Standards Update – 2 – February 2011

This month there are a series of ISO RFID standards meetings taking place in Sarasota, FL USA.  The second meeting was SC 31/WG 7.  This committee is responsible for security and file management of the ISO/IEC 18000 series standards. The standard is ISO/IEC 29167 and it is still in the early stages of development.

The meeting was well attended with 25 people from 13 National Bodies and Liaison organizations.

Part 1 of this standard is the overall architecture and this document is already in ballot at the CD stage (see for details of the process).

The standard is broken into several parts – the first is the general information, but the remainder define the specific methods to implement security and file management in the specific frequency dependent parts of ISO/IEC 18000.  The first part of the work is on a method to implement in ISO/IEC 18000-6.

The work of this group on the UHF specific implementations is being kept in step with the work of GS1 EPCGlobal. This has slowed the work a little, but the progress has been good.

The two parts to the work are File Management and Security. For File Management, the goal is to produce a method to provide a standardized way of accessing user memory on a tag that conforms to ISO/IEC 18000-6. The concept can be thought of as similar to a hard drive on a PC where we have a file management scheme that we call folders. The committee is addressing how this can be achieved on a tag.

The second part of the work is on Security. The committee is creating a means to implement encryption based security on a tag. This security option will be presented in a standard fashion with a collection of optional security suites (such as AES, Triple DES etc.). The tag and reader will negotiate a common security method and then communicate through this encryption.

This work will allow for the authentication of tags and readers thus enabling many new applications for RFID. The ability to hide data in an encrypted form gives a RFID the ability to satisfy the needs of the users to effect a scheme that will enable privacy of data.

Steve Halliday
Feb 18, 2011


Standards Update -1 – February 2011

This month there are a series of ISO RFID standards meetings taking place in Sarasota, FL USA.  The meetings started with a meeting of SC 31/WG 4/SG6. This committee is responsible for the conformance and performance standards as they apply to the ISO/IEC 18000 series of standards.

The meeting was well attended with 19 people representing 11 National Bodies. The meeting included comment resolution meetings for ISO/IEC 18046-1, ISO/IEC 18047-2, and ISO/IEC 18047-3.  All of these comment resolution meetings, were able to resolve all the comments and they agreed to move the documents on to the next stage of the standards process. (see for details of the process).

In the subsequent committee meeting the following items were reported:

  • Review of progress of WI 18046 RFID Performance testing
    • ISO/IEC 18046-1 – FDIS to start
    • ISO/IEC 18046-2 – FDIS closes this week


  • Review of progress of WI 18047 RFID Conformance testing
    • ISO/IEC 18047-2 – move to FCD
    • ISO/IEC 18047-3 – move to publication
    • ISO/IEC 18047-6 – published Jan 11, 2011, needs to be revised because of the new Work Item that splits 18000-6

The committee also review a document that details the availability of performance and conformance documents for all of the RFID standards created by ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 31/WG 4.  The document was approved for submission to WG 4 with a recommendation that is becomes an SC 31 level document with input from other Working Groups in SC 31.

Steve Halliday
Feb 17, 2011

RFID Standards in 2011

Happy New Year:

Welcome to 2011.  What will we see in this new year with regards to RFID Standards?

Now that I have posted the basic information about the ISO/IEC 18000 series of air interface standards, I will start to look at the new work as well as talking a little about work outside of the air interface.

Please let me know if there is anything special you want covered, and don't forget to sign up for any special information about RFID Standards that I release.


Active 433 MHz air interface standards

Active RFID is a completely different thing than passive RFID.  When we talk about passive RFID we are dealing with tags that respond to queries using the carrier wave of the reader to respond.  This modulation of the carrier wave brings many complications into the system because the signal levels are very low, and the tag can only respond when there is a big enough carrier from the reader to power the chip and turn it on.

Active tags have not only a battery on board the tag, but also a full transmitter.  They do not rely on the reader to provide either a carrier wave to modulate or enough power to turn the chip on. This gives a tremendous advantage when range is an important factor. 

As an active tag has its own power supply (typically a battery) the form factor of an active tag is much different from a passive tag. The tags come in many different shapes and sizes ranging from a credit card shape (though thicker) to almost a small brick. The capabilities are also very varied with some tags simply beaconing a number at set time intervals to including information on sensors and positioning information.

As with all RFID tags the use of 433 MHz is regulated around the world, and while there are very few places it cannot be used, there are some restrictions on power and transmit time of the tags.  This has placed some limitations on the use of the technology.

The largest user of 433 MHz tags is probably the U.S. Department of Defense who use the tags on all the shipping containers they use to send goods and equipment around the world.

The standards for 433 MHz active tags is ISO/IEC 18000-7.

Information technology — Radiofrequency identification for itemmanagement —Part 7:Parameters for active air interfacecommunications at 433 MHz


This part of ISO/IEC 18000 defines the air interface for radio frequency identification (RFID) devices operatingas an active RF tag in the 433 MHz band used in item management applications. It provides a commontechnical specification for RFID devices that can be used by ISO technical committees developing RFIDapplication standards. This part of ISO/IEC 18000 is intended to allow for compatibility and to encourage interoperabilityof products for the growing RFID market in the international marketplace. This part ofISO/IEC 18000 defines the forward and return link parameters for technical attributes including, but not limitedto, operating frequency, operating channel accuracy, occupied channel bandwidth, maximum power, spuriousemissions, modulation, duty cycle, data coding, bit rate, bit rate accuracy, bit transmission order, and, whereappropriate, operating channels, frequency hop rate, hop sequence, spreading sequence, and chip rate. This part of ISO/IEC 18000 further defines the communications protocol used in the air interface.

Physical layer

The RF communication link between interrogator and tag shall utilize a narrow band UHF frequency with thefollowing nominal characteristics:

  • Carrier Frequency 433,92 MHz
  • Modulation Type FSK
  • Frequency Deviation +/- 50 kHz
  • Symbol LOW fc +50 kHz
  • Symbol HIGH fc -50 kHz
  • Data Modulation Rate 27,7 kHz
  • Wake up Signal Modulation with 31,25 kHz square wave signal followedby modulation with 10 kHz square wave signal


1 2 3 4 5