What to prefer RFID or Beacon?

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Asset and staff tracking is one of today’s major concentration. Lots of technologies are being used on this problem and two of the most popular ones are RFID and Beacon technologies. Which leads us to a question of which one is better?

There are two types of RFID technologies; active and passive and both of them use a tag and a reader. For passive RFID, the tag is put on the staff/asset, the reader is sending signals. The reader is getting complex depending on the range of the antenna. The range is only up to 4 meters and you need to pass a gate so that the reader can find your location. Also, the accuracy is high because it reads the tag up close which doesn’t give it an opportunity to be affected by the environment. But this system is not really fitted for asset tracking because of the need of a gate, and the low range. So, passive RFID is not really a topic in this comparing.

Active RFID is a bit different. Because the tag is a with a battery and as a result, the tag is sending its own ID to the reader and by that, the location of the staff/asset is known.

Bluetooth Beacon’s technology is more like active RFID. The beacon tags broadcast signals and they are collected by the gateways. The location of the staff/asset is calculated by the strength and the angle of the signals.

The two are similar in how they work but where do they differentiate?

1) Accessibility

RFID: for this system to work we need a special reader and a special tag. It cannot be integrated into existing mobile devices.

Beacon: this system works with Bluetooth technology. Even the phone you have has this technology in it so it is easier to get it integrated with other devices

2) Cost

RFID: the readers are high-priced and a need for an infrastructure which is costly as well

Beacon: the readers and the infrastructure is cheaper compared to the RFID

3)Range & Accuracy

RFID and Beacon: they both are affected by the environment and other signals which gives them a relatively low accuracy level

4) Security

RFID: between the tag- reader channel’s encryption is high.

Beacon: this technology was launched in 2013 which makes it a new one. The Bluetooth 4.0 didn’t have that much security but with the launch of Bluetooth 5.0 these existing security problems are eliminated and the channel’s encryption is improving day by day.


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What to prefer RFID or Beacon?
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