As Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) adoption continues to grow, engineers are faced with an increasing need to validate tags both for interoperability with products from other vendors and for conformance with the specified protocol. In today’s market, these test needs are coupled with increasing pressure to improve tag performance. As one might expect, RFID system designers face a significant test challenge when attempting to meet the needs of this emerging market.

Fortunately, the demand for RFID technology has spawned significant industry growth and innovation. In fact, researchers in both the research and commercial environment have often elected to use National Instruments measurement equipment to characterize tag and reader performance. This application note explains the basic functionality of RFID systems, as well as measurements that are commonly made.