The “new” UHF Standard

UHF RFID has taken off in a big way. Many of us have been saying that RFID is the way of the future and now it is starting to be real. The standard for UHF is ISO/IEC 18000-6 (equivalent to the EPCglobal Gen 2 UHF standard). This standard is one of the air interface standards in the ISO/IEC 18000 series for all of the various frequencies.
ISO/IEC 18000-6 is a very large standard. It is available from ISO for about $306.00 and it contains 470 pages. The standard has information and specifications on four different air interfaces (types A, B, C, and D). Type C is the equivalent of the EPCglobal standard and is now the most prevalent UHF standard.
The latest version of ISO/IEC 18000-6 contains enhancements to the Type C air interface that are not included in the EPCglobal version. These enhancements allow the use of sensors and provide details of battery assisted passive RFID tags.
So with ISO/IEC 18000-6 only having been published in 2010 why am I talking about a new standard?
As I explained above, the standard has grown over the years both in size and in price. This has made it difficult to use and with the new enhancements coming, the decision was taken to split the standard into several parts. The new standard will have five parts as follows:
ISO/IEC 18000 – General information
ISO/IEC 18000-61 – Type A
ISO/IEC 18000-62 – Type B
ISO/IEC 18000-63 – Type C
ISO/IEC 18000-64 – Type D
Part 63 – Type C is the equivalent of the EPCglobal Gen 2 standard and it includes the sensor and battery assist specifications.
The revisions to break the original standard into these parts are currently in progress. The work has just passed the first level of balloting at ISO. This means that early in 2012 the new standards should be approved and we will all be using a new number for the UHF standard.  
If you want to know more about the new enhancements to the standard then watch for another article on this subject.
If you have questions about the new standards or how you can be a part of the standards efforts then let me know.

RFID Standards Progress

I was in Atlanta a few weeks ago week for a couple of standards events.

First, there was a meeting of ANSI MH10.8.  It is a subgroup of the MH10 group whose scope is: "To facilitate freight movement within transportation and distribution systems by providing standards for transport-packages and unit-loads, including their dimensions, definitions, terminology, coding, labeling, and performance criteria; and to represent the United States' interests within the scope of ISO/TC 122".

The MH10.8 subgroup is responsible for "Coding & Labeling of Unit-Loads". This means bar codes for a lot of the work, but there is an increasing amount of RFID in there. The most well-known standard from MH 10.8 is ANSI MH10.8.2 "Data & Application Identifiers" but the group is responsible for many standards, you can see a full list at below. The meeting in Atlanta spent time reviewing the .1, .7, .12 and .13 documents.

  • MH10.8.1:2006 – Shipping Label Standard
  • MH10.8.2:CM – Data & Application identifier standard
  • MH10.8.3:2002 – Syntax for High Capacity ADC Media
  • MH10.8.4:2002 – RFID Tags for Returnable Containers
  • MH10.8.5 – Retired
  • MH10.8.6:2003 – Product Packaging standard
  • MH10.8.7:2005 – Product Marking standard
  • MH10.8.8:2006 – RFID for Parcels, Packages and Flat Mail
  • MH10.8.9 – Product ID using other than optically readable media
  • MH10.8.10 – RFID for Product Packaging
  • MH10.8.11 – Unit loads and transport packages for North American border crossings
  • MH10.8.12 – Component Marking Standard
  • MH10.8.13 – Label Test Procedures for Bar Code and Two-Dimensional (2D) Label
  • MH10.8.14 – Unique Digital Identifier
  • MH10.8.15 – XML Reader Output from ISO/IEC 15434 formatted AIDC Media

The Data Identifiers standards details the various Data Identifiers that you may use in the numbering of a package to better explain the content of the package. The abstract of the standard says: "This standard provides a comprehensive dictionary of MH 10/SC 8 Data Identifiers and GS1 Application Identifiers, provides for the assignment of new Data Identifiers, as required, and provides a document detailing the correlation, or mapping, of Data Identifiers to Application Identifiers, where a correlation exists."


The second meeting this week was the US TAG to ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 31. The US TAG (AIDC 1) is responsible for creating the US positions and responding to ballots that are posted related to the work of SC 31. This means that almost every standard related to AIDC is reviewed by this group and the US opinion is developed and posted to the international community. For the latest work in SC 31 you can visit . This web site keeps an updated list of all the RFID related work in the committee.

