RFID vs Barcode
Barcode is the most common method of tagging used today. Almost all products that are being sold have their own barcode that makes it easier for the teller to get the right price of the product. A barcode scanner uses a light that is reflected on a series of black bars to read the data, these data is then converted to its numeric equivalent for further processing. A new tagging method called RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) uses radio waves to retrieve the data stored in a tiny circuitry. Radio waves can pass through solid objects, meaning no line of sight is necessary in getting the data.
Barcode scanners are also bit difficult to use because you would need to individually postiion and scan each item to get the barcode. RFID can get 40 to 100 tags in a single second and since it doesn’t require line of sight, it can get all the tags in an area in no time at all.
The data in a barcode is printed on a sticker and needs to be visible so that the scanner can easily spot it and get the data. This creates two problems that makes barcodes unsuitable for some applications. Exposure means that the tag can easily get damaged or worn out due to the weather or other reasons. It is also very easy to counterfeit, making it unsuitable for applications that require some level of security. RFID doesn’t suffer from any of this. Since it doesn’t require line of sight, it can be tucked inside where it is safe from damage. Its electronic nature also means that the data can be encrypted in order to prevent malicious people from copying it.
The only drawback of RFID is its price. Because barcodes only use paper, it is substantially cheaper compared to RFID tags which are small integrated circuits. But the cost of RFID tags is still very low considering the capabilities that it provides.
1. Barcodes uses a sensor and light to read the data on the tag while RFID uses radio waves,which doesn’t need line of sight, to get the data
2. Barcode scanners can only process tags one at a time while RFID scanners can process dozens in a single second
3. Barcodes are really simple and can be easily replicated or counterfeited while RFID is more complex and secure
4. RFID tags can be hidden to protect against the environment while barcodes need to be exposed
5. Barcodes are very cheap while RFID tags are substantiall pricier