Licence opens the way for 4 watt RFID devices

GS1 Australia has been granted an extension to its scientific licence allowing the use of radio frequency devices with up to 4 Watt of power.

In Australia the radio frequency spectrum is governed by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) and Ultra High Frequency (UHF) RFID services come under a Low Interference Potential Devices (LIPD) class licence which currently limits RFID power to 1 Watt while much of the world uses 4 Watt.

Robustness of RFID performance is substantially improved with an increase in the allowable power output.

GS1 Australia, in collaboration with leading industry associations and organisations, has been working with ACMA to review whether to amend the licence to allow UHF RFID services to operate up to 4 Watts in the 920-926 MHz band.

Three years ago ACMA issued a scientific licence to GS1 Australia that enabled the organisation to issue third-party authorisations for the use of site-specific 4 Watt power to companies trialling or looking to implement RFID.

The purpose of the scientific licence was to gather data to assist ACMA to determine if an increase in power had any major effect on devices of adjacent users of the spectrum.

In the past year GS1 Australia has conducted significant testing on the use of 4 Watt devices and submitted data to ACMA.

ACMA has now initiated a review process and any changes to the licence will be finalised by the end of this year.

GS1 Australia’s extension to the scientific licence allows current holders of a third-party authorisation to continue with their current applications and GS1 Australia will send out renewals shortly, according to Sue Schmid, General Manager of Standards Development at GS1 Australia.

However, under this extension ACMA will not allow any new third-party authorisations for any sites wishing to use 4 Watt.

This means that companies not currently licensed to use 4 Watt will need to operate within the current 1 Watt allowance until the formal licence changes.

Background — GS1 Australia is a neutral, not-for-profit organisation and the local affiliate and Member Organisation of GS1, a leading global organisation dedicated to the design and implementation of global standards to supply chains.

A total of 108 member organisations in 155 countries are authorised to administer the GS1 System of standards, the most widely used supply chain standards system in the world.

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