(19)
(11)EP 2 563 090 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
26.04.2017 Bulletin 2017/17

(21)Application number: 12180516.2

(22)Date of filing:  15.08.2012
(51)Int. Cl.: 
H04W 84/18  (2009.01)
H04W 88/06  (2009.01)
H04W 88/04  (2009.01)

(54)

Passive RF devices that communicate using a wireless network protocol

Mit einem drahtlosen Netzwerkprotokoll kommunizierende passive HF-Vorrichtungen

Dispositifs RF passifs qui communiquent à l'aide d'un protocole de réseau sans fil


(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR

(30)Priority: 24.08.2011 US 201113216810

(43)Date of publication of application:
27.02.2013 Bulletin 2013/09

(73)Proprietor: Ricoh Company, Ltd.
Tokyo 143-8555 (JP)

(72)Inventors:
  • Hull, Jonathan J
    Menlo Park, CA California 94025-7054 (US)
  • Chemishkian, Sergey
    Menlo Park, CA California 94025-7054 (US)

(74)Representative: Maury, Richard Philip 
Marks & Clerk LLP 90 Long Acre
London WC2E 9RA
London WC2E 9RA (GB)


(56)References cited: : 
JP-A- 2006 279 650
US-A1- 2003 104 848
US-A1- 2007 186 105
US-A1- 2003 007 473
US-A1- 2005 207 381
US-B1- 7 075 412
  
      
    Note: Within nine months from the publication of the mention of the grant of the European patent, any person may give notice to the European Patent Office of opposition to the European patent granted. Notice of opposition shall be filed in a written reasoned statement. It shall not be deemed to have been filed until the opposition fee has been paid. (Art. 99(1) European Patent Convention).


    Description

    Field of the Invention



    [0001] The invention relates to the field of passive Radio Frequency (RF) devices.

    Background



    [0002] Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) refers to a process of transferring data over a Radio Frequency (RF) signal between a reader and a device that is attached to an object. RFID is commonly used for identifying and tracking objects. For example, RFID devices may be attached to objects in a warehouse so that inventory in the warehouse may be tracked. The RFID device, also referred to as an RFID tag, typically stores an identifier (ID) for an object in a memory. The RFID device reads the object ID from the memory, and broadcasts an RF signal that includes the object ID (e.g., the object ID is modulated on the RF signal). An RFID reader receives the RF signal and interprets the object ID from the RF signal.

    [0003] Most RFID devices include an antenna that receives and transmits RF signals, and an integrated circuit that stores data and processes the RF signals. Some RFID devices also include a battery, and are referred to as active devices. Other RFID devices do not include a battery, and are referred to as passive devices. In a passive RFID device, the power for the integrated circuit is supplied by an RF signal supplied by the RFID reader. The antenna in the passive RFID device receives the RF signal broadcast from the RFID reader. The antenna has a coiled configuration which causes the RF signal to form an electromagnetic field in the antenna. The integrated circuit derives power from the electromagnetic field, which energizes the integrated circuit instead of a battery or some other power source. With the power supplied by the RF signal, the integrated circuit reads the data stored in memory, and modulates the stored data onto the RF signal. The antenna then transmits or reflects the modulated RF signal for reception by the RFID reader. The RFID reader senses the RF signal from the passive RFID device, and processes the data added to the RF signal.

    [0004] US 2003/104848A discloses an RFID device operable passively or semi-passively and selectively on an IEEE 802.11x network to exchange data on the network when powered by RF from an active interrogator when it is within RF range.

    [0005] US 2005/207381 discloses RFID tags in a WLAN operable on the IEEE 802.11 protocol.

    [0006] US 7075412 discloses wireless tags and tag readers in which transmitted data include destination addresses.

    [0007] US 2003/0007473A discloses controlling the duty cycle of transmission of an interrogator to RFID tags in a wireless tag identification system US2007/186105 A1 discloses the use of the SSID field to for transmitting up to 32 bytes of data. The invention is disclosed by the device of independent Claim 1, the method of independent Claim 7 and the system of independent Claim 13.

    Summary



    [0008] Embodiments described herein provide for an improved passive RF device that is able to communicate using a wireless network protocol. The passive RF device includes
    circuitry that is able to derive power from an RF signal that is transmitted from a RF source. The RF signals from the RF source are based on the wireless network protocol (e.g., IEEE 802.15.4 or IEEE 802.11). With the power derived from the RF signal, the circuitry is able to communicate with the RF source or other passive RF devices using the wireless network protocol. Thus, passive RF devices, such as RFID devices, may be implemented in a more effective and reliable manner by using the wireless network protocol for communication.

    [0009] One embodiment includes a passive RF device. The device includes an antenna operable to receive a radio frequency (RF) signal from a RF source that transmits the RF signal based on a wireless network protocol. The device further includes circuitry operable to derive power from the RF signal. With the power derived from the RF signal, the circuitry is further operable to read data from a memory, to encode the data based on the wireless network protocol, and to modulate the RF signal to include the encoded data. The antenna is further operable to transmit the modulated RF signal based on the wireless network protocol for reception by the RF source or another passive RF device.

    [0010] Other exemplary embodiments may be described below.

    Description of the Drawings



    [0011] Some embodiments of the present invention are now described, by way of example only, and with reference to the accompanying drawings. The same reference number represents the same element or the same type of element on all drawings.

    FIG. 1 is a block diagram illustrating an RFID system in an exemplary embodiment.

    FIG. 2 is a block diagram of a passive RF device in an exemplary embodiment.

