Reva Plans RFID Architecture a la LAN

By Renee Boucher Ferguson  |  Posted 2005-06-06 Print this article Print

The startup's Tag Acquisition Network is designed to fit RFID into existing enterprise models, but not all needed standards are in place.

Reva Systems, a small startup thats been in stealth mode for the past year, announced Monday an interesting project involving RFID device implementation and management. In addition to officially launching itself as a radio-frequency identification company, Reva Systems Corp. released the details of its "TAN," or Tag Acquisition Network, a network-centric architecture for implementing and managing RFID tags, readers and subsequent data. "[The idea] is to implement a TAN in each facility where [a company] needs to capture and use RFID data," said David Husak, Revas chief technology officer and founder, in Chelmsford, Mass. "Components of RFID plug into the network … pushing information to middleware, or pushing directly to applications."
The concept behind TAN is that an RFID architecture should be able to fit into an existing enterprise model, rather than an enterprise building out a separate infrastructure to accommodate RFID, according to Reva officials.
With this in mind, the company developed TAN to work on the same principals as a LAN or SAN (storage area network), operating on the network concept. TAN is designed to link to a companys wired or wireless LAN with a common protocol network layer. In a manner similar to the way printers are managed through a LAN, individual readers are administered through an enterprise network manager system or assigned IP addresses, according to the companys Web site. Using standard interfaces, users can then add (and remove) readers through a centralized server. "What we foresee is, as RFID is rolled out on any sort of scale, it has to dovetail with other technologies in the same way that wireless and Wi-Fi rolled into the enterprise," Husak said. "It wasnt rational to go out and build an architecture for Wi-Fi." Click here to read about how OATSystems and Intel are pushing RFID adoption in the retail sector. TAN will, officials say, enable companies to develop using standardized interfaces between tags, readers and applications. The catch, however, is that not only does Reva still have some work to do in terms of product development, but the RFID standards TAN emphasizes are, in many cases, not even ratified. Currently, no standards exist to define a network-to-reader protocol that would allow readers from different manufacturers to be interchangeable within TAN. To further the effort Reva has developed a protocol, Simple Lightweight RFID Reader Protocol—with the unfortunate acronym SLRRP—and submitted to both EPCGlobal Inc. and the Internet Engineering Task Force, the latter of which creates Internet standards. EPCGlobal, meanwhile, is also in development with its Application Level Event Standard that would define a standard way for moving data up to applications. Read details here about the IP patent battle over RFID between Symbol and Intermec. Reva plans to release its flagship product within the next several months, according to Husak. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis on mobile and wireless computing.

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