, locate and remove recalled products. Perform mobile inventory count sweeps simply by walking through a truck or stock room. The uses for this technology are absolutely countless.

How Does RFID-Automation Help Your Business?

Get started today learning how this disruptive technology can work for your business. The eChain USB Desktop RFID Reader is a great way to better understand RFID, and it comes with an easy upgrade path to a production RFID solution for your business. Contact us today. Our RFID Experts are glad to work with you on your specific business challenges and show you what is possible with RFID automation.