    FIG. 3 is a flow chart illustrating a method of operating a passive RF device to communicate using the wireless network protocol in an exemplary embodiment.

    FIG. 4 illustrates a frame in an exemplary embodiment.

    FIG. 5 illustrates an application of passive RF devices to monitor the power usage of an electrical device in an exemplary embodiment.


    Description of the Embodiments



    [0012] The figures and the following description illustrate specific exemplary embodiments of the invention. It will thus be appreciated that those skilled in the art will be able to devise various arrangements that, although not explicitly described or shown herein, embody the principles of the invention and are included within the scope of the invention. Furthermore, any examples described herein are intended to aid in understanding the principles of the invention, and are to be construed as being without limitation to such specifically recited examples and conditions. As a result, the invention is not limited to the specific embodiments or examples described below, but by the claims and their equivalents.

    [0013] FIG. 1 is a block diagram illustrating an RFID system 100 in an exemplary embodiment. RFID system 100 includes an RF source 102 and passive RF devices 104-105. RF source 102 is an active device that transmits RF signals based on a wireless network protocol. A wireless network protocol defines a format for data being transmitted, and rules for transmission of the data. Examples of a wireless network protocol that may be used in RFID system 100 are IEEE 802.15.4, Zigbee, IEEE 802.11, Wi-Fi, etc. RF source 102 may include an RFID reader that is compliant with the wireless network protocol, or may include a wireless access point for a Personal Area Network (PAN), a Local Area Network (LAN), or another type of network that uses the wireless network protocol.

    [0014] RF devices 104-105 are passive devices, meaning that they derive power from RF signals received from RF source 102 instead of from an active power source, such as a battery. Each RF device 104-105 is programmed with data, such as an identifier (ID) for an object. Using the power derived from the RF signal, an RF device 104 identifies its stored data, and encodes the data based on the wireless network protocol. RF device 104 then transmits the encoded data based on the wireless network protocol. The encoded data may be sent to RF source 102 or to another passive RF device (e.g., RF device 105).

    [0015] FIG. 2 is a block diagram of passive RF device 104 in an exemplary embodiment. RF device 104 includes an antenna 202 and circuitry 204. Antenna 202 is operable to transmit and receive RF signals based on the wireless network protocol. Circuitry 204 includes a power circuit 206, a memory 208, and a processor 210. Power circuit 206 is operable to derive power from a RF signal received from RF source 102 through antenna 202. The power derived from power circuit 206 energizes circuitry 204 instead of a battery or some other active power source, which makes RF device 104 a passive device. Memory 208 is operable to store data, such as an identifier (ID) for an object. Memory 208 may store other programs or commands executable by processor 210, or any other desired data. Processor 210 is programmable to provide the desired functionality of RF device 104. One of the functions provided by processor 210 is to report the data that is stored in memory 208. Another one of the functions provided by processor 210 is to communicate with RF source 102 and/or RF device 105 using the wireless network protocol.

    [0016] The protocol-based communication for RF device 104 is provided by a protocol element 212 within processor 210. Protocol element 212 as shown in FIG. 2 represents the function in RF device 104 for exchanging data based on the wireless network protocol (e.g., IEEE 802.15.4 or IEEE 802.11). As part of exchanging data, protocol element 212 is able to encode data based on the wireless network protocol for transmission to RF source 102 and/or RF device 105. Protocol element 212 is also able to decode data received from RF source 102 and/or RF device 105 based on the wireless network protocol.

    [0017] Assume in FIG. 1 that RF source 102 transmits an RF signal based on the wireless network protocol while RF device 104 is in close proximity to RF source 102. FIG. 3 is a flow chart illustrating a method 300 of operating passive RF device 104 to communicate using the wireless network protocol in an exemplary embodiment. The steps of method 300 will be described with respect to RF device 104 of FIGS. 1-2, although one skilled in the art will understand that the methods described herein may be performed by other devices not shown. The steps of the methods described herein are not all inclusive and may include other steps not shown. The steps for the flow charts shown herein may also be performed in an alternative order.

    [0018] In step 302, antenna 202 receives the RF signal from RF source 102. Again, the RF signal from the RF source 102 is based on the wireless network protocol. In step 304, power circuit 206 derives power from the RF signal. For example, antenna 202 may have a coiled confguration which causes the RF signal to form an electromagnetic field in antenna 202. Power circuit 206 may then derive the power from the electromagnetic field, which energizes circuitry 204.

    [0019] With the power derived from the RF signal, processor 210 reads the data that is stored in memory 208 in step 306. Instead of simply modulating the data on the RF signal and transmitting the modulated RF signal, protocol element 212 encodes the data based on the wireless network protocol in step 308. The wireless network protocol defines how the data is structured or formatted for transmission into a data unit. For example, the wireless network protocol may define the structure of the data unit as including a header and an attached payload. The header may include fields for addressing, such as a source address and a destination address. The header may also include a field indicating a "type" for the data unit. For instance, if IEEE 802.15.4 is used as the wireless network protocol, then the type of data unit may be for data, an acknowledgement, a beacon, or a Media Access Control (MAC) command. If IEEE 802.11 is used as the wireless network protocol, then the type of data unit may be a User Datagram Protocol (UDP) packet or Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) packet.

