An RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) system enables data to be transmitted by a transponder (tag) via radio signals which are received by an RFID interrogator and processed according to the needs of a particular application. At its simplest level, RFID may be seen as an alternative to the ubiquitous bar codes. With the ability to store, change and transmit much more data, RFID can be used to identify, track, sort or detect a wide variety of objects.

Our Role & Activities

ETSI Work Programme on Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is an important growth area for ETSI.
TR 102 449 provides a technology and standards overview, lists some potential applications and presents some issues associated with implementing RFID in Telecommunications.
UHF RFID in specific standards (ERM TG34)

ETSI coordinates its work with EPCGlobal (a trade association responsible for product code numbering which also develop user standards for RFID). ETSI activities in this area are centred in Task Group 34 of Technical Committee Electromagnetic Compatibility and Radio Spectrum Matters (ERM).

865 MHz to 868 MHz

In parallel with publication of the first version of the Harmonized Standard EN 302 208 (Sept. 2004), CEPT modified ERC Recommendation 70-03 for the use of 2W devices in the 865 MHz to 868 MHz band, using mitigation techniques recommended by ETSI in TR 102 313 (Listen Before Talk with Dynamic Frequency Agility), and TR 101 445, an ETSI System Reference document for UHF RFID.

At the time that the standard EN 302 208 v1.1.2 was written, it was believed that the provision of 10 channels at 2 W e.r.p. would be sufficient. With the adoption of RFID for large logistic applications, it became apparent that the original estimate of usage was too low. Therefore, an alternative method of operation was devised in which multiple interrogators could share the same channels. In response to a market requirement to operate many interrogators simultaneously in close proximity with each other, TS 102 562 was written. The technique described in TS 102 562 is very spectrum efficient and relies on a process called synchronization. The same technique may be extended to permit synchronization between RFID systems in adjacent sites. TS 102 562 was written to provide a mechanism by which the industry could install large systems on an interim basis; the update of EN 302 208 to include these methods has since been completed.

Logistics and item management together with other major applications must frequently operate in dense installation situations. This was not feasible with the channel allocation plan as identified in the 31 Oct. 2006 version of annex 11 of ERC/Rec. 70-03 and in EN 302 208 v1.1.2. Therefore, TR 102 649-1 was prepared to describe a new channel plan for RFID systems operating in the UHF frequency band from 865 MHz to 868 MHz for a more efficient spectrum usage. It enables end users to operate RFID interrogators at high densities with greater data throughput, improved reading performance and reliable availability of channels. TR 102 649-1 proposed to reduce to 4 the number of channels necessary for powering RFID interrogators at power levels up to 2 W e.r.p. At the same time it was proposed that the mandatory requirement for LBT should be removed. This improvement in spectrum efficiency was also expected to benefit generic SRDs using Listen Before Talk with Adaptive Frequency Agility.

Following the acceptance of the proposals in TR 102 649-1, EN 302 208 was updated. EN 302 208 applies to RFID interrogators and tags operating together as a system. The interrogators transmit in four specified channels of 200 kHz each using a modulated carrier. The tags respond with a modulated signal preferably in the adjacent low power channels. Interrogators may be used with either integral or external antennas. The types of equipment covered by EN 302 208 are:

  • fixed interrogators;
  • portable interrogators;
  • batteryless tags;
  • battery assisted tags;
  • battery powered tags.

Recommendations to system integrators and installers on good practice for the installation and commissioning of RFID systems operating at UHF at power levels up to 2 W e.r.p. are provided in TR 102 436.  In addition, TR 102 436 gives guidance on making best use of the available spectrum as envisaged within the ETSI standard EN 302 208. It  also covers the use of reduced power RFID devices at UHF, such as hand held readers and proximity printers, operating in accordance with EN 300 220, including operation in the sub-bands 869.40 MHz to 869.65 MHz at power levels of 500 mW and 869.7 MHz to 870.0 MHz at power levels of 5 mW. In particular it considers the practices necessary to minimize interference in situations where multiple interrogators are co-located in close proximity.

915 MHz to 921 MHz

To satisfy the perceived future market requirements for RFID, TR 102 649-2 proposes that interrogators will operate in the band 915 MHz to 921 MHz at power levels of up to 4 W e.r.p. in four channels of 400 kHz each. The remainder of the band would be used for the low level response from the tags. This would increase reading performance and potentially permit data rates that are four times faster than those currently possible. This frequency request is currently under consideration in CEPT/ECC.

Since CEPT/ECC has revised ECC Decisions (04)06 and (02)05 in June 2009 to include E-GSM-R in the 873-876 MHz/ 918-921 MHz band on a national basis, TG34 is investigating the co-existence of UHF RFID devices with E-GSM-R. A Technical Report on compliance tests for the cognitive interference mitigation for use by UHF RFID using Detect-and-Avoid (DAA) or other similar techniques is currently in preparation.


