RFID Arena


Best Practices for RFID Based Geiger Counting

RFID based Geiger counting is one of the most common RFID applications on the shop floor. This article discusses how to create best-in-practise Geiger counting, and why - we wanted to add a technical aspect to the discussion.

Authors: Suvi Dalén, Turo Rantanen, Markku Kynsijärvi & Jessica Säilä

We interviewed some of the experts at Nordic ID. Nordic ID is specialized in RFID solutions and has been involved in Auto-ID business for over two decades. These days Nordic ID is associated with RFID readers for different businesses.

Most mobile RFID readers carry a software for tag locating. Simply, it means a software for locating individual tags, and the name 'Geiger counting' comes from the ticking sound that appears when the RFID reader approaches the searched tag. As the RFID reader gets closer to the searched tag, the ticking sound speeds up.

The idea of Geiger counting is to locate a specific tag in a densely packed environment with the help of a mobile device. In this article we assume that all relevant items are tagged on item level. Geiger counting would be used for example for searching a specific shirt of a certain size in a store, or for looking for a missing cardboard box in a warehouse.

Geigercounting -technical -logman -Nordic ID-RFID

The basics of Geiger counting

In simple terms Geiger counting means using the RSSI values of tags to determine if they are close or far away and indicate this to the user of a mobile device.  However, as in any RF environment, the more the transceiver emits RF energy, the higher the signal strength also received from the tag. Therefore, in addition to the RSSI values, good Geiger counting applications should add the output power to the calculation. Next, we will make suggestions on how to work with the RSSI values and output power to optimize the results andfinally, we will discuss how to build an application for Geiger counting.

The output power should be taken into consideration so that when the reader receives the "highest" possible RSSI value, it should lower the output power and see if it is still receives the same signal strength. If it does receive the same signal strength, it shall continue to lower its power until it either reaches the lowest possible setting for the output power, or until the RSSI value starts to lower. If the RSSI value gets low enough, the application should increase the output power. If the signal strength stays up even with low output power, then it is reasonable to assume that the tag is really close to the reader.

The method mentioned above is the most typical way of performing Geiger counting as the majority of the devices have only one antenna mode. But when a device has more than one antenna mode including proximity and circular antenna modes, the additional antennas can determine the proximity of the tag with higher accuracy. When working with such units, the application can monitor the power output and when it is low enough and the RSSI stays at a certain level, the reader can switch to an antenna with a shorter read range.

How to build a Geiger counting application?

1) Perform Inventory with select parameters using the EPC code you wish to locate. Use session 0 since we need the tag to reply to every query.

  • Inventory with select parameters allows restricting tag populations to tags that have only a certain bit pattern(s) in their memory at a specified bank and bit address.
  • Even if the session-value is adjustable, session 0 is the only option when performing Geiger counting.

a) If the tag is seen after the step above, then acquire the RSSI from the tag and "buffer" it, i.e. calculate an average value of, let's say the last 5 received RSSI values.

b) If the tag is not seen, then buffer a scaled RSSI value of 0 to imply that the tag was not seen.

c) Calculate an averaged value from the received RSSI

i) If the averaged RSSI is in the "maximum" RSSI range (for example between 70-100%), lower the output power by 1dBm.

ii) If the averaged RSSI is in the "low" RSSI range (for example between 0-40%), raise the output power by 1dBm.


2) While the "Geiger counting"-thread is performing the above, the UI-thread should have e.g.a timer which ticks every 100ms and updates the Geiger beeping and any other UI related tasks.

a) In addition to the timer, the beeps should also be visible in its own separate thread and let the timer ticks just reset an event which tell the "Beeping"-tread to generate the required sounds

i) When such an event is received, the "Beeping"-thread should use the averaged value of the received RSSIs for manipulating the interval and frequency of the beeping.

ii) Then it is more or less a matter of preference which kind of beeping each possible value should generate. E.g. a beep with 1568Hz frequency could be generated when the tag is seen and a 1046Hz when it is not seen. The length and interval of each beep could be defined by the received averaged RSSI value i.e. 100% = beep for 100ms without any interval, anything below 100% = 50ms beep with (250 - averaged rssi value)ms interval.

RFID readers for Geiger counting

Most of the mobile RFID readers available on the market can be equipped with a tag locating software. In order to maximise accuracy when locating a certain tag, the mobile RFID reader should have as narrow an antenna beam as possible. As the majority of the RFID readers on the market are equipped with an omni-directional antenna beam, the application software will need to control the antenna beam.

28 comments on “Best Practices for RFID Based Geiger Counting”

  1. Posted 18 August 2016 at 07:06:54

    Which sources are good for Best Practices for RFID Based Geiger Counting as you mentioned in this article. I'm happy to know these kind of sources. My brother completed his Education and he is looking a platform to do practical like you said in this article. So, It's good opportunity for the students.