    [0020] One type of data unit used for lower-level networking protocols is a frame. One example of a frame is shown in FIG. 4. Frame 400 in FIG. 4 includes a header 410 that includes control and/or addressing information. In this embodiment, header 410 includes a preamble field 412, a destination address field 414, a source address field 416, and a frame type field 418. The destination address field 414 and source address field 416 may include MAC addresses for the destination and source of the frame 400, respectively. Frame 400 further includes a payload 420, which includes the actual data that is being transported, such as an object ID. Frame 400 also includes a frame check sequence 430 that is used for error checking. The structure of frame 400 in FIG. 4 is just one example, as the frames or other data units discussed herein may have other desired structures.

    [0021] If IEEE 802.11 is used as the wireless network protocol, one type of data used for lower level networking is the Service Set Identifier (SSID). The SSID is a name that identifies a particular 802.11 wireless LAN and is defined as 2 to 32 8-bit bytes. The SSID is typically broadcast as an identifier by 802.11 servers so that clients can choose whether they should connect to that server. RF device 104 may encode the data in an SSID, and then modulate and transmit that data so that it's received by RF source 102 and passive RF device 105. The SSID may include an identifier for the device and the content of memory 208. For example, the identifier may be 3 bytes and the memory content may be 29 bytes. Or, the identifier may be 0 bytes and the entire 32 bytes may be used for the memory content. Or, the initial N bytes of the SSID may be allocated for a sequence number (e.g., 0,1,2,3 for 4-bytes sequence of SSID's), N bytes for the maximum sequence number, and the subsequent 32-2N bytes for the memory content. Processor 210 may encode the content of memory 208 in successive SSID's in increasing order of sequence number, and repeatedly broadcast that sequence of SSID's. The receiver then reassembles the data encoded in the SSID's. For example, when transmitting a 75 byte message, three SSID's would be used and their byte patterns would look like: 02[30 byte payload], 12[30 byte payload], 22[15 bytes of payload data out of 30 that are available].

    [0022] After the data is encoded in FIG. 3, processor 210 modulates the RF signal to include the encoded data in step 310. Antenna 202 then transmits the modulated RF signal based on the wireless network protocol in step 312. Antenna 202 may be able to actively transmit the modulated RF signal based on power derived from power circuit 206. Antenna 202 may alternatively reflect or backscatter the RF signal that is received from RF source 102 after it is modulated. Either way, the modulated RF signal is transmitted for reception by RF source 102 and/or RF device 105.

    [0023] If the data is intended for RF source 102, then protocol element 212 may encode the data with an address (e.g., a MAC address) for RF source 102. When RF source 102 receives the modulated RF signal, RF source 102 extracts the encoded data from the modulated RF signal, and decodes the data. RF source 102 may process the decoded data to identify the destination address. If the destination address in the data matches the MAC address for RF source 102, then RF source 102 determines that it is the intended recipient for the data. RF source 102 may then handle the data in a desired manner.

    [0024] If the data is intended for another passive RF device, such as RF device 105, then protocol element 212 may encode the data with an address (e.g., a MAC address) for RF device 105. The modulated RF signal from antenna 202 is then received in RF device 105, which processes the modulated RF signal similar to the way RF source 102 processes the RF signal as described above.

    [0025] The use of the wireless network protocol in RFID system 100 allows for bi-directional communication between RF device 104 and RF source 102. For example, the wireless network protocol may specify request-response procedures for transmission of data or commands. One of the request-response procedures may be for RF source 102 to request the data from RF device 104. Therefore, before RF device 104 sends the encoded data to RF source 102, RF source 102 may request the data from RF device 104 based on the wireless network protocol. To do so, RF source 102 generates a request for the data stored on RF device 104, and encodes the request based on the wireless network protocol. The request may be for all data stored in RF device 104, or may indicate specific data being requested (e.g., by file name). RF source 102 then modulates the RF signal to include the encoded request. Antenna 202 in RF device 104 receives the RF signal from RF source 102, and circuitry 204 decodes the encoded request from the RF signal based on the wireless network protocol. In response to the request from RF source 102, circuitry 204 reads the requested data from memory 208, encodes the data based on the wireless network protocol, and modulates the RF signal to include the encoded data as described in FIG. 3 to provide the data to RF source 102.

    [0026] Another one of the request-response procedures may be for RF source 102 to acknowledge receipt of the data from RF device 104. When RF source 102 successfully receives the data from RF device 104, RF source 102 generates an acknowledgement, and encodes the acknowledgement based on the wireless network protocol. RF source 102 then modulates the RF signal to include the encoded acknowledgement. Antenna 202 in RF device 104 receives the RF signal from RF source 102, and circuitry 204 decodes the encoded acknowledgement based on the wireless network protocol. Circuitry 204 may then process the acknowledgement from RF source 102 to determine that the data was successfully received in RF source 102. If the data was not successfully received, then circuitry 204 may retry transmission of the data.

    [0027] Another one of the request-response procedures may be for RF device 104 to request that RF source 102 sustain the RF signal for a time period. Because RF device 104 is a passive device, it relies on the RF signal for power. If processor 210 in RF device 104 is tasked with performing a function, then it is preferred that the RF signal is available to power processor 210 for the duration of the task. Thus, processor 210 may request that RF source 102 sustain the RF signal for the duration of the task. To do so, circuitry 204 encodes a request to sustain the RF signal for a time period (e.g., the time period required to complete the function) based on the wireless network protocol. Circuitry 204 then modulates the RF signal to include the encoded request for transmission to RF source 102 through antenna 202. When RF source 102 receives the modulated RF signal, RF source 102 extracts the encoded request from the modulated RF signal, and decodes the request. RF source 102 determines that RF device 104 has requested that the RF signal be supplied for a time period, and maintains the RF signal for the requested time period so that RF device 104 may complete a task.

