Jul 15, 2016 Blog 0 comment

EPC Network Architecture

In the previous post we mentioned EPCglobal Network and standards developed for data and device management, such as ALE (Application Level Events). Before we dive into ALE, let’s look at the EPC Network.

EPCglobal, Inc. is a joint venture of GS1 US (formerly the Uniform Code Council, Inc.) and GS1 (formerly EAN International). EPCglobal, Inc. is an open, worldwide, not-for-profit consortium of supply chain partners working to drive global adoption of the EPCglobal Network. Using electronic product code (EPC) and radio-frequency identification (RFID) technologies, the EPCglobal Network will provide for immediate, automatic and accurate identification of any item in the supply chain of any company, in any industry, anywhere in the world.

What are the goals of EPCglobal?

  • The development, implementation, and adoption of radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology and the electronic product code (EPC) to support EPCglobal Network.
  • Drive commercialization of EPCglobal Network.
  • Develop technical specifications and standards to manage integration and coexistence of EPC with the existing bar code.
  • Ensure intellectual property is free and open.
  • Provide compliance and interoperability testing.
  • Provide continuing support for cutting-edge research performed by Auto-ID Labs.

EPCglobal activities include:

  • Research and Development work on radio-frequency identification (RFID) in collaboration with Auto-ID Labs.
  • Create standards and regulations for tags, readers, and information systems.
  • Manage the EPCglobal Network:
  • Numbering system
  • Object name service (ONS)
  • Certification services
  • Driving adoption
  • Marketing, awareness, business development
  • Implementation support

EPC Network Architecture

EPC Network Architecture consists of several components, such as Object Name Service (ONS), EPCIS Discovery Service, EPC Information Service (EPCIS), Application Level Events (ALE), RFID Readers including Reader Protocol and Reader Management, RFID Tags and Enterprise Applications.


EPC Network Architecture

EPC Network Architecture

Application Level Events (ALE)

  • ALE is designed to process the streams of tag or sensor data (that is, event data) coming from of one or more reader devices.
  • ALE performs filtering, aggregation, and counting of tag data, reducing the volume of data prior to sending to enterprise applications.

EPC Information Service (EPCIS)

  • EPCIS makes data available in eXtensible markup language (XML) format (that is, physical markup language or PML) to other services (such as tag read data, instance-level data, object class-level data, etc.).
  • EPCIS Data structure:
    • Collect and organize Electronic Product Code-Information Services (EPCIS) data elements and attributes including:
    • Static data store. Describe common data about physical instances of physical things.
    • Instance data store. Describe common data about unique instances of physical things.
    • History data store. Describe common data about the trip; the unique instance takes through the supply chain (EPC IS servers).
  • Authentication/Authorization:
    • Establishes security of users within the EPCglobal network.
    • Allows data owner to control access to data
  • Interface:
    • Defines protocol for getting data from EPC Middleware to EPCIS.

Object Name Service (ONS)

  • ONS provides a global lookup service to translate an electronic product code (EPC) into one or more Internet uniform reference locators (URLs) where further information on the object may be found.

RFID Reader

  • Devices responsible for detecting when radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags enter their read range.
  • Can be portable or fixed devices.
  • Connects to EPC Middleware or EPCglobal Network
  • Take care of Reader Protocol and Reader Management


  • Chip plus antenna, holds the EPC number.
  • The capture of physical data within the system.
  • Attached to an item, case, pallet, or container


EPC Network Architecture Inside the Enterprise

EPC Network Architecture Inside the Enterprise