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ACMA renews 4 watt scientific licence for GS1 Australia

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GS1 Australia has successfully been granted a renewal to its current 4 watt scientific licence for another 12 months, effective immediately.

Australian regulations currently limit RFID power to 1 Watt while much of the world uses 4 Watt.

Read range depends on the power output of the RFID readers, and the difference between 1 Watt and 4 Watt is approximately a 300% improvement in read distance and efficiency (i.e. improving the average read range from 1 metre to 3 metres).

In Australia the Radio frequency spectrum is governed by the Australian Communication and Media Authority (ACMA) and UHF RFID services come under Low Interference Potential Devices (LIPD) class licence.

The current LIPD class licence allows UHF RFID services to operate between 918 to 926 MHz at a maximum power of 1 Watt Effective Isotropic Radiated Power (EIRP).

RFID applications have been lagging in Australia when compared to the rest of the world. According to business leaders part of the reason for this is the uncertainty of regulations and standards surrounding the technology; GS1 Australia is working to address this issue.

GS1 Australia, in collaboration with many leading industry associations and organisations, has been working with ACMA for an amendment to the LIPD class licence to allow UHF RFID services to operate at 4 Watts in the 920-926 MHz band.

ACMA renewed the current scientific licence at a recent meeting with GS1 Australia and industry representatives.

While the delegation requested a permanent change to the LIPD regulation to allow 4 Watt RFID operation, a 12 month renewal was granted, along with the request that GS1 Australia and industry RFID users continue to provide documentation to alleviate concerns with regards to:

Uptake of RFID adoption in Australia

Understand the cumulative effect of RFID systems operating at 4 Watts in close proximity to GSM systems

A project team of business leaders and solution providers, led by GS1 Australia, is currently being formed to examine these key points.

The EPCglobal ratified Generation 2 (referred to as Gen 2) air interface UHF RFID standard is now a part of International Standards Organisation (ISO) standard on RFID technology (ISO 18000 Part 6 Type C).

Gen2 RFID tags and readers where first used in Australia in 2006 as part of the GS1 Australia Patties/Montague pilot when they proved considerably superior to Gen1 technology in facilitating the use of EPC/RFID in a frozen food environment.

It was also used as part of the National EPC Network Demonstrator Project Extension (NDP Extension) when EPC/RFID was integrated into business processes to manage returnable assets, such as pallets, using electronic proof of delivery (ePOD) and paperless delivery.

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