Multipacket reception of passive UHF RFID tags: A communication theoretic approach

Karsten Fyhn, Rasmus M. Jacobsen, Petar Popovski, Anna Scaglione, Torben Larsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


This paper develops a communication theoretic model for the design and analysis at the physical layer of a reader receiver structure for passive UHF Radio Frequency IDentification (RFID). The objective is attaining multipacket reception capabilities which in turn help the fast resolution of multiple tags through a more rapid and power efficient arbitration of the tags collisions. In particular, we derive a parametric continuous time model for the subspace of a tag signal at the noisy receiver/reader, which in addition to being affected by fading and receiver delay, exhibits wide variations in the symbol frequency and transmission delay, due to imperfections in the RFID hardware design. Our main contribution is in showing that channel fading, the difference in delay and the tags frequency dispersion can be transformed from foes to friends by exploiting them in a multipacket receiver. In fact, signals colliding from different tags are more easily separable by estimating the sensor specific variation in frequency and delay and using these estimates in a multiuser receiver. In our study, we specifically consider a successive interference cancellation algorithm followed by a maximum likelihood sequence decoder, that iteratively reconstructs one signal contribution at a time and then removes it from the received signal. Numerical simulations show that the estimates and proposed algorithm are effective in recovering collisions. The proposed algorithm is then incorporated into a numerical simulation of the Q-protocol for UHF RFID tags and is shown to be effective in providing fast and power efficient arbitration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number5875904
Pages (from-to)4225-4237
Number of pages13
JournalIEEE Transactions on Signal Processing
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Multiuser decoding
  • physical collision recovery
  • radio frequency identification (RFID)
  • reader receivers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Signal Processing
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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