    [0028] The request-response procedures in the wireless network protocol may allow for additional features in RFID system 100. For instance, RF source 102 may request particular data from RF device 104, may request when RF device 104 transmits the data, may request how often RF device 104 transmits the data, etc. RF device 104 may make similar requests to RF source 102.

    [0029] The use of the wireless network protocol in RFID system 100 also allows for bi-directional communication between RF device 104 and other passive RF devices (e.g., RF device 105). Using the request-response procedures in the wireless network protocol, RF device 104 may request data from RF device 105, and vice-versa. For example, assume that RF device 105 requests data that is stored in RF device 104. To do so, RF device 105 generates a request for the data stored on RF device 104, and encodes the request based on the wireless network protocol. As with RF device 104, RF device 105 is powered from the RF signal provided by RF source 102. RF device 105 modulates the RF signal to include the encoded request, and transmits the modulated RF signal. Antenna 202 in RF device 104 receives the RF signal from RF device 105, and circuitry 204 decodes the encoded request based on the wireless network protocol. In response to the request from RF device 105, circuitry 204 reads the data from memory 208, encodes the data based on the wireless network protocol, and modulates the RF signal to include the encoded data as described in FIG. 3. Antenna 202 then transmits the modulated RF signal for reception by RF device 105. RF device 105 may then decode the data from the RF signal.

    [0030] The use of a wireless network protocol in RFID system 100 (see FIG. 1) advantageously allows for improved communication between RF source 102 and RF devices 104-105. The wireless network protocol (through the RF signals) both powers RF devices 104-105, and allows for bi-directional communication (e.g., request-response procedures) between RF source 102 and RF devices 104-105. The data transmission is more secure and more reliable using the wireless network protocol. Also, RF devices 104-105 can communicate directly with access points or other protocol-compliant sources without the need for a dedicated RFID reader.

    [0031] The passive RF devices described above may be used in a variety of applications. FIG. 5 illustrates an application of passive RF devices to monitor the power usage of an electrical device 510 in an exemplary embodiment. The electrical device 510 in FIG. 5 is illustrated as a printer just as an example, as electrical device 510 may include a computer, a television, a stove, a fan, or any other type of device that uses electricity. A passive RF device 520 is attached to power cord 511 of electrical device 510. The power cord 511 in turn is plugged into a power strip 530. Power strip 530 includes a passive RF device 521 and an active RF device 525. Power strip 530 is a smart power outlet, as it includes functionality for monitoring power usage of a device that is plugged into one of its outlets. One example of power strip 530 is a Modlet that is manufactured by ThinkEco. Power strip 530 is plugged into wall outlet 540 that includes a passive RF device 522.

    [0032] Passive RF device 520 of power cord 511 is programmed with an ID for electrical device 510. The ID for electrical device 510 may include a serial number, a model number, and/or other information. Passive RF device 521 is programmed with an ID for power strip 530. The ID for power strip 530 may include a serial number, a model number, and/or other information. Passive RF device 522 is programmed with an ID for wall outlet 540. The ID for wall outlet 540 may include a location (e.g., room number, floor number, etc), a model number, and/or other information. This example will show how passive RF devices 520-522 communicate their stored IDs using a wireless network protocol so that the power usage of electrical device 510 may be monitored.

    [0033] When power strip 530 is plugged into wall outlet 540, and power cord 511 is plugged into power strip 530, active RF device 525 is positioned very close (i.e., within inches) to each of the passive RF devices 520-522. Active RF device 525 acts as an RF source to transmit an RF signal based on the wireless network protocol. Assume for this example that the wireless network protocol is IEEE 802.15.4, but other protocols may be used in other embodiments.

    [0034] Passive RF device 520 on power cord 511 receives the RF signal from active RF device 525, and derives power from the 802.15.4 RF signal. Because passive RF device 520 is located close to active RF device 525, passive RF device 520 is able to derive enough power to support a network-based protocol such as 802.15.4. With the power derived from the RF signal, passive RF device 520 reads the ID for electrical device 510 that is stored in memory, encodes the ID based on the 802.15.4 protocol, and modulates the RF signal to include the encoded ID. Passive RF device 520 then transmits the modulated RF signal based on the 802.15.4 protocol. The modulated RF signal is received in active RF device 525, which extracts and decodes the ID for electrical device 510 from the RF signal.

    [0035] Passive RF device 521 on power strip 530 works in a similar manner to provide the ID for power strip 530. More particularly, passive RF device 521 receives the RF signal from active RF device 525, and derives power from the 802.15.4 RF signal. With the power derived from the RF signal, passive RF device 521 reads the ID for power strip 530 that is stored in memory, encodes the ID based on the 802.15.4 protocol, and modulates the RF signal to include the encoded ID. Passive RF device 521 then transmits the modulated RF signal based on the 802.15.4 protocol. The modulated RF signal is received in active RF device 525, which extracts and decodes the ID for power strip 530 from the RF signal. Because power strip 530 is able to determine power usage through each of its outlets, active RF device 525 may also determine the power usage of electrical device 510 over a time period.

