Let us first explain what a BAP tag is.
Battery Assisted Passive (BAP) tags, sometimes called Semi-Passive or Semi-Active, are essentially passive RFID tags with an internal battery. They work in a similar way to active transponder tags, as these tags wait for a signal from an RFID reader before responding. When a BAP tag receives an RF signal from an RFID reader, the internal battery turns on and supplies power to the integrated circuit (IC), which is then modulated with the tag’s relevant information. It then scatters or sends a signal back to the RFID reader in the read zone.
The tag uses its battery to send the signal much farther than traditional passive RFID tags, ranging up to about 10 meters in an ideal setting. Because it has a greater range than a passive tag (and is typically more expensive than a passive tag), but not as great a range as an active RFID tag (and is typically less expensive than an active tag), it can be considered an “advanced passive RFID tag with increased range”.
In the last 15 years, there have been many tags produced with this technology. Equipped with different battery technologies, including major manufacturers, these tags had chips compliant with the EPC Class 1 Gen 2 protocol, which is considered the ancient standard of the UHF passive RFID world. Thus, they could be read with standard UHF RFID readers even if their batteries ran out (or in applications that did not need to be read remotely). In particular, ST Microelectronic focused on the production of BAP chips compatible with the Class 1 Gen 2 protocol.
In theory it is a very bright and promising solution, but it has not been without problems. For example, with Alien readers, the desired reading performance could not be achieved (it barely reached 10 meters). We were all very happy when Impinj readers reached 20 meters. However, BAP tags were able to fulfill their real promise with Zebra-Motorola readers. With these readers, BAP tag reading distances reached 100 meters.
This was the main problem with BAP tags. Because of the incompatibility between readers (in fact, the issue stemmed from non-generic EPC Class 1 Gen 2 commands and some reader manufacturers could not activate BAP tags because they did not embed these special commands in their systems), we RFID system integrators did not favor BAP tags.
Although BAP tags are cheaper than full active RFID tags in terms of price, it is still considered high for the passive RFID tag customer. Since the customer who can allocate a budget for an active RFID tag does not prefer BAP anyway, tags with this technology have become less preferred over time.
One of the last companies to insist on BAP label production was Confidex. Confidex produced the Survivor B BAP label for a long time, but the company completely exited BAP label production with a decision taken in early December 2021. At this stage, it can be said that there are no BAP label manufacturers with high reputation except for a few companies from the Far East.
We recommend the Viking series products instead of this product from Confidex. Using Bluetooth Beacon technology, these tags are available in two main product categories, both standard and ultra-industrial, and have a battery life of 5+ years. You can place your online order through Altis Store to get these products at the most affordable price.
If you are confused and want to learn more about RFID technology, please click here to read our detailed article What is RFID?