In order to investigate if there were any problems of interoperability when multiple tags manufactured by different vendors were simultaneously present in the same interrogation field, an RFID Plugtest was performed at the MGI centre in Neuss and at the VanDerLande premises in Veghel during the period 11 - 15 June 2008. This Plugtest and the test plan used for the tag interoperability tests are described in TR 102 644-1 and TR 102 644-2, respectively.

Another RFID PlugtestsTM event was performed at China Post Science & Technology Company (CPST) in Beijing, China during the period 20-24 April 2009 and was co-organized by European Telecommunication Standards (ETSI) and the China Electronic Standardization Institute (CESI). The purpose of the RFID PlugtestsTM event was to investigate interoperability when tags and interrogators manufactured by different vendors and complying with different standards were used under different postal scenarios defined by CPST. The RFID PlugtestsTM event also explored the capability for any combination of simultaneously operating interrogators (supplied by the participating vendors) when located in the vicinity of each other (referred to as 'dense reader mode') to maintain their performance. These interference tests were completed with different combinations of UHF interrogators under both Chinese and also European UHF radio regulations. Other tests investigated if there was any evidence of a reduction in performance when China UHF tags were read by European UHF interrogators. This Plugtest event is described in SR 002 787.

During the period 2002 and 2007 TG34 organised a series of evaluations in typical application scenarios at end user premises. The objective was to encourage improvements in the performance of RFID systems. This programme recorded initial reading results of less than 30% whereas finally figures of better than 98.5% were achieved.

HF systems (ERM TG28)

The Close Range Data Communication (CRDC) system was developed to minimize the risk of interception of transferred data files by limiting the communication range to a maximum of 10 cm. This provides for a method of transferring raw data files between various devices in a peer-to-peer fashion that is sufficiently secure for products, therefore meeting the needs of those wishing to transfer sensitive materials. Operating symmetrically in a half-duplex mode with a centre frequency of 13.56 MHz, sensitive data can quickly be transferred from terminal to terminal. ES 202 007 defines the protocol interface specification for devices using a high-integrity, symmetric close-field half-duplex data transfer system.

The Harmonized Standard EN 302 291 covers the use of the HF ISM band at 13.56 MHz for Close Range Inductive Data transmitters and receivers. It covers specific close range inductive data equipment:

  • with an inductive loop antenna;
  • with an antenna connection and/or with an integral antenna;
  • for alarms, identification systems, telecommand, telemetry, etc.

LF, MF, HF, and UHF RFID in Generic Short Range Device standards (ERM TG28)

ETSI published the Harmonized Standards for generic Short Range Devices EN 300 330, EN 300 220, EN 300 440 to cover the frequency range of 9 kHz to 40 GHz for SRDs. These standards are applicable for RFID unless specific product standards are available (e.g. EN 302 208).

In particular, the Harmonized Standard EN 300 330 covers the frequency range of 9 kHz to 30 MHz which includes all inductive RFID frequency ranges as e.g. identified in the CEPT ERC/Rec 70-03 Annex 9.

The EN 300 330 has included RFID air interface requirements for the following ISO RFID Standards:

  • ISO 18000-2 Parameter for an RFID Air Interface Communications below 135 kHz
  • ISO 18000-3 Parameter for an RFID Air Interface Communications at 13.56 MHz
  • ISO 11785 Radio Frequency Identification of Animals, Technical Concept (f = 125-148.5 kHz)
  • ISO 14223 Radio Frequency Identification of Animals, Air Interface Advanced Transponders (f =125-148.5 kHz),
  • ISO 14443-2 Identification (proximity) Cards, Radio Frequency Power and Signal interface (f =13.56 MHz)
  • ISO 15693-2 Identification (Vicinity) Cards, Air interface and Initialization (f = 13.56 MHz).

EN 300 330 was modified following consideration of the proposal in TR 102 756. 
EN 300 330 also includes the RFID systems for industrial applications in the 400 kHz to 600 kHz band which are described in TR 102 378. The difference between MF systems and the LF and HF systems is that for the MF systems, the reader antenna as well as the tags are both smaller in size and operate over much shorter distances.

The EN 300 220 covers RFID air interface requirements for:

  • ISO 18000-7 Parameter for an RFID Air Interface Communications at 433 MHz.

The EN 300 440 covers the RFID air interface requirements for:

  • ISO 18000-4 Parameter for an RFID Air Interface Communications at 2.45 GHz.

ETSI has a liaison with IEC/JTC1 ISO SC31 in place for inclusion of RFID requirements in ETSI standards.

Automatic Vehicle Identification  (ERM TG28)

EN 300 761 applies to a dedicated 2.45 GHz Short Range Device (SRD) microwave link intended for a European wide data communication system for Railway applications, Automatic Vehicle Identification (AVI). It covers fixed installed interrogators (Track Units) and transponders (mobile stations). The interrogator bandwidth is limited to 8 MHz shared within five channels:

  • with a Radio Frequency (RF) output connection and specified antenna or with an integral antenna;
  • for data transmission only;
  • operating on radio frequencies in the 2.446 GHz to 2.454 GHz Industrial, Scientific and Medical (ISM) band, with power levels up to 500 mW e.i.r.p.