    [0036] Passive RF device 522 on wall outlet 540 works in a similar manner to passive RF devices 520-521 to provide the ID for wall outlet 540 to active RF device 525. Active RF device 525 then aggregates the ID for electrical device 510, the ID for power strip 530, the ID for wall outlet 540, and the power usage information. Active RF device 525 then transmits the aggregated information (e.g., an aggregated file) to computer 550 through a 802.15.4 access point 552. Computer 550 may then execute an application 551 that processes the IDs and the usage information to monitor the power load from electrical device 510. Application 551 may log how much power electrical device 510 draws over a time period to identify a peak power usage. Application 551 may log how much power electrical device 510 draws for a particular function or processing event. For example, if electrical device 510 is a printer as in FIG. 5, then application 551 may log how much power the printer draws when printing a document and encode that in the transmitted data.

    [0037] The power monitoring described above may be expanded to multiple electrical devices and multiple wall outlets. Thus, a mesh network of passive RF devices may be formed to report IDs for each of the electrical devices. This allows for large scale monitoring of power usage, which is especially useful in large enterprises or campuses so that power consumption may be regulated or reduced.

    [0038] Although specific embodiments were described herein, the scope of the invention is not limited to those specific embodiments. The scope of the invention is defined by the following claims.


    Claims

    1. A passive Radio Frequency Identification, RFID device (525, 104) comprising:

    a memory (208) storing an ID of an electrical device (510) associated with the RFID device;

    an antenna arranged to receive a Radio Frequency, RF, signal from a RF source (552, 102) that transmits the RF signal based on an IEEE 802.11 wireless network protocol; and

    circuitry (204) arranged to derive power from the RF signal and, with the power derived from the RF signal, to read data including the ID from the memory (208), to encode the data in a Service Set Identifier, SSID, based on the wireless network protocol, and to modulate the RF signal to include the SSID;

    the antenna being further arranged to transmit the modulated RF signal based on the wireless network protocol.


     
    2. The device of claim 1 wherein:

    the circuitry (204) is further arranged to encode the data, based on the wireless network protocol, with an address for the RF source (552, 102).


     
    3. The device of claim 1 or 2 wherein:

    the circuitry (204) is further arranged to receive an acknowledgement from the RF source that is encoded based on the wireless network protocol, the acknowledgement indicating that the encoded data was received in the RF source.


     
    4. The device of any one of claims 1-3 wherein:

    the circuitry (204) is further arranged to receive a request from the RF source that is encoded based on the wireless network protocol, the request being for the data stored in the memory;

    and the circuitry is further arranged to read the data from the memory in response to the request.


     
    5. The device of any one of claims 1-4 wherein:

    the circuitry (204) is further arranged to encode the data, based on the wireless network protocol, with an address for another passive Radio Frequency Identification, RFID, device (105).


     
    6. The device of any one of claims 1-5 wherein:

    the circuitry (204) is further arranged to encode a request based on the wireless network protocol for the RF source, the request being to sustain the RF signal for a time period; and

    the circuitry is further arranged to modulate the RF signal to include the encoded request.


     
    7. A method of operating a passive Radio Frequency Identification, RFID, device, the method comprising:

    receiving a Radio Frequency, RF, signal from a RF source (552, 102) that transmits the RF signal based on an IEEE 802.11 wireless network protocol;

    deriving power from the RF signal;

    and, with the power derived from the RF signal:

    reading data from a memory in the RFID device, the data including an ID of an electrical device (510) associated with the RFID device;

    encoding the data in a Service Set Identifier, SSID, based on the wireless network protocol;

    modulating the RF signal to include the SSID; and

    transmitting the modulated RF signal based on the wireless network protocol.


     
    8. The method of claim 7 wherein encoding the data based on the wireless network protocol further comprises:

    encoding the data, based on the wireless network protocol, with an address for the RF source.


     
    9. The method of claim 7 or 8 further comprising:

    receiving an acknowledgement from the RF source that is encoded based on the wireless network protocol, the acknowledgement indicating that the encoded data was received in the RF source.


     
    10. The method of any one of claims 7-9 further comprising:

    receiving a request from the RF source, that is encoded based on the wireless network protocol, for the data stored in the memory; and

    reading the data from the memory in response to the request.


     
    11. The method of any one of claims 7-10 wherein encoding the data based on the wireless network protocol further comprises:

    encoding the data, based on the wireless network protocol, with an address for another passive RF device.


     
    12. The method of any one of claims 7-11 further comprising:

    encoding a request based on the wireless network protocol for the RF source, the request being to sustain the RF signal for a time period; and

    modulating the RF signal to include the encoded request.


     
    13. A Radio Frequency Identification, RFID, system comprising:

    an active RF device (525, 102) arranged to transmit a radio frequency, RF, signal based on an IEEE 802.11 wireless network protocol;

    a first passive RFID device (520) according to any one of claims 1 to 6 attached to a power cord of the associated electrical device (510), the first passive RFID device arranged to store the ID of the electrical device, to derive power from the RF signal, and to transmit the ID of the electrical device in an SSID to the active RF device based on the wireless network protocol;

    a second passive RFID device (521) according to any one of claims 1 to 6 attached to a power strip (530) that receives the power cord for the electrical device, the second passive RFID device arranged to store an ID for the power strip, to derive power from the RF signal, and to transmit the ID for the power strip in an SSID to the active RF device based on the wireless network protocol; and

    a third passive RFID device (522) according to any one of claims 1 to 6 attached to a wall outlet (540) that is electrically connectable to the power strip (530), the third passive RFID device arranged to store an ID for the wall outlet, to derive power from the RF signal, and to transmit the ID for the wall outlet in an SSID to the active RF device based on the wireless network protocol;

    the active RF device being further arranged to retrieve power usage data for the associated electrical device (510) from the power strip, and to aggregate the ID for the electrical device, the ID for the power strip, the ID for the wall outlet, and the power usage data for the electrical device.


