Using Speedway Connect

Overview

This article will walk through the steps required to utilize the Speedway Connect software by Impinj for various types of RFID applications.

Downloads

Speedway Connect (Trial Version) :  https://www.dropbox.com/s/swrfhtguaqlfeap/Speedway%20Connect_2_6_0.zip?dl=0

To activate the full licensed version, the Speedway Connect license must be purchased and entered into the Speedway Connect License Key field shown at the bottom of this page.

Introduction

The Speedway Connect software is a very useful tool for configuring the Speedway Revolution readers to read and report RFID tags autonomously. The Trial Version linked above only allows 500 tag reads to be reported, but the full version can be purchased here.

At the very end of the article, specific RFID applications will be covered, as well as which Speedway Connect settings would be suggested for that application. Please feel free to skip to the bottom if you are looking for the best settings for your RFID application.

Installation

For steps on installing Speedway Connect, see Installing Speedway Connect for Speedway Revolution Reader. Once installed, the application will be accessible from a web browser using the login credentials below. The Speedway Connect login can be accessed at the reader's IP address, or at it's hostname. The hostname of the reader is https://speedwayr-xx-xx-xx, where "xx-xx-xx" is the last 6 numbers of the reader's MAC address, which is printed on the side of the reader.

Login Credentials:

Username: root

Password: impinj

The image below shows the top of the Speedway Connect UI, which you will see once successfully logged in.

Interface

Now that Speedway Connect has been successfully loaded onto the reader and accessed via a web browser, let's walk through each section and dive deeper into what can be accomplished by using this software.

Toolbar

Let's start at the very top with the toolbar.

  • Status - This shows whether or not the reader is currently running the settings being configured in Speedway Connect. A green status indicates that the reader is connected and running the program, while a red status indicates that the program is paused or currently not running.
  • Save - This allows the user to download a .txt file that lists the current configuration settings. This is very helpful when multiple readers need to be configured the same way, as this text file can be uploaded to other readers (see the next item, "Open").
  • Open - This allows the user to upload a previously saved settings configuration file to the reader. This will automatically apply all settings contained in the text file to the current reader.
  • Collapse/Expand All - Collapses or expands all sections
  • Apply - Applies the current settings to the reader. After the reader applies the configuration, the reader will immediately begin to use those settings. This means that if the Trigger Mode is set to "Immediate", the reader will begin to read tags.
  • Help - Describes the actions you can take on the Web UI.
  • Uninstall - Uninstalls Speedway Connect from the reader. Doing this will cause the reader to reboot.

Special Note: The question marks on the right side of each section header will show descriptions of each section and its components. Whenever in doubt, click the question marks for each section to see a brief rundown of what each setting can do.

Reader Settings: Modes

This section allows the user to select the EPC Gen2 standards to apply to the reader, such as Reader Mode, Search Mode, Session, and Population Estimate. These settings are extremely important, as they will alter the behavior of not only the reader, but also how RFID tags respond to the reader. More information on each of these settings can be seen below:

  • Reader Mode - 
  • Search Mode - 
  • Session - 
  • Population Estimate - 

Reader Settings: Antennas

This section allows the user to select which antenna ports to use on their Speedway reader, as well as set the receive sensitivity and transmit power for each antenna.

Reader Settings: Triggers

This section allows the user to configure the triggers used by Speedway Connect. A trigger will tell the reader when to initiate a read sequence, as well as when to end the sequence. Triggers can be set to be immediate, periodic, or based on an input (GPI).

Reader Settings: Low Duty Cycle

This section allows the user to configure the duty cycle of the reader, which is the amount of time the antennas are transmitting versus the time the antennas are not powered. This can be a very helpful setting when an application needs to reduce the power usage or heat dissipation of the reader.

Enabling this feature allows the reader to enter an "idle" state when tags are not read for a certain amount of time, which is specified as the "Empty Field Timeout". Once this Idle mode is active, the reader will search for any tags in the read zone at a set interval, which can be set by using the "Field Ping Interval" field. If a tag is found during this search, the reader will switch back over to active mode and begin reading tags.

Output: Data

In this section, the user is able to configure the data being output by Speedway Connect, as well as the data's format. The most common format options include Key-Value Pairs, Comma delimiter, a CR/LF line ending, and the antenna port and timestamp corresponding to each tag read.

Output: Connection

This section allows the user to configure the output method for Speedway Connect. Important notes for each of these output methods can be seen in the description for each method below. 

Serial Port: This option uses two of the reader's GPIO pins as RX/TX serial pins, and provides a selection of baud rates for communication with a variety of serial devices. For more information on connecting to the reader via serial, please see the link here: https://support.impinj.com/hc/en-us/articles/202756248-Serial-Connections-to-the-Speedway-Revolution-Reader.

Keyboard Emulation: This option allows the reader to "type" all tag data into an open document or text field, similar to how a keyboard would operate. For example, if your application requires a tag's EPC to be typed into a text field on a web page, you can select that text field with a cursor and each tag read form the reader will populate in that text field. This option requires a USB cable to be connected from the reader's USB Device port to a PC.

