Chapter 8: Troubleshooting and Optimizing an RFID Network

RFID+ Exam Objectives Covered in this Chapter:


2.1 Given a scenario, troubleshoot RF interrogation zones (e.g., root-cause analysis)

  • 2.1.1 Analyze less-than-required read rate

    • Identify improperly tagged items

  • 2.1.2 Diagnose hardware

    • Recognize need for firmware upgrades

  • 2.1.3 Equipment replacement procedures (e.g., antenna, cable, interrogator)


2.2 Identify reasons for tag failure

  • 2.2.1 Failed tag management

  • 2.2.2 ESD issues


2.3 Given a scenario, contrast actual tag data to expected tag data

RFID is not a Plug and Play technology, yet. One of the issues the industry has faced is slower-than-anticipated adoption of the technology. The blame for this can be put on the shoulders of hardware manufacturers and integrators. The hardware manufacturers try to sell a complicated piece of equipment (an RFID reader) as a simple box that end users can "buy, bolt down, and boot up." Unfortunately, end users and new integrators have taken the reader salespeople at their word and did just that-buy, bolt, and boot. Then they discovered the stark reality of 60 percent read rates. Before they had a chance to fix the problem, the press latched on to the read rates being a lot lower than expected. This had many end users saying the technology "wasn't ready for prime time," which slowed its adoption.

All of this could have been prevented if there were people who knew how to deploy these complex machines by using a proven process or best-of-breed tools. This chapter will show you how to solve problems that may have come from someone attempting to "buy, bolt, and boot." You can also use this chapter for the second step in an RFID deployment, the optimizing and tuning of an RFID network.

Being able to correctly determine the causes of poor performance and mitigate those issues is what can take you from a good-enough RFID technician to a rock star in the fastest growing industry today.

This chapter will help you understand what factors can make or break an RFID deployment with the various readers and how their components can affect functionality. You'll also learn the details of tuning a reader and of course the antennas that are attached to that reader. The next ingredient in the mix is the tag that is being read-you'll see various ways for identifying the problems with a tag and determining whether you are using subperforming tags. Of course, after you have looked at all the individual components of a reader network, you'll need to make sure that the environmental issues are not causing performance degradation.

Then we'll get a little dirt under our fingernails by actually trying to solve some real-world RFID problems. You will get to review a case study of performance issues and then be given the right steps to troubleshoot and optimize that RFID network.

The last part of this chapter will cover the use of specialized infrastructure software and tools to make your life easier and your RFID setup more accurate. You will get an introduction to the various software programs, and learn about how to use them in a deployment or troubleshooting scenario.

CompTIA RFID+ Study Guide Exam RF0-101, includes CD-ROM
CompTIA RFID+ Study Guide Exam RF0-101, includes CD-ROM
Year: 2006
Pages: 136 © 2008-2017.
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