Dedicated Short Range Communication (ERM TG37)

EN 300 674 applies to Road Transport and Traffic Telematics (RTTT) wireless systems:

  • with or without antenna connectors;
  • for digital data transmission;
  • operating on radio frequencies in the 5.725 GHz to 5.875 GHz Industrial, Scientific and Medical (ISM) frequency band.

It covers both the Road Side Units (RSUs) and the On-Board Units (OBUs) with transceivers and transponders.

Privacy and Security (ETSI ERM, M2M)

A draft EN is currently under preparation for the enhanced privacy & security protection of the NGN with reference to Internet of Things (IoT) and with specific reference to RFID/NFC & RFID/NFC networks.

In addition a CEN/CENELEC/ETSI Special Task Force is preparing a draft coordinated response on the subject of RFID in relation to data protection, information security and privacy.

Electromagnetic Compatibility (ERM EMC)

EMC requirements of RFID equipment are covered by the EMC standard for Short-Range Devices (EN 301 489 parts 1 and EN 301 489 part 3).


The following is a list of RFID deliverables. Please use the ETSI Work Programme to find further related standards.

General overview 

Deliverable No.Title of Deliverable 
TR 102 449 Telecommunications and Internet converged Services and Protocols for Advanced Networking (TISPAN);
Overview of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Tags in the telecommunications industry

UHF RFID in specific standards

Deliverable No.Title of Deliverable 
EN 302 208 Radio Frequency Identification Equipment operating in the band 865 MHz to 868 MHz with power levels up to 2 W
TR 102 649-1 Technical characteristics of RFID in the UHF Band; System Reference Document for Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) equipment;
Part 1: RFID equipment operating in the range from 865 MHz to 868 MHz
TS 102 562

Improved spectrum efficiency for RFID in the UHF Band
TG34 will propose withdrawal of this document at their next meeting

TR 102 649-2

Technical characteristics of Short Range Devices (SRD) and RFID in the UHF Band;
System Reference Document for Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) and SRD equipment;
Part 2: Additional spectrum requirements for UHF RFID, non-specific SRDs and specific SRDs

TR 102 313 Frequency-agile Generic Short Range Devices using Listen-Before-Transmit (LBT)
Technical Report
TR 101 445 Short-Range Devices (SRD) intended for operation in the 862 MHz to 870 MHz band; System Reference Document for Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) equipment
TR 102 436 Short Range Devices (SRD) intended for operation in the band 865 MHz to 868 MHz;.
Guidelines for the installation and commissioning of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) equipment at UHF


Deliverable No.Title of Deliverable 
TR 102 644 RFID Plugtests to investigate the interoperability of tags manufactured by different vendors
SR 002 787 Report for CESI-ETSI RFID PlugtestsTM event to investigate the interoperability of interrogators and tags manufactured by different vendors in a postal environment


HF system at 13.56 MHz

Deliverable No.Title of Deliverable 
EN 302 291 Short Range Devices (SRD); Close Range Inductive Data Communication equipment operating at 13,56 MHz
ES 202 007 Close Range peer-to-peer symmetrical Data Communication (CRDC) system


LF, MF, HF and UHF RFID in Generic Short Range Device standards

Deliverable No.Title of Deliverable 
EN 300 220 Short Range Devices (SRD); Radio equipment to be used in the 25 MHz to 1 000 MHz frequency range with power levels ranging up to 500 mW
EN 300 330 Short Range Devices (SRD);
Technical characteristics and test methods for radio equipment in the frequency range 9 kHz to 25 MHz and inductive loop systems in the frequency range 9 kHz to 30 MHz
TR 102 756 System Reference Document for revised spectrum requirements for RFID equipment and inductive loop systems operating in the frequency range 9 kHz to 148,5 kHz
TR 102 378 Equipment for identification and location systems; System Reference Document for inductive systems for industrial applications operating in the frequency range from 400 kHz to 600 kHz
EN 300 440 Radio equipment to be used in the 1 GHz to 40  GHz frequency range


Automatic Vehicle Identification (AVI)

Deliverable No.Title of Deliverable 
EN 300 761 Automatic Vehicle Identification (AVI) for railways operating in the 2,45 GHz frequency range


Dedicated Short Range Communication (DSRC)

Deliverable No.Title of Deliverable 
EN 300 674 Dedicated Short Range Communication (DSRC) transmission equipment (500 kbit/s / 250 kbit/s) operating in the 5,8 GHz Industrial, Scientific and Medical (ISM) band



Deliverable No.Title of Deliverable 

EN 301 489 part 1and EN 301 489 part 3

ElectroMagnetic Compatibility (EMC) standard for radio equipment and services