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Performance Analysis Of 915 Mhz Rfid System Operating In A Fluorescent Lighting Environment

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2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

Innovative Curriculum in Electrical Engineering Technology

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

Page Count


Page Numbers

13.972.1 - 13.972.10



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Paper Authors


Ghassan Ibrahim Bloomsburg University

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Ghassan Ibrahim is an Associate Professor at the Dept. of Physics & Engineering Technology.

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Jon Zeisler Bloomsburg University

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Jon Zeisler graduated with BSc degree in Electronics Engineering Technology, December 2007

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Mike Kutch Bloomsburg University

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Mike Kutch graduated with a BSc degree in Electronics Engineering Technology, December 2007

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Performance Analysis of 915 MHz RFID System Operating in a Fluorescent Lighting Environment


Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) has been widely utilized in retail stores and manufacturing environments, and sometimes without any consideration to environmental RF interference that can hinder its operation. Fluorescent lights, specifically the electronic ballast controlled, are found to be a common source of interference. They act as radio frequency (RF) signal reflectors which may introduce undesirable effects on the backscattered signals from RFID tags.

A project was conducted within the electronics engineering technology (EET) program as a partial requirement in the RF Effects and Measurements course. A 915 MHz RFID system was installed and operated, and its performance was investigated and analyzed in an environment abundant with electronic ballast controlled fluorescent lamps. It was found that the backscattered RF signals emanating from the fluorescent lamps interferes considerably with the tag-to-reader signal and hinders the ability of the reader to detect tag information.

This project- based approach introduced the students to state of art technology in RF wireless communication, provided a practical hands-on learning opportunity, and developed their ability to analyze and provide solutions for real life problems. The paper presents the experimental findings, their analysis, and the project educational outcomes.


Projects investigating state of art technology are of vital importance for the graduating engineering technologists. In addition to the theoretical knowledge provided through the classical lectures and labs approach, these projects are valuable learning tools that provide a venue for the students to utilize their knowledge effectively, acquire in-depth understanding of the concepts, think critically, and independently analyze real life problems. In the Radio Frequency (RF) Effects and Measurements course two students were assigned a 3 week project as a partial course requirement. The aim was to investigate the performance and reliability of a Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) system operating in an environment abundant with electronic ballast driven fluorescent lamps. As a guideline the instructor introduced the group to the basic RFID concepts, the design concepts of the electronic ballast control of fluorescent lamps1, and the results of previous research work2, 3. Their task was to carry out further analysis and investigation, based on the research results, verifying their work through practical implementation on an operating RFID system.

An Overview of RFID

Radio Frequency Identification has gained significant attention in the technology and business arenas. The two main system components are the RFID reader and RFID tags

Ibrahim, G., & Zeisler, J., & Kutch, M. (2008, June), Performance Analysis Of 915 Mhz Rfid System Operating In A Fluorescent Lighting Environment Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--4057

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