USB Flash Drive: The reader will create a .csv file on a connected flash drive that contains all of the read tag data once every hour of operation. This option requires a FAT formatted flash drive.

TCP/IP Socket: This option allows the reader to export all data to a specific Telnet port. This option allows the user to see the incoming data using a terminal emulation program such as PuTTY. An example of how to setup the reader to send data via the TCP/IP socket connection can be seen in the article How To User PuTTY with an R420 Reader.

HTTP POST: This option allows the reader to perform a HTTP POST operation, which sends a JSON-formatted data packet to a remote endpoint via a network connection. If your application requires the use of a cloud platform or remote server that aggregates your tag data, this option will be for you. You will just need to enter the IP address of your endpoint and connect the reader to the same network in order to start sending your tag data. NOTE: Your endpoint will need to respond with a 200 OK acknowledgment in order for the reader to clear its batched reads and report new tags.

Filtering: Software

This functionality allows the reader to filter out duplicate tag reports that occur within the specified Read Window. This setting is helpful if you want to exclude subsequent tag reads in a short period of time, but don't want to limit the tag read behavior by changing the Search Mode or Session parameters.

Filtering: Gen2 (HW Select)

This section allows the user to set filters at the IC-level of a tag, known as standard Gen2 filters. This can be used to accept tags that meet certain criteria, while ignoring everything else. This can be very useful in a read zone that houses a lot of RFID tags, or if a GPI trigger event needs to occur when a specific tag is read.

Advanced GPO (General Purpose Output)

GPO can be used to send a signal to another device once a specific condition is met. This GPO signal can be used operate devices such as light stacks and buzzers using the Impinj GPIO Box.

The reader itself provides a 5VDC signal for operating GPO devices, and the Impinj GPIO Box allows for an additional 24VDC output and up to 240VAC output using the onboard relay.

Speedway Connect Administration

This section allows the user to configure their specific instance of Speedway Connect, and is also where the full Speedway Connect version license key is entered to activate the license.

Application Examples

Now that we have covered the basics of Speedway Connect and what each option does, let's dig in to some real RFID applications and show how Speedway Connect could be used to assist a user install a working RFID system with minimal setup.

1. Vehicle Logging Station

For this example, we have a client that is interested in using the Speedway Reader for an RFID access control application. In this application, trucks that have been tagged with RFID tags will approach a gate, and a reader at the gate will read the truck's tag and send the tag data to a custom software via a serial connect. The software will analyze the tag data and open the gate if the tag is known. Additionally, the client needs each tag to only respond a single time while in the read field, and this system needs to keep a log of each truck that approaches the gate, as well as the time at which the truck's tag was read.

To do this, we can setup the Speedway reader with Speedway Connect, and use the Single Target Inventory mode with Session 2 to ensure each tag only responds a single time while in the read field. Then, we can enable the Timestamp field in the Output: Data section to ensure that each tag read report contains a timestamp. Next, we can enable the reader's Output: Connection settings to use the Serial and USB Flash Drive options. The Serial option will output the data to the client's software, and the USB Flash drive option will allow the customer to keep a backup log of all the tags that are read by the reader. Now all the client needs to do is create the physical serial connection, and to plug in a FAT formatted flash drive.

2. RFID Inventory Web Application

For this next example, we have a client that has developed a web application that helps keep track of inventory in a controlled environment. This client needs to have an accurate inventory count for 10 minutes once every hour, and send that inventory data to cloud server for aggregation. All items that need to be inventoried have had an appropriate RFID tag affixed to it, and each tag is placed in a position such that the reader can see every tag when performing testing.

For this application, we would again set the reader's Inventory Mode to Single Target and Session to 2, to make sure we read as many unique tags as possible. Then, we can set the reader to operate on a periodic trigger of 3,600,000 ms (1 hour) and a duration of 600,000 ms (10 minutes). Now, we set the Output: Connection to HTTP POST and we enter the IP address or URL of the cloud server being used for this application, so that the reader will update this server with the tag information as it is collected. Now our client just needs to power the reader and connect it to network with internet access.

3. RFID Card Data Entry

For this example, our client has stacks of programmed RFID cards, and each card needs to be associated with an employee at their company. The client has a software that handles this association, but requires a spreadsheet to be uploaded. This spreadsheet has two columns: RFID Card Number, and Employee Name. The Employee Name column has already been populated, and now our client just needs to retrieve the EPC data from each card and place it in the first column, row by row.

To help the client with this project, we can use the same setup as before: Single Target, Session 2. In Output: Data, we ensure that no other data but the EPC is being reported, and we set the Line Ending option to CR/LF, so that each entry into the spreadsheet automatically moves to the next row. Then, we can enable the Keyboard Emulation output method, and connect the reader to the client's PC via the appropriate USB cable. Now our client just needs to select the cell in the spreadsheet to populate, and then present an RFID card to a connected antenna, and the reader will populate each cell in the spreadsheet with the RFID card EPC data.

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