Why the Micro is the Best RFID Module Ever

Posted by Bernd Schoner on Fri, Nov 02, 2012 @ 11:33 AM

ThingMagic M6e-MicroLet’s face it, we have developed quite a few RFID modules over the past decade. We have developed small modules, high-power modules, modules with low-power consumption, modules for handhelds, modules for printers, FCC-certified modules, ETSI-compliant modules, and modules designed for the Chinese market. Why on earth would we develop yet another module which – at first glance - doesn’t offer additional capabilities over previous generations?

The short answer is, that never before were we able to package all these features in a small, inexpensive, and powerful design. The M6e-Micro offers previously available capabilities in ONE module. It therefore enables all the applications we have supported in the past, and more.

If you prefer the long answer, I believe this is the best UHF RFID module ever for three key reasons:

1. Size

Size is extremely important, especially for small end-devices such as handheld terminals. If the RFID module doesn’t fit physically into a host device, it will not be considered for a project, no matter how powerful it is. At 26x26x4mm, the M6e-Micro is smaller than any module we have designed in the past and smaller than any other module in its class on the market.

The engineering accomplishment here is not so much that we were able to squeeze a bunch of components onto a small board surface, but that we were able to keep the board at a reasonable temperature. Since power amplifiers generate quite a bit of heat, up until now the difficulty has been to design high-power modules in small packages without major heat-sinking surfaces. The M6e-Micro overcomes this limitation. It can transmit at full power despite its small size.

2. Power output and power consumption

The Micro offers a maximum of 30dBm of output power which represents the maximum power output allowed in North America and in most other worldwide regulatory environments. In passive RFID systems, even a single dB of additional reader output power can make a huge difference in performance. The Micro offers between three and seven dB more output power compared to competing devices in its class.  

As important as output power is, many mobile devices use low-power modules in order to save battery life. The Micro enables the user to turns on high-power in burst mode when needed, and then switch back into a low-power mode to save battery power. This is the exact capability needed by handheld RFID terminal vendors who want to push the read range of a device without sacrificing battery life.  

3. Regional compliance

By now we know that electromagnetic emission requirements for North America, Europe, and China cannot be met in one and the same reader device, unless separate filter banks are implemented to support the three key regions. That’s exactly what we did on the M6e-Micro, despite the fact that the device is smaller than anything we have designed before. The Micro is the first full-power RFID module to support every RFID region in the world with the possible exception of Japan (Japanese RFID regulations are still debated).

In summary, the Micro is a real engineering beauty and packs many of the features of earlier generations of modules in one device. Within weeks, I expect a dozen of Micro-like datasheets to be published by our far-east competitors. The only difference to the ‘Micro’ will be, that those devices either will not get developed at all, or they turn out to be out of spec in a few but important aspects. Usually the copycats forget to design in compliance, which only becomes evident to the customer late in the design-in process.

So here is my advice for you, dear customer: check on the compliance and certification performance of competitive modules, or – if you prefer to save yourself the time and agony - choose the M6e-Micro right away!

For more information, check out these resrouces:

>> Micro datasheet

 

>> Whitepaper: Getting a Read on Embedded UHF RFID: Why RFID Modules are the Smart Choice for Developing Next-Generation Solutions

Tags: RFID, Embedded RFID

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