Selecting an Impinj Gateway Reader

A Gateway RFID Reader is a fixed infrastructure RFID reader that leverages an integrated RFID antenna for wide-area monitoring. Gateways, as the name calls out, provide an RFID threshold that picks up RFID tags as they pass through. A number of use cases can benefit from this technology, such as Industrial Automation, Manufacturing lines, Retail Loss Prevention, and more! Impinj offers a great selection of RFID gateway readers, shown below. Each of these readers can provide a RAIN RFID asset tracking solution within linear spaces (think conveyor belt) but they do have some differences that you may want to keep in mind when selecting the right gateway for your application. Please refer to the chart below for more detailed information on the differences between the three readers.

       Impinj xPortal      R640 Impinj xArray R680     Impinj xSPAN R660

Impinj Gateway Reader Specification Comparison Chart

When selecting the right gateway for your application, it is important to ask yourself the following questions:

  1. How large of an area do I want to cover?
  2. How high volume is my application?
  3. How much visibility do I need on my items?

1. Area Coverage

The amount of space you’d like to cover plays an important role in selecting the right Impinj Gateway RFID Reader. As shown in the chart above, the xPortal has the smallest coverage of up to 700 square feet, the xSPAN is larger with coverage of up to 1,000 square feet, and the xArray is the largest with coverage of up to 1,500 square feet. You may not need a lot of coverage for your application if you are doing something like tracking the manufacturing of parts along a conveyor belt line. In this case, the xPortal will provide sufficient coverage. However, if you are working in a large warehouse facility wherein you need to monitor all the items inside, you may need something with a larger coverage, like the xArray. Getting measurements of the area in which you are placing your RFID solution will help you to better evaluate which Impinj Gateway Reader is right for you.

2. Volume of Application

How many RFID tagged assets are you looking to track and how fast do they move? If you have a small amount of items in a small warehouse, you may not need an xArray reader with 52 antenna beams. You may simply need something like the xSPAN, which still provides large zonal coverage, but is not as hyper-sensitive to tag movement as the xArray. However, if within that small warehouse, you have items constantly moving around and you need to see that movement, the xArray may be right for you. This is why the size of coverage is not the only question you need to ask yourself.

3. Item Visibility

The degree of item visibility you want will help you determine the strength of the Gateway Reader you will need to achieve your goals. All Impinj Gateway Readers have great item visibility, but the xPortal cannot detect tag movement the same way the xArray can. The xArray and xSpan can both detect tag movement, but the xArray is much more sensitive, with 52 antenna beams that can track tag movement along two axes. Comparatively, the xSpan has 13 antenna beams that can track tag movement along a single axis. The xPortal has 2 antenna beams and is not recommended for applications that require tracking of the movement of the tag. The xPortal is better suited to applications in which the tagged items will be passing through the reader’s field and thus recorded for inventory management purposes. The xSpan and xArray are capable of monitoring an item’s activity as it moves throughout a facility, which is helpful in use cases such as manufacturing.

If you would like additional assistance in deciding which Impinj Gateway RFID Reader is right for you, feel free to contact us!

Sep 11th 2019 Annelise McKay

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