The big items in RF at the moment include a rework of the ISO/IEC 18000-6 standard (air interface standard for 860-960 MHz). This standard was published in late 2010 and is 470 pages long. It includes four different air interface standards and also how to include battery and sensor support for some of the air interfaces. The new standard will divide the original one into sub-parts so that you can get all the information for a single air interface in one standard without the confusion of the others.

Part 63 is the new standard for what was referred to as ISO/IEC 18000-6 Type C (also known as the EPC UHF Gen 2 standard). All of the new sub parts of this document are now in the first stage (CD) ballot. The various parts are:

  • 18000-6: The general information that relates to all the sub parts
  • 18000-61: Type A
  • 18000-62: Type B
  • 18000-63: Type C
  • 18000-64: Type D

Other RFID work that is happening in SC 31 at this time includes a re-write of ISO/IEC 18000-7 (active RFID at 433 MHz).

The US TAG reviews every document created by SC 31 and provides input to the work. The annual TAG meeting allows the members to get together to review the work of the TAG as well as review the procedures of the group. This year starts the planning for 2012 when the US will host the Plenary of SC 31.


The final meeting during this week was the AIM RFID Experts Group (REG). This group has identified several work items that they are looking at. The first of these is a methodology to allow the testing of RFID equipment in the healthcare environment. Working with various groups and Universities, the REG is reviewing proposed test procedures for both implantable medical devices (such as pacemakers) and medical devices used in a medical environment.

The second work item is a white paper to describe the best way to implement a numbering system in an RFID tag. The paper will describe the various existing numbering methodologies that exist and recommend ways to get the best system for your project.

ther work items that are just starting include:

  • The use of RFID in explosive environments
  • The use of RFID on material handling equipment

If you want to be involved in any of the above work, or would simply like to receive more detailed information, then contact


RFID Standards

How important are the standards in RFID to you? This web site keeps you updated on the major changes that are taking place in RFID Standards but is that enough?

If you are involved in RFID then the standards world should be a major part of your focus. The ability to create products that don't just follow the standard but actually lead the standards is a major competitive advantage. This is why you see so many companies either actively participating or subscribing to standards reports that keep them updated on the work of the committee.

There are many ways to get involved in standards. In most countries there are groups working on RFID Standards. In the United States the mirror organization to ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 31 is the U.S. TAG (Technical Advisory Group) to SC 31 called ADC1.  The TAG is managed by AIM Inc. (, and you can get more info on the group by emailing for a membership form. Membership gives you the right to participate in all of the work of SC 31. For details of the RFID work see

If you do not want to actively participate in the work, but need to know what is happening, you can take advantage of the reports that are available. High Tech Aid participates in many of the RFID Standards committee.  Steve Halliday Is the convener of ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 31/WG 4/SG 3 (RFID Air Interface Standards) and is the co-chair of the GS 1 EPCglobal Technical Standards Committee and the Hardware Group. High Tech Aid published monthly reports on the activities of this group and others, and you can subscribe by sending an email to and asking for more information.

Standards Update – 3 – February 2011

This month there are a series of ISO RFID standards meetings taking place in Sarasota, FL USA.  The third meeting was SC 31/WG 4/SG 3.  This committee is responsible for RFID air interface standards –  ISO/IEC 18000 series standards.

All of the parts of ISO/IEC 18000 have been published, but work items are currently open to revise parts 6 and 7.

ISO/IEC 18000-6 is the air interface standard for 860 – 960 MHz UHF RFID. This standard was revised and published in 2010 with the addition of a Type D and support for sensors and battery assist. The addition of these options to the standard meant that the document had grown to almost 500 pages.  A new work item to break this standard into smaller parts was approved at the end of 2010 and the committee met, for the first time since that approval, to review the work that has been done.

The standard has been broken into five parts:

  • Part 6: Parameters for air interface communications at 860 MHz to 960 MHz General
  • Part 61: Parameters for air interface communications at 860 MHz to 960 MHz Type A
  • Part 62: Parameters for air interface communications at 860 MHz to 960 MHz Type B
  • Part 63: Parameters for air interface communications at 860 MHz to 960 MHz Type C
  • Part 64: Parameters for air interface communications at 860 MHz to 960 MHz Type D

Each of these parts was approved to move to the first stage of balloting – CD ballot. For more details of how the ISO process works see:

ISO/IEC 18000-7 Parameters for active air interface communications at 433 MHz was last published in 2010. This standard has been opened to revise the technology to include multi-channel utilization and more efficient communication techniques needed to address increased market and application needs for higher and more secure data transmissions. This revision will also specify the sensor interface and a universal mechanism to allow for other services to be enabled on the tag.

Steve Halliday
Feb 18, 2011



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