A radio-frequency identification (RFID) based access-control system allows only authorised persons to enter a particular area of an establishment. The authorised persons are provided with unique tags, using which they can access that area.
The system is based on micro controller AT89C52 and comprises an RFID module, an LCD module for displaying the status and a relay for opening the door. Fig.1 shows a user trying to open the door by placing an RFID tag near the RFID reader.
You might be familiar with RFID systems as seen in access control, contactless payment systems, product tracking and inventory control, etc. Basically, an RFID system consists of three components: an antenna or coil, a transceiver (with decoder) and a transponder (RF tag) electronically programmed with unique information.
Fig.2 shows a typical RFID system. In every RFID system, the transponder tags contain unique identifying information. This information can be as little as a single binary bit or a large array of bits representing such things as an identity code, personal medical information or literally any type of information that can be stored in digital binary format.
The RFID transceiver communicates with a passive tag. Passive tags have no power source of their own and instead derive power from the incident electromagnetic field. Commonly, at the heart of each tag is a microchip. When the tag enters the generated RF field, it is able to draw enough power from the field to access its internal memory and transmit its stored information. When the transponder tag draws power in this way, the resultant interaction of the RF fields causes the voltage at the transceiver antenna to drop in value. This effect is utilised by the tag to communicate its information to the reader. The tag is able to control the amount of power drawn from the field and by doing so it can modulate the voltage sensed at the transceiver according to the bit pattern it wishes to transmit.
Antenna. Fig.3 shows the internal diagram of a typical RFID antenna. An RFID antenna consists of a coil with one or more windings and a matching network. It radiates the electromagnetic waves generated by the reader to activate the tag and read/ write data from it.
Antennae are the conduits between the tag and the transceiver which control the system’s data acquisition and communication. These are available in a variety of shapes and sizes. Often, the antenna is packaged with the transceiver and decoder to become a reader, which can be configured either as a hand held or a fixed-mount device. The reader emits radio waves in ranges of anywhere from 2.54 cm (one inch) to 30 metres or more, depending upon its power output and the radio frequency used. When an RFID tag passes through the electromagnetic zone, it detects the reader’s activation signal. The reader decodes the data encode din the tag’s integrated circuit (silicon chip) and the data is passed to the host computer for processing.
Tags (transponders). Fig.4 shows the internal structure of a typical RFID tag. An RFID tag comprises a microchip containing identifying information and an antenna that transmits this data wirelessly to the reader. At its most basic, the chip will contain a serialised identifier, or licence plate number, that uniquely identifies that item, similar to the way many bar codes are used today.
There are three types of tags: active, passive and semi-passive.
Passive tags have no internal power source. These draw their power from the electromagnetic field generated by the RFID reader and then the microchip can send back information on the same wave. The reading range is limited when using passive tags.
Active transponders have their own transmitters and power source, usually in the form of a small battery. These remain in a low-power ‘idle’ state until they detect the presence of the RF field being sent by the reader. When the tag leaves the area of the reader, it again powers down to its idle state to conserve its battery. As a result, active tags can be detected at a greater range than passive tags.