Current radio frequency identification (RFID) readers, such as the EPC Global Class 1 Gen 2, are limited by narrow bandwidth restrictions, maximum transmit power, and a limited number of RF ports, which results in relatively coarse ranging resolution and accuracy, limited techniques for localization, and limited antenna functionality. Some of the currently available solutions, such as using larger antennas or adding switched multiplexers, often result in unacceptable cost, volume, aesthetics, and mass penalties.
Researchers at NASA Johnson developed a suite of RFID-based technologies focused on improving communication of an RFID reader with a greater number of RFID tags in open and enclosed areas. The Agile RFID Antenna System can expand these boundaries by integrating an inexpensive frequency multiplexer to the RFID reader antennas, which permits new methods of localization, allows greater antenna functionality with fewer reader RF ports, and provides improved read accuracy and/or range. For enclosed areas, such as a large container, the system can use smaller antennas, consequently reducing the volume required for an RFID system to operate.