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The IEEE 802 LAN/MAN Standards Committee (LMSC) has chartered the IEEE 802.15 RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) Study Group to develop IEEE 802 'Project Authorization Request' (PAR) and '5 Criteria' documents which define the direction of an IEEE 802 Task Group as it develops a new IEEE 802 wireless standard.

IEEE 802 PAR and 5 Criteria documents are developed through participation in IEEE 802.15 Study Group meetings. The IEEE 802.15 RFID SG has not yet completed these documents.

There is a potential in this IEEE 802.15 RFID SG to define the direction of the development of new draft narrowband physical layer (PHY), and perhaps a medium access control (MAC) layer, that are more energy efficient in practice than current IEEE 802.15 standards for wireless applications where ultra-low energy consumption (battery or energy harvesting) is preferred. Perhaps for passive/semi-active/active RFID, sensor, and other applications that existing RFID and sensor wireless PHYs and MACs currently on the market may not satisfy.

Note that  for several years IEEE 802 standards have been fast tracked through ISO/IEC. One example is ISO 8802-11 with amendments, also known as IEEE 802.11 along with it's PHY and MAC amendments. The ISO and IEEE have recently signed an agreement to increase their cooperation in developing international standards. The press release is available at

Current Status

During the July 2008 session in Denver, Colorado, draft Active RFID PAR scope and purpose paragraphs were created. These draft PAR paragraphs can be viewed by downloading the RFID SG Closing Report, document control number (DCN) 0530, available at URL This draft Active RFID PAR will be discussed at the next meeting in September 2008. This draft PAR is not yet final so it is open to modification.

The IEEE 802.15 RFID Study Group is preparing for the September 7-12, 2008 IEEE 802 Interim session in Kona, Hawaii (Big Island).

At this Interim IEEE 802 meeting the RFID Study Group is planning to listen to document submissions sought through a recent Call for Contribution document release, IEEE P802.15 document number 15-08-0089-05-rfid, released on July 17, 2008 and is available at URL Refer to document control number (DCN) 089 rev 05.

Of particular interest are presentation document contributions pertaining to any of the following (or similar) topics listed below. Topics are not restricted to those in this list:

• Where might a IEEE 802.15 RFID wireless standard development effort fit into the RFID
   and wireless sensor markets and what are the applications and use cases?

• What are the MAC and PHY issues with current RFID and sensor wireless standards or
   proprietary wireless protocols?

• Are there current IEEE 802 PHY and/or MAC standards that could resolve current RFID
  and sensor technological issues?

• What is the best way to achieve spectrum coexistence between RFID and sensor devices
  operating near IEEE 802 wireless standard devices?

• Should IEEE 802 develop a RFID and sensor MAC and PHY wireless standard?
• Could a semi-active or active wireless MAC and PHY also support passive RFID

• Do you have any RFID and sensor applications in mind that may benefit through the
  development of an IEEE 802 wireless standard?

• Is there a need for an IEEE 802 RFID wireless standard?

• What energy use limitations must a wireless PHY and MAC remain within for semi-active
  or active RFID and sensor applications?

• What security requirements and implications are there in RFID and sensor applications?
  o Information stored on a tag?
  o During wireless transmission of information stored in a tag?

• What issues might there be with mesh networking of low energy consumption RFID and
  sensor protocols?

• What are the issues with wireless MACs and PHYs in energy limited (perhaps energy
  harvesting) applications?

• Can an energy limited wireless MAC and PHY provide the information necessary to
  determine an RFID or sensor tag’s location?

• Is there a market need for a wireless RFID and/or sensor standard which may fit somewhere
  between a passive RFID tag and the IEEE 802.15.4 standards?

• Is there a market need for a new narrowband PHY standard within IEEE 802.15.4 with an RF channel bandwidth that is narrower than the current 802.15.4 channels in the 868 MHz/915 MHz bands and the 2400-2483.5 MHz band?

Perhaps to better support low duty cycle wireless applications with ultra-low energy or energy harvesting requirements and to reduce interference with other users within these frequency bands through providing an increased number of narrowband RF channels in each band? 

Document contributors are reminded that there are several potential unlicensed frequency bands which wireless devices may operate within. A list of IEEE 802 wireless standards and their frequency bands of operation is provided below for reference. Contribution topics are not restricted to the unlicensed frequency bands of operation or IEEE 802 wireless standards listed below.

1. IEEE 802.11a/b/g (2400-2483.5 MHz, 5150 -5250 MHz, 5250-5350 MHz, and 5725-5825 MHz)
2. IEEE 802.15.4      (868 MHz/915 MHz bands and 2400-2483.5 MHz).
3. IEEE 802.15.4a    (250-750 MHz, 2400-2483.5 MHz, 3244-4742 MHz, and 5944-10234 MHz).
4. IEEE 802.15.4c draft standard currently in development (China frequency band 779-787 MHz).
5. IEEE 802.15.4d draft standard currently in development (Japan frequency band 950-956 MHz).

Access to the 802.15 Task Group, Study Group, and Interest Group web pages is available through the 802.15 Working Group home page at

To participate

  • Participate by registering, attending, and presenting documents at our Meetings.

  • IEEE 802.15 RFID Study Group conducts their discussions on the 802.15.rfid Private Mailing List. You can learn more about the 802.15 Mailing Lists by pointing your browser here.

For further Information on how to submit contributions

Who to contact with questions

  • Acting Chairman: Michael McInnis

  • Vice Chairman: TBD

  • Secretary: TBD

  • The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc.  

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