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:

Country Frequency range Max Power Unit Technique
Argentina 902-928 4 W EIRP FHSS
Australia 920-926 4 W EIRP
918-926 1 W EIRP
Austria 865.6-867.6 2 W ERP ETSI
Belarus 865.6-867.6 2 W ERP ETSI
Belgium 865.6-867.6 2 W ERP ETSI
Bosnia and Herzegovina 865.6-867.6 2 W ERP ETSI
Brazil 902-907.5 4 W EIRP FHSS
915-928 4 W EIRP
Canada 902-928 4 W EIRP FHSS
Chile 902-928 5 mW EIRP FHSS
China 920.5-924.5 2 W ERP FHSS
Colombia 902-928 4 W EIRP FHSS
Costa Rica 902-928 4 W EIRP
Croatia 865.6-867.6 2 W ERP ETSI
Czech Republic 865.6-867.6 2 W ERP ETSI
Denmark 865.6-867.6 2 W ERP ETSI
915-921 4 W ERP
Finland 865.6-867.6 2 W ERP ETSI
France 865.6-867.6 2 W ERP ETSI
Germany 865.6-867.6 2 W ERP ETSI
Greece 865.6-867.6 2 W ERP ETSI
Hong Kong, China 865-868 2 W ERP
920-925 4 W EIRP
Hungary 865.6-867.6 2 W ERP ETSI
915-921 4 W ERP
India 865-867 4 W ERP
Ireland 865.6-867.6 2 W ERP ETSI
915-921 4 W ERP
Israel 915-917 2 W EIRP
Italy 865.6-867.6 2 W ERP ETSI
Japan 916.7-920.9 4 W EIRP
Korea, 917-920.8 4 W EIRP FHSS
Malaysia 919-923 2 W ERP
Mexico 902-928 4 W EIRP FHSS
Netherlands 865.6-867.6 2 W ERP ETSI
New Zealand 864-868 4 W EIRP FHSS
921.5-928
Norway 865.6-867.6 2 W ERP ETSI
915-921 4 W ERP
Peru 915-928 4 W EIRP FHSS
Poland 865.6-867.6 2 W ERP ETS
Portugal 865.6-867.6 2 W ERP ETSI
Romania 865.6-867.6 2 W ERP ETSI
Singapore 866-869 0.5 W ERP
920-925 2 W ERP
South Africa 865.6-867.6 2 W ERP ETSI
915.4-919 4 W EIRP FHSS
919.2-921 4 W EIRP Nonmodulating
Spain 865.6-867.6 2 W ERP ETSI
Switzerland 865.6-867.6 2 W ERP ETSI
915-918 4 W ERP limited
Taiwan 922-928 1 W ERP FHSS
922-928 0.5 W ERP FHSS
Thailand 920-925 4 W EIRP FHSS
United Arab Emirates 865.6-867.6 2 W ERP ETSI
United Kingdom 865.6-867.6 2 W ERP ETSI
915-921 4 W ERP
United States 902-928 4 W EIRP FHSS
Vietnam 866-869 0.5 W ERP
920-925 2 W ERP