  2. Posted 19 August 2016 at 16:42:25

    Well, that a little complicated to me. Can you make it more clear for non-professionals, please?

  3. Posted 04 September 2016 at 20:00:49

    RFID is one of the best brand and now here Sale Manager shared the story of success which is good for small business to taking idea to make a strong strategy. I like to say great Thanks for this amazing effort for us.

  4. Posted 15 October 2016 at 12:26:58

    From your blog, I can learn some new knowledge, I like the valuable information you provide in your articles.

  5. Posted 15 October 2016 at 13:30:02

    All things considered, thank you for making such helpful article.

  6. Posted 15 October 2016 at 14:32:25

    That was an really awesome post and i like that.

  7. Posted 15 October 2016 at 14:51:15

    Such a nice post, keep providing good resources.

  8. Posted 08 November 2016 at 09:06:32

    Geiger counter is a invention.

  9. Posted 16 December 2016 at 12:06:57

    I appreciate your efforts in preparing this post. I really like your blog articles.

  10. Gravatar of KirsikkaKirsikka
    Posted 20 December 2016 at 13:24:22

    Thank you for your comments, we are happy you enjoy the article!

  11. Posted 05 February 2017 at 11:21:12

    good one.

  12. Posted 18 April 2017 at 16:08:56

    Best Practices for RFID Based Geiger Counting and detail of that practices you like to mentioned in this article. I got some important points which help me to have complete information related to it. Here i must say background theme of this site is looking quite impressive.

  13. Posted 26 May 2017 at 10:13:49

    The Geiger-Müller tube is one form of a class of radiation detectors called gaseous detectors or simply gas detectors. Although useful, cheap and robust, a counter using a GM tube can only detect the presence and intensity of radiation

  14. Posted 30 May 2017 at 06:57:23

    This is such a great resource that you are providing and you give it away for free. I love seeing blog that understand the value of providing a quality resource for free.

  15. Posted 30 May 2017 at 06:59:08

    very Informative Post, would love to read more, keep writing. I would like share some links, useful to students

  16. Posted 14 June 2017 at 10:06:27

    by visiting this site I found cool stuff here keep it up.

  17. Posted 14 June 2017 at 10:57:01

    I genuinely appreciated understanding it. Sitting tight for some more incredible articles like this from you in the nearing days.

  18. Posted 17 June 2017 at 11:54:14

    its an interesting find, this is what I was looking for it for quite a long time ended up here.amazing post!

  19. Posted 28 June 2017 at 05:52:34

    Pero cuando se trata de trabajar en tales condiciones durante todo el día

  20. Posted 08 July 2017 at 05:16:02

    OPPIOT is a high-new technical enterprise dedicated into RFID industry development. We keeps developing and innovating in RFID field, especially the remarkable achievement- UHF special tags.
    OPP IOT Technologies CO., LTD.
    Address:2104 Room SANDI International Finance Centre,249# MingXin Street
    LongQiao,ChengXiang Putian City Fujian, P.R, China
    P.C: 351100
    Tel: (0086)594 2790031
    Fax: (0086)594 2790185
    WhatsApp: +86 180 3034 2267

  21. Posted 18 July 2017 at 09:05:56

    Science Channel’s are giving a complete knowledge to its viewers about every thing students write done dissertation on this subjects and show its importance.

  22. Posted 18 July 2017 at 09:06:26

    Great Information,it has lot for stuff which is informative.I will share the post with my friends.

  23. Posted 24 July 2017 at 17:21:26

    The compilation,
    repackaging, dissemination or other use of this Data is expressly
    prohibited without the prior written consent of VeriSign. You agree not to
    use electronic processes that are automated and high-volume to access or
    query the Whois database except as reasonably necessary to register
    domain names or modify existing registrations.

  24. Posted 27 July 2017 at 16:47:04

    The Copenhagen Interpretation limits the observer to the experimenter; however, it is merely an interpretation, and I have heard that there was some attempt to extend it to other observer including inanimate ones.

  25. Posted 31 July 2017 at 11:48:23

    Thank you for sharing this information and I really appreciate this effort of yours next I will be waiting for your great future update post thank you very much

  26. Posted 03 August 2017 at 14:03:04

    Lots of great information and inspiration, Also like to admire the time and effort you put into your blog and detailed information you offer! I will bookmark your site!

  27. Posted 05 August 2017 at 18:18:07

    RFID is one of the most excellent brand and now here Sale Manager Public the story of success which is excellent for small industry to taking thought to make a well-built strategy. I like to say great Thanks for this astonishing exertion for us. Here i should say environment theme of this site is looking fairly impressive.

  28. Posted 16 August 2017 at 05:07:12

    wwe summerslam 2017 results inlive updated

Post a comment

Keep in touch

Send me more info!
Send me a Newsletter!
Send me a Magazine!
Contact info