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Title: A novel long-range passive UHF RFID system over twisted-pair cable
Author: Fu, Zhe
ISNI:       0000 0004 7962 0252
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2019
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Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is one of the most representative, rapidly growing, and highly extendable technologies, which uses electromagnetic waves in accordance with specific communications standards and regulations to identify, track, or even localise desired objects. However, due to its high cost, limited read range, and uncertain reliability, its adoption still lags, especially in large-scale organisations. Even though an RFID distributed antenna system (DAS) can greatly improve the detection range and read rate of a single reader when system uses different combinations of antenna states with frequency and phase hopping, the lossy and heavy coaxial cables between reader and antennas still limits the system coverage and design flexibility for wide-area passive UHF RFID applications. In order to develop a cost-efficient and flexibly-installed passive RFID DAS, a novel large-range passive UHF RFID system over twisted-pair cable is proposed in this dissertation. This new system consists of one baseband central controller and one antenna subsystem, connected by a commonly used twisted-pair cable. It is shown that transmitting/receiving low frequency baseband signals over a twisted-pair cable can significantly reduce cable attenuation and extend the communication distance. A simulation is conducted to demonstrate that frequency and phase hopping can also be remotely controlled to fit this system structure by slightly varying the frequency or phase of the input reference signal of the frequency synthesis system. The features of twisted-pair cable in terms of its low cost, light weight, and bend radius greatly improve the design and installation flexibility of an RFID system. The implemented system is designed based on the ISO 18000-6C and EPC Class 1 Generation 2 standards, and can operate according to FCC (902-928 MHz) and ETSI (865-868MHz) regulations. The results of the measurement show the reader can achieve a sensitivity of - 94.5 dBm over 30 m Cat5e cable, and its sensitivity can still remain at around -94.2 dBm over 150 m Cat5e cable. The experimental results of tag detection show that the passive tags can be successfully detected over a 6 m wireless range following a 300 m of twisted-pair cable between the central controller and antenna. This detection range cannot be achieved by existing commercial RFID systems. Since the transmission and reception in a RFID system are simultaneous, finite isolation of the circulator/directional coupler and environmentally dependent reflection ratio of the antenna lead to serious leakage problems. Leakage can directly cause sensitivity degradation due to saturation of the RF components. A fast leakage suppression block is developed in efforts to solve this problem. Measurements show that this new canceller can deliver an average suppression of 36.9 dB, and this excellent performance remains when the system uses frequency hopping. With help of an improved scanning algorithm, this canceller can find its optimal status within 38 ms, and this settling time is short enough for most commercial RFID readers. By reducing the number of voltage samples taken, the convergence time can be further improved. To fully investigate this new passive UHF RFID system value, a comparison study between the new system and a commercial system is conducted. This new automatic passive UHF RFID system is confirmed to deliver high performance long-range passive tag detection. Particular advantages are shown in the fast tag read rate and capability of uplink SNR improvement. This novel system is also superior to conventional RFID systems in terms of link distance, link cost, and installation flexibility.
Supervisor: White, Ian Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: RFID ; UTP ; Low-cost ; Large-range