About RFiD Technology > Regulation and standardization

There is no global public body that governs the frequencies used for RFID. In principle, every country can set its own rules for this. The main bodies governing frequency allocation for RFID are:

Low-frequency (LF: 125–134.2 kHz and 140–148.5 kHz) (LowFID) tags and high-frequency (HF: 13.56 MHz) (HighFID) tags can be used globally without a license. Ultra-high-frequency (UHF: 868–928 MHz) (Ultra-HighFID or UHFID) tags cannot be used globally as there is no single global standard. In North America, UHF can be used unlicensed for 902–928& MHz (±13 MHz from the 915 MHz center frequency), but restrictions exist for transmission power. In Europe, RFID and other low-power radio applications are regulated by ETSI recommendations EN 300 220 and EN 302 208, and ERO recommendation 70 03, allowing RFID operation with somewhat complex band restrictions from 865–868 MHz. Readers are required to monitor a channel before transmitting ("Listen Before Talk"); this requirement has led to some restrictions on performance, the resolution of which is a subject of current research. The North American UHF standard is not accepted in France as it interferes with its military bands. For China and Japan, there is no regulation for the use of UHF. Each application for UHF in these countries needs a site license, which needs to be applied for at the local authorities, and can be revoked. For Australia and New Zealand, 918–926 MHz are unlicensed, but restrictions exist for transmission power.

These frequencies are known as the ISM bands (Industrial Scientific and Medical bands). The return signal of the tag may still cause interference for other radio users.

Some standards that have been made regarding RFID technology include:

  • ISO 14223 – Radiofrequency [sic] identification of animals – Advanced transponders
  • ISO/IEC 14443: This standard is a popular HF (13.56 MHz) standard for HighFIDs which is being used as the basis of RFID-enabled passports under ICAO 9303. The Near Field Communication standard that lets mobile devices act as RFID readers/transponders is also based on ISO/IEC 14443.
  • ISO/IEC 15693: This is also a popular HF (13.56 MHz) standard for HighFIDs widely used for non-contact smart payment and credit cards.
  • ISO/IEC 18000: Information technology — Radio frequency identification for item management:
    • Part 1: Reference architecture and definition of parameters to be standardized
    • Part 2: Parameters for air interface communications below 135 kHz
    • Part 3: Parameters for air interface communications at 13.56 MHz
    • Part 4: Parameters for air interface communications at 2.45 GHz
    • Part 6: Parameters for air interface communications at 860–960 MHz
    • Part 7: Parameters for active air interface communications at 433 MHz
  • ISO/IEC 18092 Information technology — Telecommunications and information exchange between systems — Near Field Communication — Interface and Protocol (NFCIP-1)
  • ISO 18185: This is the industry standard for electronic seals or "e-seals" for tracking cargo containers using the 433 MHz and 2.4 GHz frequencies.
  • ISO/IEC 21481 Information technology — Telecommunications and information exchange between systems — Near Field Communication Interface and Protocol -2 (NFCIP-2)
  • ASTM D7434, Standard Test Method for Determining the Performance of Passive Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Transponders on Palletized or Unitized Loads
  • ASTM D7435, Standard Test Method for Determining the Performance of Passive Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Transponders on Loaded Containers
  • ASTM D7580 Standard Test Method for Rotary Stretch Wrapper Method for Determining the Readability of Passive RFID Transponders on Homogenous Palletized or Unitized Loads

Groups concerned with standardization are:

  • DASH7 Alliance: international industry group formed in 2009 to promote standards and interoperability among extensions to ISO/IEC 18000-7 technologies[85]


  • EPCglobal – this is the standardization framework that is most likely to undergo International Standardisation according to ISO rules as with all sound standards in the world, unless residing with limited scope, as customs regulations, air-traffic regulations and others. Currently the big distributors and governmental customers are pushing EPC heavily as a standard well-accepted in their community, but not yet regarded as for salvation to the rest of the world.

EPC Gen2

EPC Gen2 is short for EPCglobal UHF Class 1 Generation 2.

EPCglobal (a joint venture between GS1 and GS1 US) is working on international standards for the use of mostly passive RFID and the EPC in the identification of many items in the supply chain for companies worldwide.

One of the missions of EPCglobal was to simplify the Babel of protocols prevalent in the RFID world in the 1990s. Two tag air interfaces (the protocol for exchanging information between a tag and a reader) were defined (but not ratified) by EPCglobal prior to 2003. These protocols, commonly known as Class 0 and Class 1, saw significant commercial implementation in 2002–2005.

In 2004 the Hardware Action Group created a new protocol, the Class 1 Generation 2 interface, which addressed a number of problems that had been experienced with Class 0 and Class 1 tags. The EPC Gen2 standard was approved in December 2004, and is likely to form the backbone of passive RFID tag standards moving forward. This was approved after a contention from Intermec that the standard may infringe a number of their RFID-related patents. It was decided that the standard itself does not infringe their patents, but that it may be necessary to pay royalties to Intermec if the tag is to be read in a particular manner. The EPC Gen2 standard was adopted with minor modifications as ISO 18000-6C in 2006.

The lowest cost of Gen2 EPC inlay is offered by SmartCode at a price of $0.05 apiece in volumes of 100 million or more.[87] Nevertheless, further conversion (including additional label stock or encapsulation processing/insertion and freight costs to a given facility or DC) and of the inlays into usable RFID labels and the design of current Gen 2 protocol standard will increase the total end-cost, especially with the added security feature extensions for RFID Supply Chain item-level tagging.

Here is the full list of the update on UHF Gen2 Regulation around the world. The list is updated at 2009 January. 

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