     
    14. The RFID system of claim 13 wherein;
    the active RF device is further arranged to transmit the aggregated information to a computer (550) using the wireless network protocol.
     
    15. The RFID system of claim 14 further comprising:

    an application (551) on the computer arranged to process the aggregated information to generate a log of the power usage for the electrical device.


     


    Ansprüche

    1. Passive RFID-(Radio Frequency Identification)-Vorrichtung (525, 104), die Folgendes umfasst:

    einen Speicher (208) zum Speichern einer ID einer mit der RFID-Vorrichtung assoziierten elektrischen Vorrichtung (510);

    eine Antenne eingerichtet zum Empfangen eines RF-(Radio Frequency)-Signals von einer RF-Quelle (552, 102), die das RF-Signal auf der Basis eines drahtlosen IEEE 802.11 Netzwerkprotokolls sendet; und

    Schaltung (204) eingerichtet zum Ableiten von Strom von dem RF-Signal und, mit dem von dem RF-Signal abgeleiteten Strom, zum Lesen von Daten einschließlich der ID von dem Speicher (208), zum Codieren der Daten in einer SSID (Service Set Identifier) auf der Basis des drahtlosen Netzwerkprotokolls und zum Modulieren des RF-Signals, so dass es die SSID enthält;

    wobei die Antenne ferner zum Senden des modulierten RF-Signals auf der Basis des drahtlosen Netzwerkprotokolls ausgelegt ist.


     
    2. Vorrichtung nach Anspruch 1, wobei:

    die Schaltung (204) ferner zum Codieren der Daten auf der Basis des drahtlosen Netzwerkprotokolls mit einer Adresse für die RF-Quelle (552, 102) ausgelegt ist.


     
    3. Vorrichtung nach Anspruch 1 oder 2, wobei:

    die Schaltung (204) ferner zum Empfangen einer Quittierung von der RF-Quelle ausgelegt ist, die auf der Basis des drahtlosen Netzwerkprotokolls codiert ist, wobei die Quittierung anzeigt, dass die codierten Daten in der RF-Quelle empfangen wurden.


     
    4. Vorrichtung nach einem der Ansprüche 1-3, wobei:

    die Schaltung (204) ferner zum Empfangen einer Anforderung von der RF-Quelle ausgelegt ist, die auf der Basis des drahtlosen Netzwerkprotokolls codiert ist, wobei die Anforderung für die im Speicher gespeicherten Daten ist;

    und die Schaltung ferner zum Lesen der Daten aus dem Speicher als Reaktion auf die Anforderung ausgelegt ist.


     
    5. Vorrichtung nach einem der Ansprüche 1-4, wobei:

    die Schaltung (204) ferner zum Codieren der Daten auf der Basis des drahtlosen Netzwerkprotokolls mit einer Adresse für eine andere passive RFID-(Radio Frequency Identification)-Vorrichtung (105) ausgelegt ist.


     
    6. Vorrichtung nach einem der Ansprüche 1-5, wobei:

    die Schaltung (204) ferner zum Codieren einer Anforderung auf der Basis des drahtlosen Netzwerkprotokolls für die RF-Quelle ausgelegt sind, wobei die Anforderung zum Halten des RF-Signals für eine Zeitperiode ist; und

    die Schaltung ferner zum Modulieren des RF-Signals ausgelegt ist, so dass es die codierte Anforderung enthält.


     
    7. Verfahren zum Betreiben einer passiven RFID-(Radio Frequency Identification)-Vorrichtung, wobei das Verfahren Folgendes beinhaltet:

    Empfangen eines RF-(Radio Frequency)-Signals von einer RF-Quelle (552, 102), die das RF-Signal auf der Basis eines drahtlosen IEEE 802.11 Netzwerkprotokolls sendet;

    Ableiten von Strom von dem RF-Signal; und

    mit dem von dem RF-Signal abgeleiteten Strom:

    Lesen von Daten von einem Speicher in der RFID-Vorrichtung, wobei die Daten eine ID einer mit der RFID-Vorrichtung assoziierten elektrischen Vorrichtung (510) beinhalten;

    Codieren der Daten in einer SSID (Service Set Identifier) auf der Basis des drahtlosen Netzwerkprotokolls;

    Modulieren des RF-Signals, so dass es die SSID enthält; und

    Senden des modulierten RF-Signals auf der Basis des drahtlosen Netzwerkprotokolls.


     
    8. Verfahren nach Anspruch 7, wobei das Codieren der Daten auf der Basis des drahtlosen Netzwerkprotokolls ferner Folgendes beinhaltet:

    Codieren der Daten auf der Basis des drahtlosen Netzwerkprotokolls mit einer Adresse für die RF-Quelle.


     
    9. Verfahren nach Anspruch 7 oder 8, das ferner Folgendes beinhaltet:

    Empfangen einer Quittierung von der RF-Quelle, die auf der Basis des drahtlosen Netzwerkprotokolls codiert wird, wobei die Quittierung anzeigt, dass die codierten Daten in der RF-Quelle empfangen wurden.


     
    10. Verfahren nach einem der Ansprüche 7-9, das ferner Folgendes beinhaltet:

    Empfangen einer Anforderung von der RF-Quelle, die auf der Basis des drahtlosen Netzwerkprotokolls codiert ist, für die im Speicher gespeicherten Daten; und

    Lesen der Daten aus dem Speicher als Reaktion auf die Anforderung.


