To be a leader in the hospitality supply industry, we need a team of the best and brightest behind the scenes. For the best RFID products for our customers, Front Desk Supply is happy to have Chris Janzen, a Production Supervisor, on the team.

His knowledge of  RFID cards helps the team understand the technology and what it’s used for. In this post, Chris gives you answers to frequently asked questions about RFID cards, and takes a deep dive into one of our most popular products.

Can you explain the basic technology in RFID cards?

Sure! First, RFID stands for radio frequency identification and it’s a wireless system. The technology is pretty straightforward–RFID chips within the card and the reader are powered by or communicate with each other through radio-frequency signals. There are different frequencies, or strengths, that serve different uses. 

What can affect the performance of RFID cards in standard hotel use?

The biggest issue I see for performance is low-quality chips; more specifically, poor soldering/bonding between antenna and chip. This technology only works when all the bits and pieces are properly connected and a signal is being emitted. Basically, if the bond breaks within the RFID card, it stops receiving the radio-frequency signal and will not open the door. That can be bad news for hotels, because chips are sealed inside a card by the time a hotel receives them. 

Do you have any “best practices” or tips for using RFID cards?

In regards to using RFID products such as cards, here are my two biggest takeaways:

  • Avoid exposing them to very high strength electromagnetic fields (such as leaving cards sitting directly on high powered electronics)
  • Avoid exposing them to extreme mechanical pressures (i.e. not bending cards severely which could break the internal antenna/chip connection)

RFID Card Deep Dive

Do chip types matter for RFID cards?

Yes! There are hundreds of different chip types, and they can serve a variety of purposes.  For the most part, they can be placed into three categories based on the frequency of the chip and antenna:

  • Low Frequency (125khz) – The oldest generation of RFID cards, generally used in older security/access control systems.
  • High Frequency (13.56Mhz) – By far the most common chip type in the world, used in everything from hotel access control cards to banking cards.
  • Ultra High Frequency (850 – 960Mhz) – Communicate at and are very long-range/low-cost chips, generally used for high volume item tagging.

What is an encoder, and how does it work?

An encoder is a device with an internal antenna tuned to the same frequency as the chip it will encode. Encoders are used to create smart labels within chips, and for hotels, this means each room has a specific label or frequency that will open the door.

It works by beaming a signal out and scanning for card antennas within its range. When a card with the same frequency as the encoder enters the power range of the encoder’s antenna, the encoder will charge the antenna in the card and write data into the chip of a hotel RFID card. 

Interested in adding to your collection of RFID cards for your hotel? Come to an expert in the cards, as well as ideas on how to utilize the cards, for your branding. See the different types of hotel access cards we have in our shop!

Unsure about how to help your hotel continue functioning successfully during these changing times? Download our Free Hotel Checklist. This list provides your hotel with information on how to keep your doors open safely and successfully.

Many of the items on our hotel checklist are available for purchase on our new website.

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