In this post my aim is to classify/group/categorize all interaction or communication that RFID devices are involved in. I find such high level views very useful for thinking about problems. Hopefully you will too. My plan is to use this as a reference for future posts. Now to the classification

  • Operations: Aspects related to using the RFID device from an application. This is the "real" RFID related functionality. Ex. Read/Write/Kill tags, Get/Set IO ports etc.
  • Discovery: Discovering when a device becomes reachable/usable or unreachable/unusable.
  • Initialization: Performing all the steps related to provisioning the device for use by an application, including loading and ensuring that the right version of firmware is running on the device.
  • Configuration: Setting the right set of properties on the device (Ex. Regulatory region, signal strength etc.)
  • Diagnostics and Monitoring: Diagnostics is information used to troubleshoot problems with the device. Monitoring deals with health of the device. It also includes asynchronous management events send by the device to flag certain conditions (Ex. Low memory event, failed write event etc.)

The DSPI has support for most of these features. EPCGlobal has standards that map to these categories. LLRP and RP are largely Operations (though there is some diagnostics and monitoring as well). RM maps to "Diagnostics and Monitoring". A new spec called DCI that maps to Discovery, Configuration and Initialization is being developed.

The categorization also maps to how different pieces of software in an enterprise interact with a device (not incidentally). Management software's interaction falls into Diagnostics and Monitoring, Configuration and Initialization (Ex. MOM/SCOM, SMS/SCCM etc.). Application software interaction falls into Operations. It might have some Discovery component to it as well.

Provisioning RFID devices i.e. initial setup of a device to make it functional, involves Discovery, Configuration and Initialization (Do you know of any Provisioning software? Is enterprise level device provisioning specific to RFID devices?)

I would like to find out what you think of this classification. It will be great if you can let me know if I have missed anything.