     
    11. Verfahren nach einem der Ansprüche 7-10, wobei das Codieren der Daten auf der Basis des drahtlosen Netzwerkprotokolls ferner Folgendes beinhaltet:

    Codieren der Daten auf der Basis des drahtlosen Netzwerkprotokolls mit einer Adresse für eine andere passive RF-Vorrichtung.


     
    12. Verfahren nach einem der Ansprüche 7-11, das ferner Folgendes beinhaltet:

    Codieren einer Anforderung auf der Basis des drahtlosen Netzwerkprotokolls für die RF-Quelle, wobei die Anforderung zum Halten des RF-Signals für eine Zeitperiode ist; und

    Modulieren des RF-Signals so, dass es die codierte Anforderung beinhaltet.


     
    13. RFID-(Radio Frequency Identification)-System, das Folgendes umfasst:

    eine aktive RF-Vorrichtung (525, 102), ausgelegt zum Senden eines RF-(Radio Frequency)-Signals auf der Basis eines drahtlosen IEEE 802.11 Netzwerkprotokolls;

    eine erste passive RFID-Vorrichtung (520) nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 6, angeschlossen an ein Stromkabel der assoziierten elektrischen Vorrichtung (510), wobei die erste passive RFID-Vorrichtung ausgelegt ist zum Speichern der ID der elektrischen Vorrichtung, zum Ableiten von Strom von dem RF-Signal und zum Senden der ID der elektrischen Vorrichtung in einer SSID zu der aktiven RF-Vorrichtung auf der Basis des drahtlosen Netzwerkprotokolls;

    eine zweite passive RFID-Vorrichtung (521) nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 6, angeschlossen an eine Steckdosenleiste (530), die das Stromkabel für die elektrische Vorrichtung aufnimmt, wobei die zweite passive RFID-Vorrichtung ausgelegt ist zum Speichern einer ID für die Steckdosenleiste, zum Ableiten von Strom von dem RF-Signal und zum Senden der ID für die Steckdosenleiste in einer SSID zu der aktiven RF-Vorrichtung auf der Basis des drahtlosen Netzwerkprotokolls; und

    eine dritte passive RFID-Vorrichtung (522) nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 6, angeschlossen an eine Wandsteckdose (540), die elektrisch mit der Steckdosenleiste (530) verbunden werden kann, wobei die dritte passive RFID-Vorrichtung ausgelegt ist zum Speichern einer ID für die Wandsteckdose, zum Ableiten von Strom von dem RF-Signal und zum Senden der ID für die Wandsteckdose in einer SSID zu der aktiven RF-Vorrichtung auf der Basis des drahtlosen Netzwerkprotokolls;

    wobei die aktive RF-Vorrichtung ferner ausgelegt ist zum Abrufen von Stromverbrauchsdaten für die assoziierte elektrische Vorrichtung (510) von der Steckdosenleiste und zum Sammeln der ID für die elektrische Vorrichtung, der ID für die Steckdosenleiste, der ID für die Wandsteckdose und der Stromverbrauchsdaten für die elektrische Vorrichtung.


     
    14. RFID-System nach Anspruch 13, wobei
    die aktive RF-Vorrichtung ferner zum Senden der gesammelten Informationen zu einem Computer (550) mittels des drahtlosen Netzwerkprotokolls ausgelegt ist.
     
    15. RFID-System nach Anspruch 14, das ferner Folgendes umfasst:

    eine Anwendung (551) auf dem Computer, ausgelegt zum Verarbeiten der gesammelten Informationen zum Erzeugen eines Protokolls des Stromverbrauchs für die elektrische Vorrichtung.


     


    Revendications

    1. Dispositif d'identification radiofréquence, soit RFID, passif (525, 104) comprenant :

    une mémoire (208) qui stocke une ID d'un dispositif électrique (510) associé au dispositif RFID ;

    une antenne qui est agencée pour recevoir un signal radiofréquence, soit RF, en provenance d'une source RF (552, 102) qui émet le signal RF sur la base d'un protocole de réseau sans fil IEEE 802.11 ; et

    un circuit (204) qui est agencé pour dériver de la puissance à partir du signal RF et, avec la puissance qui est dérivée à partir du signal RF, pour lire des données incluant l'ID de la mémoire (208), pour coder les données dans un identificateur d'ensemble de services, soit SSID, sur la base du protocole de réseau sans fil, et pour moduler le signal RF de manière à ce qu'il inclue le SSID,

    l'antenne étant en outre agencée pour transmettre le signal RF modulé sur la base du protocole de réseau sans fil.


     
    2. Dispositif selon la revendication 1, dans lequel :

    le circuit (204) est en outre agencé pour coder les données, sur la base du protocole de réseau sans fil, avec une adresse pour la source RF (552, 102).


     
    3. Dispositif selon la revendication 1 ou 2, dans lequel :

    le circuit (204) est en outre agencé pour recevoir un accusé de réception en provenance de la source RF qui est codé sur la base du protocole de réseau sans fil, l'accusé de réception indiquant que les données codées ont été reçues dans la source RF.


     
    4. Dispositif selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1-3, dans lequel :

    le circuit (204) est en outre agencé pour recevoir une requête en provenance de la source RF qui est codée sur la base du protocole de réseau sans fil, la requête étant pour les données stockées dans la mémoire ; et

    le circuit est en outre agencé pour lire les données de la mémoire en réponse à la requête.


