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RFID vs Barcode

March 20, 2012

RFID vs. Barcodes Comparison :

RFID and barcodes are similar in that they are both data collection technologies, meaining they automate the process of collecting data. However, they also differ significantly in many areas. Although this comparison primarily focuses on the advantages of RFID over barcodes, RFID will not completely replace barcode technology. Barcodes offer some advantages over RFID, most notably their low cost. 

Comparison Statistics

  • RFID is 15-20 times faster than manual and barcode processes for inventorying IT assets. (Source: RFID Journal)
  • Some companies experience a 95% reduction in time using RFID (Source: Motorola)
  • The #1 RFID application being deployed is IT asset tracking (Source: Aberdeen)
  RFID Barcode
Line of Site Not required (in most cases) Required
Read Range Passive UHF RFID: 
   – Up to 40 feet (fixed readers) 
   – Up to 20 feet (handheld readers) 

Active RFID: 
   – Up to 100’s of feet or more

Several inches up to several feet
Read Rate 10’s, 100’s or 1000’s simultaneously Only one at a time
Identification Can uniquely identify each item/asset tagged. Most barcodes only identify the type of item (UPC Code) but not uniquely.
Read/Write Many RFID tags are Read/Write Read only
Technology RF (Radio Frequency) Optical (Laser)
Interference Like the TSA (Transportation Security Administration), some RFID frequencies don’t like Metal and Liquids. They can interfere with some RF Frequencies. Obstructed barcodes cannot be read (dirt covering barcode, torn barcode, etc.)
Automation Most “fixed” readers don’t require human involement to collect data (automated) Most barcode scanners require a human to operate (labor intensive)
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One Comment
  1. An amazing article, thanks for the writing.

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