Affiliations: College of Technology and Innovation, University of South Florida Polytechnic, Lakeland, FL, USA
Note:  Corresponding author: Magalie Laniel, College of Technology and Innovation, University of South Florida Polytechnic, 4100 S. Frontage rd., bldg 100, suite 102, Lakeland, FL 33815, USA. E-mail: [email protected]
Abstract: New technologies such as radio frequency identification (RFID) to better track cargo shipments are responsible for maintaining improved control and tracking along the supply chain. Among various modes of transportation used within the supply chain, air transit presents the biggest challenge in terms of visibility. If RFID readers are installed in the aircraft, they can interrogate the cargo, acquire data from dedicated goods, enhance the monitoring, set off warnings when necessary, etc. Improved knowledge of RF characteristics is necessary to facilitate the adoption of RFID systems in air transportation. Therefore, the objective of this study is to evaluate the RF propagation behavior inside the cargo hold of a DC-10-30F aircraft at different frequencies (433 MHz, 915 MHz and 2.45 GHz) in order to assist in choosing the optimal setup as part of an RFID system implementation. The main findings of this research showed that the attenuation levels were lowest at 433 MHz, but, due to federal spectrum regulation, the signal levels were strongest at 915 MHz and lowest at 2.45 GHz. Moreover, the results demonstrated that the relationship between signal strength and RFID tag read rate is strong enough for the findings of this study to be used as a helpful tool when considering the installation of an RFID system in a real life scenario.
Keywords: RFID, radio frequency identification, air cargo, wave propagation, real-time monitoring