Global frequency regulations for RFID

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As the UHF RFID emerged from the labs, International Organization for Standardization (ISO), the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), ASTM International, and EPC Global came together to put the frequency ranges and regulatory elements into the standard. To ensure wide adoptability across the globe, the frequencies chosen had to be in ISM (Industrial scientific and medical) band. Today, UHF RFID Frequencies vary in each country based on each country’s regulations. Each country had adopted a frequency that best fits within that country existing regulations.

UHF RFID (EPC Class 1 Gen 2 / ISO 18000-6C) standards have adopted primarily two bands of frequencies across the world, 902-928 Mhz (USA, FCC) and 865-868 Mhz (Europe/ETSI). However some countries in the world adopted somewhat different bands within this spectrum that makes knowledge of these for implementation in your country very important. For example, Brazil allows 902-907.5 MHz and 915-928 MHz frequencies. if you were to deploy a RFID reader that works in the 902-928 Mhz range, you are out of compliance and can heavily fined for it.

Now, a word about power. Radio power that is delivered to the environment matters a whole lot in addition to frequencies. However terms like dBm, Watts, ERP and EIRP are very confusing. So, let’s understand that to ensure you are able to interpret local regulations correctly.

dBm is used to indicate absolute power as a ratio in decibels (dB) with reference to one milliwatt (mW), so 0 dBm is equal to 1 mW and 30 dBm is 1000 mW or 1 watt. ERP and EIRP stand for effective radiated power and effective isotropic radiated power respectively. They provide measurement of radiated power compared to the power delivered to an antenna. They are more RF engineering oriented measurements but if should be sufficient to know that the word “isotropic”, which is what is different between these two units indicates a theoretical antenna that delivers equal power in all directions.

There are further regulations around the communication technique such as FHSS (frequency hopping spread spectrum), LBT (listen before talk) and  ETSI 302 208. Typically these parts of regulations are beyond an implementer’s control and must be compliant at device level certified to work in specific regions.

Here is an unofficial summary of regulations across some countries:

CountryFrequenciesMax PowerUnitTechnique
Argentina902-9284WEIRPFHSS
Australia920-9264WEIRP 
 918-9261WEIRP 
Austria865.6-867.62WERPETSI
 916.1-919.94WERPEU 2018/1538
Belarus865.6-867.62WERPETSI
Belgium865.6-867.62WERPETSI
 916.1-919.94WERPEU 2018/1538
Bosnia and Herzegovina865.6-867.62WERPETSI
Brazil902-907.54WEIRPFHSS
 915-9284WERPFHSS
Canada902-9284WERPFHSS
Chile913-9191WEIRPFHSS
 915-928500mWEIRPFHSS
 925-9281WEIRPFHSS
China920.5-924.52WERPFHSS
Colombia902-9284WEIRPFHSS
Costa Rica902-9284WEIRP 
Croatia865.6-867.62WERPETSI
Czech Republic865.6-867.62WEIRPETSI
 916.1-919.94WERPEU 2018/1538
Denmark865.6-867.62WERPETSI
 916.1-919.94WERPEU 2018/1538
Finland865.6-867.62WERPETSI
 916.1-919.94WERPEU 2018/1538
France865.6-867.62WERPETSI
Germany865.6-867.62WERPETSI
Greece865.6-867.62WERPETSI
Hong Kong, China865-8682WERP 
 920-9254WEIRP 
Hungary865.6-867.62WERPETSI
 915-9214WERP 
India865-8674WERP 
Ireland865.6-867.62WERPETSI
 915-9214WERP 
Israel915-9172WEIRP 
Italy865.6-867.62WERPETSI
Japan916.7-920.94WEIRP 
 916.17-923.50.5WEIRPLBT
Korea,917-920.84WEIRPFHSS
 917-923.5200mWEIRPFHSS or LBT
Malaysia919-9232WERP 
Mexico902-9284WEIRPFHSS
Netherlands865.6-867.62WERPETSI
New Zealand864-8684WEIRPFHSS
 921.5-928 
Norway865.6-867.62WERPETSI
 915-9214WERP 
Peru915-9284WEIRPFHSS
Poland865.6-867.62WERPETS
Portugal865.6-867.62WERPETSI
Romania865.6-867.62WERPETSI
Singapore866-8690.5WERP 
 920-9252WERP 
South Africa865.6-867.62WERPETSI
 915.4-9194WEIRPFHSS
 919.2-9214WEIRPNonmodulating
Spain865.6-867.62WERPETSI
Switzerland865.6-867.62WERPETSI
 915-9184WERPlimited
Taiwan922-9281WERPFHSS
 922-9280.5WERPFHSS
Thailand920-9254WEIRPFHSS
United Arab Emirates865.6-867.62WERPETSI
United Kingdom865.6-867.62WERPETSI
 915-9214WERP 
United States902-9284WEIRPFHSS
Vietnam866-8690.5WERP 
Global UHF RFID Frequencies and power regulations