An RFID (radio frequency identification) site survey constitutes a physical review of the premises or site where RFID infrastructure and equipment will be installed to track the movement of RFID-tagged assets, property and inventory. A survey identifies optimal locations for the physical installation of RFID readers and antennae, taking into account such factors as metal interference, power supply, mounting options and IP network connectivity.
When considering the use of RFID equipment, it can be difficult to predict the propagation of radio waves and detect the presence of interfering signals without conducting a site survey. Regardless of the antennae technology being considered, radio waves do not travel the same distance in all directions. Walls, doors, rebar, electric motors, ventilation shafts and other obstacles create varying degrees of attenuation, which affect radio frequency (RF) radiation patterns, making them irregular and unpredictable. As a result, an RFID site survey should be performed to fully understand the behavior of radio waves within a facility and assist in the design of RFID equipment deployment.
The goal of an RFID site survey is to gather enough information and data to determine the number and placement of RFID readers, antennae and supporting infrastructure, such as power supplies and IP network connectivity, in order to provide the coverage required to effectively read RFID tags. During the site survey decisions can be made regarding mounting options for readers as well as optimum placement of antennae at controlled RFID data capture points.
The need for and complexity of an RFID site survey will vary depending on the size and nature of the facility, construction materials, floor design and the presence of RF-interfering equipment. Following a site survey, an implementation design document is drawn up. The type of equipment to be deployed is then tested under similar conditions to ensure that the desired RF read coverage is obtained. A final report and deployment design are generated and submitted to the client or prime contractor for approval prior to ordering the actual equipment and initiating the RFID infrastructure implementation.
Lockwood, in its own right, and through strategic partners, has the experience to conduct site surveys and deployment design throughout North America and international markets.