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  Category: Articles » Technology » Article

The EPC Class Structure

By Zhen Dong

Toronto, ON, July, 2006 - The EPC Tag Class Structure is often misunderstood. 'Class' is not the same as 'Generation'. Class describes a tags basic functionality for example whether it has memory or a battery. Generation refers to a tag specification's major release or ver-sion number. The full name for what is popularly called EPC Generation 2 is actually EPC Class 1 Generation 2, indicating that the specification refers to the second major release of a specification for a tag with write-once memory.

The full EPC Class Structure is:

Figure: EPC Class Structure

The Class 0 designation was added to the Generation 1 system long after the Class 1 specification was created, as part of the process described in 1.i above. Class 1 tags, of which 'Generation 2' is an example, contain a write once memory for storing an Electronic Product Code. Class 2 tags add additional memory that can be changed fre-quently, for storing additional data ?for example from an onboard sensor. Class 3 tags add batteries for longer read ranges and higher reliability, but are fundamentally passive backscatter tags. Class 4 tags are essentially active tags that can communicate with other Class 4 tags as well as readers. Class 5 tags are not really tags at all - they are essentially wireless networked readers.

High volume, general availability of Generation 2 tags is expected some time in this moment. However, Generation 1 tags will not disappear from the sup-ply chain: instead Generations 1 and 2 will coexist for 6 to12 months while the Generation 2 learning curve ramps up. Depending on Generation 2 price and perfor-mance, and market conditions, this 'Generation 1 Shadow' could last until early 2007, when Generation 1 tags finally disappear from the supply chain. Tag technology will continue to evolve; around the time Generation 2 becomes established around 2006/7, end users and technology vendors expect work to begin on developing a 'Generation 3' system with further improvements to Generation 2 technology.

Our company GAO RFID Inc. currently does not offer any GEN 2 tags yet, but as we can foresee GEN 2 tags will dominate the supply chain market. GEN 2 tags have the same potential as the active tags as the next generation of RFID technology. To learn more, please visit

About GAO RFID Inc
GAO RFID Inc., a member of GAO Group, was spun out from GAO Tek (formerly GAO Engineering) in July, 2006 as a result of its fast growing RFID business and its further heavy investment in this exciting market. GAO RFID has established itself as one of worldĄŻs most influential suppliers of RFID products, particularly RFID tags, labels, and readers. GAO emphasizes on product quality. Read More...

About the Author
WOWGAO Technology solutions team
WowGao Inc.
601 Milner Ave, 2nd Floor
Toronto , Ontario
M1B 1M8
Phone: 1-416-292-0038 ext. 812

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  Some other articles by Zhen Dong
Business RFID Strategy
Toronto, ON, August, 2006 - An RFID strategy provides an outline to use the technology aligned with an enterprise's strategic visions and goals. A business that strives ...

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