Friday Fundamentals: RFID Antennas

RFID antennas are part of every RFID system. Their main job is to ensure the signal from RFID tags reaches the reader.

Antennas are included in packaged RFID systems, but individually, they can run anywhere from $100 to $1000 or more. The biggest mistake we see people make is purchasing the lowest priced antenna only to discover that it’s not the right one for their system.

Types of RFID Antennas

Not all antennas are the same because some systems need bigger antennas with stronger gains, IP ratings, polarization, and different connection types. Let’s look into each a bit more.


Gain has to do with the antenna’s power. The more power an antenna has, the stronger the gain will be, which produces a larger field. This extends the read range (how far away the RFID tag can be from the antenna and still be accurately read).


Polarization affects the way tags are read. There are two types of polarization: linear and circular.

Linear polarization emits RF energy on one plane. This produces the longest range, but the tags must line up with the beam for it to be read.

A circular polarization has a shorter range, but the tags do not have to line up exactly under the beam. Instead, the polarization is across two axes. This means that tags can be read when scanned right to left, or left to right, or anywhere in the field. This polarization style allows for one of RFID’s most convenient, time-saving features: passive scanning.

IP Rating

This has to do with disruptions with the reader and tags. For instance, dust could be a problem, but if the IP rating is high, it’s more protected, so dust won’t interfere as easily with its reading. A good way to understand IP rating is to know the IP rating of indoor vs. outdoor antennas. Indoor antennas may have a rating of IP 54, while similar outdoor antennas may have a rating of IP 67. Logically, an outdoor antenna needs more protection, so the IP rating is higher.

Choosing the Right Antenna for Your RFID System Needs

While RFID antennas are needed for any basic or complex RFID system, each antenna has different strengths and fits specific types of systems. Most systems will need more than one antenna to cover all read zones and maximize efficiency. 

The GopherWerx series of prebuilt RFID solution packages include the best antenna(s) for your needs. Additional antennas and other peripherals can be purchased to expand your solution’s capabilities or extend reader range as needed. All GopherWerx solutions use antennas sourced through the Freedom Marketplace, which we highly recommend for all your RFID tech and service shopping.

For an efficient RFID system, you need the right antenna or antennas, depending on the complexity of your system. Only an experienced RFID specialist can help you purchase antennas that are right for your needs. Contact us now for more information on RFID systems and antennas. We would be happy to help you.

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