Radio Frequency (RF) is one of the most useful technologies in use today, used for everything from mobile phones to remote car locks.
The ability to create wireless networks of devices is necessary in today’s interconnected world, but there are some who treat RF like the electromagnetic bogeyman that it’s not.
Radio frequency (RF) is a form of transmission that can transmit data, sound or video. Its applications include radio, mobile phones, television and telemetry.
Here are some real-world uses of RF:
In Your Smartphone
While most people will think of their smartphones as being devices that use mobile data (3G/4G/LTE), they make use of radio frequency to communicate over WiFi. The two most popular smartphone standards are Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth operate on the 2.4GHz band with a few other minor bands being used for things like GPS or FM Radio. Modern smartphones implement a technology called multiple input multiple output (MIMO) to achieve better performance, where it sends and receives using multiple antennas. These antennas are basically tiny radio transmitters and receivers.
Before we had wireless routers, we had wired ones. And they even used to lag. Ethernet is faster, but even that was limited by the number of wires you could run in a house. Wireless routers solved the wiring problem, and gave us access to fast internet without having to run a bunch of Ethernet cables.
We now have a similar problem in the electromagnetic spectrum. The FCC is allowing companies like WellPCB and Facebook to use spectrum for wireless internet, which gives access to free internet to anyone with a laptop. This will allow people in countries where the people can’t afford the internet, or where the government won’t let them get online, to get online for free.
Before Bluetooth, there were wires. It seems like every audio device had its own wire that you had to plug into the computer, and then your headphones into that wire, and then you’d have to plug that into other headphones when you wanted two people to listen together.
Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)
What is Radio Frequency Identification technology?
Radio Frequency Identification commonly known as RFID tags are small, low-cost electronic components that can be attached to an object or animal. The tag sends a radio frequency signal that can be read at a wide range of distances. This is commonly used to track inventory location and movement. They can also be used to track livestock and pets or even to track humans. For example, hospitals use RFID tags to keep track of patient belongings within the hospital.
Remote controls have been around for decades, but most people don’t realize that the remote sends a low-frequency radio wave, which is picked up by the TV or receiver.
As a security professional, you can use RF to help detect potential risks. An alarm system that uses infrared has limited range and can only detect infrared light that is bouncing off of an intruder; however, an RF-based system can be installed anywhere within the building and can detect any incoming RF signal.
Remote door control with RF electricity meters
Electricity meters can now wirelessly communicate with your home’s electrical appliances. An example of an electricity meter that uses RF technology is the Accent PowerFlex®. This model offers remote readouts and can be installed inside or outside your home.
RF is commonly used to transmit data and commands between control points and sensors. This form of communication allows for devices to have smaller antennas, increasing the range of the wireless network without adding any additional cabling.
One of the first uses of radio frequency was for the measurement of weather. This is done by measuring wind speed, humidity and temperature. This is extremely useful for predicting storms, floods and other extreme weather conditions.
Another everyday use of radio frequency is the global positioning system (GPS). This system uses several satellites orbiting the earth, each sending a signal with their location and time on it.Consisting of at least four satellites, the GPS system is used in cars, boats, and planes to find their location on the planet. The system is also used in mobile phones to give directions and to help with mapping, and in many other applications
In the list of 10 things above, we covered pretty cool uses of Radio Frequency. We hope that you enjoyed learning some new things about the radio waves in our world, and we hope that you now have a little more appreciation for it.