     
    5. Dispositif selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1-4, dans lequel :

    le circuit (204) est en outre agencé pour coder les données, sur la base du protocole de réseau sans fil, avec une adresse pour un autre dispositif d'identification radiofréquence, soit RFID, passif (105).


     
    6. Dispositif selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1-5, dans lequel :

    le circuit (204) est en outre agencé pour coder une requête sur la base du protocole de réseau sans fil pour la source RF, la requête ayant pour objet de maintenir le signal RF pendant une période temporelle ; et

    le circuit est en outre agencé pour moduler le signal RF de manière à ce qu'il inclue la requête codée.


     
    7. Procédé de fonctionnement d'un dispositif d'identification radiofréquence, soit RFID, passif, le procédé comprenant :

    la réception d'un signal radiofréquence, soit RF, en provenance d'une source RF (552, 102) qui émet le signal RF sur la base d'un protocole de réseau sans fil IEEE 802.11 ;

    la dérivation de puissance à partir du signal RF et,

    avec la puissance qui est dérivée à partir du signal RF :

    la lecture de données d'une mémoire dans le dispositif RFID, les données incluant une ID d'un dispositif électrique (510) qui est associé au dispositif RFID ;

    le codage des données dans un identificateur d'ensemble de services, soit SSID, sur la base du protocole de réseau sans fil ;

    la modulation du signal RF de manière à ce qu'il inclue le SSID ; et

    la transmission du signal RF modulé sur la base du protocole de réseau sans fil.


     
    8. Procédé selon la revendication 7, dans lequel le codage des données sur la base du protocole de réseau sans fil comprend en outre :

    le codage des données, sur la base du protocole de réseau sans fil, avec une adresse pour la source RF.


     
    9. Procédé selon la revendication 7 ou 8, comprenant en outre :

    la réception d'un accusé de réception en provenance de la source RF qui est codé sur la base du protocole de réseau sans fil, l'accusé de réception indiquant que les données codées ont été reçues dans la source RF.


     
    10. Procédé selon l'une quelconque des revendications 7-9, comprenant en outre :

    la réception d'une requête en provenance de la source RF, qui est codée sur la base du protocole de réseau sans fil, pour les données stockées dans la mémoire ; et

    la lecture des données de la mémoire en réponse à la requête.


     
    11. Procédé selon l'une quelconque des revendications 7-10, dans lequel le codage des données sur la base du protocole de réseau sans fil comprend en outre :

    le codage des données, sur la base du protocole de réseau sans fil, avec une adresse pour un autre dispositif RF passif.


     
    12. Procédé selon l'une quelconque des revendications 7-11, comprenant en outre :

    le codage d'une requête sur la base du protocole de réseau sans fil pour la source RF, la requête ayant pour objet de maintenir le signal RF pendant une période temporelle ; et

    la modulation du signal RF de manière à ce qu'il inclue la requête codée.


     
    13. Système d'identification radiofréquence, soit RFID, comprenant :

    un dispositif RF actif (525, 102) qui est agencé pour émettre un signal radiofréquence, soit RF, sur la base d'un protocole de réseau sans fil IEEE 802.11 ;

    un premier dispositif RFID passif (520) selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 6 branché à un cordon d'alimentation du dispositif électrique associé (510), le premier dispositif RFID passif étant agencé pour stocker l'ID du dispositif électrique, pour dériver de la puissance à partir du signal RF et pour transmettre l'ID du dispositif électrique dans un SSID au dispositif RF actif sur la base du protocole de réseau sans fil ;

    un deuxième dispositif RFID passif (521) selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 6 branché à une multiprise (530) qui reçoit le cordon d'alimentation pour le dispositif électrique, le deuxième dispositif RFID passif étant agencé pour stocker une ID pour la multiprise, pour dériver de la puissance à partir du signal RF et pour transmettre l'ID pour la multiprise dans un SSID au dispositif RF actif sur la base du protocole de réseau sans fil ; et

    un troisième dispositif RFID passif (522) selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 6 branché à une prise électrique murale (540) qui peut être connectée électriquement à la multiprise (530), le troisième dispositif RFID passif étant agencé pour stocker une ID pour la prise électrique murale, pour dériver de la puissance à partir du signal RF et pour transmettre l'ID pour la prise électrique murale dans un SSID au dispositif RF actif sur la base du protocole de réseau sans fil ;

    le dispositif RF actif étant en outre agencé pour retrouver des données d'utilisation de puissance pour le dispositif électrique associé (510) à partir de la multiprise, et pour agréger l'ID pour le dispositif électrique, l'ID pour la multiprise, l'ID pour la prise électrique murale et les données d'utilisation de puissance pour le dispositif électrique.


     
    14. Système RFID selon la revendication 13, dans lequel :

    le dispositif RF actif est en outre agencé pour transmettre les informations agrégées à un ordinateur (550) en utilisant le protocole de réseau sans fil.


     
    15. Système RFID selon la revendication 14, comprenant en outre :

    une application (551) sur l'ordinateur qui est agencée pour traiter les informations agrégées afin de générer un journal de l'utilisation de puissance pour le dispositif électrique.


     




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    REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



    This list of references cited by the applicant is for the reader's convenience only. It does not form part of the European patent document. Even though great care has been taken in compiling the references, errors or omissions cannot be excluded and the EPO disclaims all liability in this regard.

    Patent documents cited in the description