RFID vs Barcode-Difference between RFID and Barcode

This page compares RFID vs Barcode and mentions difference between RFID and Barcode.



• RFID operates in LF/HF/UHF frequency bands.
• It is used for asset control, smart card based access systems, vehicular control etc.
• The RFID network consists of RFID tags and RFID reader. RFID tag as shown is inserted or mounted on the product to be scanned. RFID tags are of two types viz. active RFID tag and passive RFID tag.
The active RFID tag requires power for its operation and covers more range (about 100 meters). The passive RFID tag does not require external power and covers less range (about 3 meters). Passive RFID tag derives power from energy received from RF waves of RFID reader. Refer RFID tutorial >>, Active vs Passive RFID >> and Advantages and disadvantages of RFID >>.

Barcode Basics

Barcode scanning process

• The barcodes are constructed with stack of dark and white bars and gaps in between. They represent various characters. These are of two types viz. linear and 2D barcodes.
• Barcodes are pasted on the products to be scanned.
• The barcode scanner is used to scan the barcodes to derive printed information such as product name, cost, manufacturer etc.
• Barcode scanner consists of three parts viz. illuminator, converter and decoder.
Refer QR code versus Barcode >> and Advantages and disadvantages of Barcode >>.

Following table summarizes difference between RFID and barcode.

Specifications RFID Barcode
Line of site Not needed Needed
Read range passive UHF RFID has about 20 to 40 feet range while active RFID has about 100s of feet. Several inches to several feet
Reading rate 10's, 100's or 1000's of tags simultaneously can be read. only one barcode device can be read at a time.
Read/Write Many RFID tags are read/write. Read only
Technology used for communication RF (Radio Frequency) Optical (laser)

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