RFID is "Radio-Frequency IDentification" - identifying objects, animals or people by means of "tags" which can be read via radio waves. RFID is usually used for relatively close-proximity reading - tens of metres or less - and any onward transmission of data is through a local network connection; eg, ethernet or WiFi.
The requirement for this project was to provide remote monitoring of an RFID reader for applications where conventional networks are either impractical or not yet available; eg, building sites or roadside works. In addition, position data from a GPS receiver was required in order to locate mobile or temporary installations.
The RFID reader specified by the Client was the Wavetrend RX201. This receives the identification transmissions from the Wavetrend active tags, and gives out the decoded information on its serial port.
Antronics Ltd developed an Open-AT application to run in a Sierra Wireless Fastrack XTend modem to collect the tag data from the reader, and transmit it via GPRS to the Customer's server. The application included features to cope with the vagaries of GPRS transmission, and options to allow the customer to "tune" it for optimum responsiveness without excessive data usage (ie, cost).
A Sierra Wireless Expansion Card provided the GPS receiver for the location information:
Using the Fastrack XTend modem meant that the project could be completed with no custom hardware development at all - apart from the connecting cable between the modem and the RFID reader:
The prototype setup showing (from top): GSM+GPS combination antenna; RFID reader; Fastrack modem; a selection of Tags.