Maximizing RAIN RFID Portal Efficiency: The Ideal Antenna Configuration

RAIN RFID portals play a crucial role in numerous industries by facilitating the efficient tracking and management of assets and personnel. Two frequently asked questions our team encounters are:

  • What is the most suitable antenna for a portal application, and;
  • What is the best configuration for optimal performance?

We conducted extensive testing and summarized the test results of a portal set up to offer guidance on the ideal antenna configuration to attain 100% read accuracy, backed by years of experience in the field of RIFD.


Testing Framework

The term "portal" encompasses a broad spectrum of RFID applications that establish a gateway to monitor tagged items or individuals as they pass through an entry or exit point. Portals can range from doorways and warehouse checkpoints to conveyor belt stations or even larger docking stations.

For our configuration testing, we concentrated on portals with a width of 1-meter and 2-meters, heights of 2 meters, and depths of 1 meter.

To determine the optimal antenna configuration, we conducted tests using Times-7’s high-volume antenna models A5010, A5020 CP and A5060. We tested various quantities placed at different positions, alongside adjusting reader power levels.

Additionally, we moved a tag board of 90 and 225 AD-237r6 model tags, placed in different planes through the portal.


Optimum Configuration for Your RFID Portal

Irrespective of the antenna model and portal width, the ideal setup for achieving high performance with 100% read rate consists of:


Number of antennas



top center, side A: center, side B: ¼ and ¾*

Reader power settings**

18 dBm

RSSI settings*


* Refer to Fig.1 below
**Refer to "Fine-tuning Tips for Your Portal Application" for further information

It is essential to note that we conducted configuration testing in a controlled environment, and actual performance may vary based on factors such as tag type, tracked assets, and environment.

In real-world applications, obstructions will limit the coverage provided by each antenna, which increases the need for four antennas in order to provide RF coverage all along the portal, particularly if RF-unfriendly materials are likely to travel through the portal.


How to Choose the Right Antenna

Selecting the appropriate antenna and configuration hinges on several factors, primarily:

  • Read zone: Wide or narrow.
  • Portal height and width
  • Type and density of tracked assets

We generally recommend Times-7’s high volume antenna models A5020CP, A5010 and A5060. Here’s when to choose which one:


Premium solution - A5060

The design of the A5060 guarantees superior performance across a wide range of portal applications, making it the ultimate choice. Its elliptical beam shape allows users to create a highly confined read zone within the portal avoiding stray reads outside the portal. To create a high performing read zone, mount the A5060 horizontally as shown in Fig. 1.

The A5060 incorporates a multi-element antenna array, making it ideal for environments with high tag density or reflectivity caused by metal objects.

Its powerful gain enables the A5060 to accommodate for long lossy cables while maintaining reliable read rates.

Medium tag densityA5010

We recommend the A5010, particularly in scenarios where the A5060 is unsuitable due to space constraints, or when the portal solution requires a high IP67 rating suitable for permanent outdoor applications.

Featuring a powerful high-gain design with a narrow beam, the A5010 is suitable for doorways requiring focused coverage to ensure accurate read rates in environments with medium tag densities and in portal applications that necessitate long lossy cables.


Critical hygiene requirements – A5020 CP

For applications that require a high IP68 rating, such as work environments with strict hygiene standards or in some cases when portal applications are very limited by space, we recommend the A5020 model. It has a broad RF beam that covers a large area in environments with medium to low tag density.


Quick selection overview



A5020 CP

  • Controlled read zone to avoid stray reads
  • Ideal for reflective and high tag density
  • Powerful RF-beam with long reach


  • Suitable for outdoors
  • Ideal for space constraints
  • Medium tag density
  • Focused beam
  • Suitable for critical hygiene environments
  • Ideal for space constraints
  • Mid-gain antenna for medium to low tag density
  • Wide beam coverage


Finetuning Tips for Your Application

The portal configuration suggested in this blog is applied in real-world situations by many Times-7 clients. However, projects and specifications vary and will affect the portal's RF read area, read accuracy, and unwanted reads.

When installing a new portal, we advise comprehensive testing to determine the portal’s RF read zone, read performance, and stray reads. 

Consider the following actions to finetune your portal to achieve the required performance outcomes:

  1. Adjust reader power incrementally, increasing by no more than 1.5 dBm at a time if 100% tag reads are not achieved.
  2. Conversely, decrease reader power in small steps if stray reads occur.
  3. Consider raising the RSSI threshold in your reader software to filter out tags outside the desired read zone, particularly if reducing reader power doesn't mitigate stray reads. For instance, setting the filter below -55 RSSI can help avoid reading tags outside the portal without further lowering reader power.

With these insights, you can confidently select the right antenna to build a high-performing RAIN RFID portal. We can offer further support to ensure your RFID setup aligns seamlessly with your objectives if required.

If you need more information, please contact our team

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